Wichita Parks Board Commissioners Push Privatization of Local Golf Courses to City Council

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita’s golf courses may soon be under new management. The park board voted 5 to 1 today to privatize the courses.

If approved by the city council, KemperSports would add Wichita’s public golf courses to its list of more than 100 courses it manages across the country. It would be a decision many believe to be the wrong one.

Dale Goter spoke at the meeting of council park commissioners. He explained, “Ninety-nine percent of public golfers in Wichita oppose it. The group in favor of it does not play golf.

He was one of many who spoke out against the privatization of public golf courses in Wichita. KSN went to talk to golfers at McDonald and Arthur B. Sim golf courses, all agree with Goter.

“We don’t need to repeat what has already worked. These guys have done a tremendous job,” said local golfer, Dennis Thomas.

Another Wichita golfer, Peggy Clark, added, “We’d rather give the pros on each course more to take care of the business on each course than privatize.

Wichita Board of Park Commissioners Chairman Eddie Fahnestock says he understands the concerns, but it will be great for the future of local courses, “Over the past 20 years, outside of the past two years with the boom in COVID in golf, golf has been on the decline I think it’s important that we turn to a professional.

For Goter, he hopes for a better result from the city council, “I think there will be a much more critical analysis from the council. These people don’t understand. They never did. They don’t understand the slightest part of golf operations, and they ignore the blatant lies that are being told.

Under this current plan, the city would pay Kemper Sports $200,000 a year to operate the four city-owned courses.

Michael C. Ford