The City's celebrated public golf
renaissance will be on display
next month when millions of viewers around the world tune in to watch
Tiger Woods and 69 other top golfers play the World Golf
Championships-American Express Championship at Harding Park.
But while business boosters say the tournament could generate millions in tournament-related tourism, neighborhood park advocates claim Harding Park's new $16 million face-lift and its Professional Golf Association-mandated 18 gardeners drain resources that would be better spent on local parks catering to a wider range of residents.
Despite the tournament, which is paying The City $1 million, San Francisco's five public golf courses barely broke even last year and are not expected to make a profit this year, as revenues and expenditures are both anticipated to come in at $10.9 million, according to a new report from the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
In the last fiscal year, Harding and
Fleming golf courses netted a
mere $100,000, bringing in $5.4 million, while the Lincoln Golf Course
San Francisco Parks Foundation President Isabel Wade said the golf courses have not lived up to a 2002 agreement to put back into an open space fund the money spent on the golf course.
The fund directs most golf profits into a special fund used for the maintenance and operation of the courses. But it also requires the golf courses to essentially pay back the Recreation and Park Department the $16 million of state and local money spent on Harding Park.
Wade and other critics say the golf
courses have been too slow to
contribute to the open space fund, contributing just $300,000 in the
last fiscal year and a projected $500,000 in the current fiscal year.
"This is not what we signed on for," she said.
Department spokeswoman Rose Marie Dennis said the department is complying with the 2002 legislation.
"If people have a bone to pick with the
dedicated golf fund, they should have taken it up at the time," she
She said the five golf courses have been profitable over the past 80 years, and they would be again in the near future. She called the revamped Harding Park on par with the new de Young Museum in terms of long-range historic importance.