The city of Fort Worth will move forward with turning Sycamore Creek Golf Course, a nine-hole course southeast of downtown, into a general purpose park.
The idea of ending golf at the course of Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway came in part because of slumping attendance, but Sycamore Creek Golf Course will also be closed for as long as two years for a city sewer project. The concept was approved by the city’s parks commission and several neighborhoods near the golf course this spring, but residents of the small neighborhood immediately surrounding the course were surprised to learn of the plan.
The city council Tuesday passed a resolution directing the city manager’s office to develop a plan by Sept. 30 to close the golf course and reopen it as a park.
Fort Worth bought the golf course in 1977 and it has not turned a profit since 1993, said Nancy Bunton, interim assistant parks director for golf and athletics.
The course averages 12,500 rounds of golf per year, but needs closer to 24,000 rounds to be sustainable. In 2017 taxpayers footed the bill for a little more than $200,000 at the course and nearly $230,000 last year. Since 1994, the course has cost more than $300,000 a year, or just under $4 million, between the revenue deficit and maintenance costs.
As a whole, the city’s golf facilities had a net loss of $10,000 last year, meaning even profitable courses like Pecan Valley Golf Course were not able to make up for declining use at other courses.
In the fall the city water department will replace a line that runs through the course, ripping up parts of the No. 8, No. 9, No. 1 and No. 2 holes. That project will cost $6.5 million, but an additional $600,000 to $700,000 would be needed to rehab the course — replacing irrigation, rebuilding greens and bunkers and planting grass. On top of that, the clubhouse needs more than $500,000 in work.
The course spans 66 acres and includes two ponds along with parts of Sycamore Creek. The cost to convert the space into a park may be significantly less, depending on what the community wants there, Bunton said, and it can be open immediately after the water project ends. More community meetings will be held to discuss park amenities.