Are Par-3 golf courses in Milwaukee County closing?
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The permanent closure of the Doyne Park golf course on Milwaukee’s west side this year leaves only three of Milwaukee County’s traditional par-3 courses still in operation.
One of these courses, the layout at Noyes Park on the northwest side of town, had suffered a similar fate as Doyne, but now appears to be safe for the long haul.
“It was in the same conversation as Doyne. The same problems, Milwaukee County Parks Assistant manager Jim Tarantino said at a neighborhood meeting held last week to determine the future use of the old Doyne Park course.
RELATED: Doyne Park Golf Course is closed. Now what?
Fewer than 2,000 rounds of golf are played each year at Noyes, which opened in 1975, a figure Tarantino considered “not many”.
Helping Noyes Survive is a partnership with Southeast Wisconsin First Tee, a non-profit organization founded in 2004 that integrates the values inherent in golf into the daily lives of young people who participate in the organization’s programs. First Tee has its base of operations at Noyes, 8235 W. Good Hope Road.
“They’re doing a really good job with raising awareness among young people and growing the game,” Tarantino said.
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But the lifeline for Noyes is a million dollar project, paid for with US Bailout Act (ARPA), which will make much-needed improvements to the course’s irrigation system.
“It buys us about three decades to keep Noyes open,” Tarantino said.
The Parks Department considered changing the layout of Noyes and possibly moving from a nine-hole layout to a youth-oriented four-hole practice course.
“But I think we’re going to keep it as a standard nine-hole, par-3 course,” Tarantino said.
The Lake Park course, 3133 E Newberry Blvd., offers 18 holes, all under 85 yards. The layout makes the course an attractive option for beginner golfers and families. But a message on the homepage of the Lake Park Golf Course website warns: ‘Due to understaffing playing conditions may be variable.’
Despite the challenges, Tarantino was quick to ignore any suggestion of the lake park layout disappearing.
“Lake Park is historic,” he said. “He’s been there for 100 years and some years. It’s not going anywhere.
The Lake Park course opened as six holes in 1903 before being expanded to 18 holes in 1930, according to Lake Park Friends, a nonprofit organization that promotes park preservation.
APRA funds are also being used to improve irrigation in Lake Park.
A similar project is planned for the Zablocki Park pitch-and-putt course, a busy nine-hole course located at 3798 W. Loomis Road, in operation since 1968.
“Zablocki is really, really well used,” Tarantino said.
Doyne, 5300 W. Wells St., joined a growing list of closed traditional par-3 golf courses operated by Milwaukee County, which is facing budget shortfalls and staffing shortages.
The Madison Park and Dineen Park courses were closed for traditional golf use years ago. The Madison Park course, opened in 1976, closed in 2019. It was transformed into a disc golf course last year. Dineen Park’s par 3 course, which operated from 1962 to 2004, was also converted into a disc golf course which opened in 2006 and was remodeled in 2020.