Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 News
The Fort Worth Parks Board will make a recommendation on 81-year-old Z Boaz Golf Course which may have to close as city-run courses lose money.
Too many golf courses in the Fort Worth area may be the downfall of one of the city's most historic courses.
The 81-year-old Z Boaz golf course could be closed to help stop city courses from losing money.
The Golf Advisory Board agreed last week to keep the course open, but now it's the Parks and Community Services Advisory Board's turn. The board will consider the closure of Z Boaz as an option to get the city's municipal courses all back in the black.
"What we would like to see is for them to become profitable so we can take that additional money and put them into the infrastructure of the golf courses," said Nancy Bunton, assistant director of PACS Golf Division.
Getting a tee time at Z Boaz these days is pretty easy during the week.
"We play at least once a week, and if things are going well, weather is good, twice a week," said Arlington resident Wayne Tooley.
The lack of golfers in recent years is one of the reasons why the course on the city's west side was recently put on the chopping block, much to the chagrin of course regulars.
"Don't close it," Bruce Arnold Rogers said. "We'll put up a fight if you try to close it. We love this course. We just absolutely love it."
The problem for the city is that Z Boaz isn't the only losing golf course. Of the five operated by the city, only two are making money.
In a presentation to the PACS Board on Wednesday, city staff showed that Rockwood Golf Course lost $200,000 over the last 16 years. Sycamore Creek lost $3 million in that same time period, and Z Boaz lost a little more than $1 million.
To make the golf courses profitable, city staff has given the board and, subsequently, the City Council, three options.
First, the city could repurpose one or any of the golf courses losing money. The city could also subsidize the golf program with general fund money. And the third option would be to move the losing courses into the general fund and operate the rest in the enterprise fund, where the courses are run more like private businesses.
"That's why we're here, to see how we can make the system work more efficiently, and the courses not in the red, to better provide services within those courses," PACS Advisory Board Chair Sheila Hill said.
Z Boaz and its 138 acres were recommended for closure because there are few public parks in the area and, with approximately 58 public and private courses in the Fort Worth area, it is no longer competitive.
At the PACS Golf Work Session on Wednesday, PACS Director Richard Zavala said it could potentially cost the city between $6 and $7 million to repurpose Z Boaz into a park with a variety of activities, including hiking and potentially even an aquatic center.
The PACS Advisory Board will make a recommendation to the City Council in December. The council could make a final decision on the future of the golf program as early as January.
Golfers at Z Boaz said they are hopeful that they can continue to play at the course first opened in 1930.
"Don't close my golf course," Rogers said. "I've been playing this course since I was 10 years old."