City golf courses open despite budget concerns - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City golf courses open despite budget concerns

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(WMC-TV) - The City of Memphis golf courses appear to have survived another year. Several months after the city council talked about closing some of the golf courses around town, all of them are back open.

One of the golf courses at risk of closing was The Links at Whitehaven. An Action News 5 investigation revealed sky high expenses at the course. They were numbers that city leaders began questioning in December.

"When you look at all of the numbers for all of the golf courses, some things just do not add up," said Edmund Ford, Jr., Memphis City Council.

The Whitehaven course expenses jumped 30 percent from 2011 to 2012. A 152 percent jump in the "rent" category is what raised a red flag. Rent in 2011 was $64,000. In 2012, it rose to $161,000.

"Six weeks ago, we made the decision that the Whitehaven Golf Course would be treated like all the other golf courses in the city and would open at the same time," said Myron Lowery, Memphis City Council.

Councilman Lowery says the council voted to keep all of the courses open, despite calls from other parts of city government to shut some of them down.

"It was recommended by the administration but after citizens came to the council and spoke out in support of the golf course we made the decision that it would open along with all the other golf courses within the city," explained Lowery.

Now, all golf courses are back open and operational this spring but the question is ... for how long?

With budget season right around the corner, chances are good that the issue will come up again.

Next month city council members will consider a resolution raising fees to play 18 holes, fees on golf cart rentals, and extra fees for people who live outside of Tennessee.

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