Dayton to close 2 city golf courses permanently

DAYTON — The City of Dayton announced its plans to permanently close two of the city’s golf courses, while keeping a third open.

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Madden and Kittyhawk will be the courses to close. Community will remain open.

“Of the estimated 20,000 individuals that use city golf courses, fewer than 2,500 are Dayton residents. Subsidizing golf operations for less than 2 percent of the city population would not be a prudent course of action at this critical time,” Mayor Nan Whaley said.

Dayton has been in the golf business more than 100 years, but its facilities are deteriorating, losing money and need large investments, according to outside consultant’s report released in January.

In that report, an outside consultant recommended the city of Dayton close a golf course, subsidize one of its golf facilities through the general fund and invest between $7.9 million to $9.9 million in capital improvements at all three of its facilities.

City officials had said such a hefty investment would require substantial taxpayer subsidies from the general fund for many years to come.

“Making the decision to pemanently clos these facilities was not easy,” Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said. “However, in light of the current health and economic crisis, the city is not in a position to make the necessary capital investments needed to continue operations.”

The city operates half a dozen 18-hole golf courses across three facilities: Community Golf Club, south of the city in Kettering; Kittyhawk Golf Center in northeast Dayton; and Madden Golf Course in southwest Dayton.

In December, the National Golf Foundation completed a report for the city outlining a series of recommendations for its golf division following a thorough and comprehensive review of the city’s three golf facilities.

According to the foundation, Community Golf Club needs between $1.78 million and $2.1 million in repairs and renovations; Kittyhawk Golf Center needs an investment roughly between $4.35 million to $5.47 million; and Madden Golf Course has $2.6 million to $3.43 million in capital needs.

Community Golf Club is the city’s “premier” golf facility and generated about $1.27 million in revenue in 2018, which was 47% of the total revenue from the city’s entire system, the report said.

Community is in a prime location because it is surrounded by “golfer-rich” residential neighborhoods and it has easy access to major roadways, the foundation said.

Community’s condition is declining, but its irrigation system is newer and just needs repairs instead of replacement, according to the consultant, and the facility’s primary needs include bunker upgrades, cart path improvements and clubhouse enhancements.

However, Kittyhawk and Madden have outdated irrigation systems, which contribute to poor turf conditions, and their clubhouse and support buildings are “severely outdated” and “dysfunctional,” the foundation said.

Madden has the lowest rounds and revenue performance in the city, accounting for just 14% of golf revenue in 2018.