July 29, 2010

Sligo golf remains open

Signs popped up in front yards around Silver Spring about a year ago: "Save Sligo Creek Golf Course." The date for the closing of the greens was pushed back a few times. It was ultimately scheduled to close on Nov. 30, 2010.

But in a meeting of the Montgomery County Council Tuesday, the Revenue Authority made moves toward keeping the Sligo Golf Course open and reducing operating costs.

The nine-hole course on Sligo Creek Parkway is staunchly defended by golfers and those that don’t even play the sport. For golfers, it's a friendly, welcoming place to gather for the game. You don’t have to be wealthy to play there. It doesn’t have a country club atmosphere. More than half the golfers are older than 50. Beginning golfers and kids are also welcome to learn the game.

For non-players, it's more about preserving 65 acres that double as a wildlife habitat. So golfers and "green" residents teamed up with petitions and the aforementioned yard signs to put pressure on the County Council to keep the venue open.

For the origins of the battle to close the course, just follow the money. The task force found that from 2000 to 2008, golfing at the Sligo course was down 26 percent in number of rounds played. Other county golf courses were only down eight percent. Sligo was also down three percent in revenues. All other Montgomery County public courses were up 39 percent. It was estimated that the Sligo course lost about $679,000 during those years. SOURCE: NBC

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

The financials issued in the County Council's release of 07-27-10 (and reported in the press) are still a bone of contention for many Task Force members and the 501(c)(3) Sligo Creek Golf Association.

They are skewed to support MCRA's original arguments for closing only Sligo, but no mention is made of the other MCRA courses with much, much larger losses than Sligo. Those courses are still in the system, are financial losers, but never get mentioned in the news.

We presented numbers that showed Sligo was essentially a break even course before MCRA's astronomical management fee even at a very low level of operation. Proper management, a reasonable management fee, and more reasonable accounting practices (there are other costs besides management fees that are disproportionately placed on Sligo's books) should allow Sligo to continue operating, even at current levels of use.

Also, a failure by MNCPPC & MCRA -- year after year -- to invest in ANY capital improvements has now left a larger reckoning on the books. Those "needed" capital improvements are another false argument used by MCRA to support their claim that the course needs to close.

Readers who would like more information about the issue, can find us at http://www.sligocreekgolfassociation.org.