As Tulsa gears up for PGA at Southern Hills, city’s municipal golf courses continue to languish | Politics

“The committee wants to address not only the current agronomic conditions, but also the structure that has allowed them to deteriorate thus far,” MacLeod said.

Heckenkemper said the committee was trying to draw attention to a 20-year decline in golf course conditions.

“And we need a comprehensive plan to bring them up to the level of competing public facilities,” Heckenkemper said. “For example, the courses in the city are far behind the facilities at Owasso, Broken Arrow and Sand Springs, and this was not the case before.”

Tulsa County’s public courses, LaFortune Park and South Lakes, are also in better condition than city courses, Heckenkemper said. He drew up the plans for Tulsa County’s $2.85 million redesign of LaFortune Park’s 18-hole par-three course in 2018.

With annual losses exceeding $1 million and course conditions continuing to deteriorate, the city in 2008 began contracting with a private company to operate its courses. The private contractor, Indigo Sports – formerly Billy Casper Golf – is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the golf courses, with the city providing minimal grants and occasional capital investments.

“At this point, the city only has about $75,000 going into the (golf) fund, and we haven’t increased that,” America said. “It’s a pretty small investment from the general fund at this point.”

Michael C. Ford