Application for Duluth Tourism tax dollars

 

The Tourism Tax Application has been completed and sent to the proper authorities. The Application requests $25,000 for marketing golf and promoting the youth recreational golf program at Enger and Lester Park Golf Courses.

View the Application Here (PDF)

 

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Add to or comment on draft scenarios for Duluth Public Golf Courses

The FODPG Board asks that you review the draft scenarios provided regarding the future of the two Duluth municipal golf courses. The scenarios are provided for talking points ONLY to stimulate conversation. If you wish to add or comment to the scenarios, email FODPG President Chris Stevens BY WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3rd, 5PM at cstevens@d.umn.edu.

Click here to view / download a PDF of the scenarios.

DULUTH PUBLIC GOLF COURSES
The following are suggested scenarios for discussion purposes for action to be taken on the two public golf courses (Lester Park Golf Course and Enger Park Golf Course). Additional scenarios need to be presented and discussed to assure that the best decision can be made as to the future of golf in Duluth. The primary focus of these scenarios are: a) to maintain and enhance opportunities for public golf in Duluth, b) to improve the physical condition of both golf courses, c) to improve the financial position of both golf courses, d) to expand year round use of both facilities, e) to create a Board of Director/Advisory Board, with representation of the Friends of Duluth Public Golf, to oversee operations.

An overriding proposal is to either forgive the current debt that the public golf courses have accumulated or delay its payment for 5 years or more. This will enable the courses to become established and a positive operating budget to be established.

Scenario #1
1.Retain both golf facilities.
2.City of Duluth work with the Friends of Duluth Public Golf to establish a long term strategic plan that will include but not be limited to:
a.Improve the playability of both golf courses with emphasis on irrigation and other course needs.
b.Renovate existing club houses or remove and build new structures that will enable expanded multi-functional use.
c.Work with other outdoor recreation groups to use the golf courses to expand the use of both facilities to enhance recreation opportunities.
d.Develop and implement a marketing plan that will promote the use of the golf facilities
e.Develop and implement a plan to raise the money to pay for the improvements

Scenario #2
1.Reduce Lester Park Golf Course to 18 holes that is owned and managed by the city. This will reduce the cost to update the infrastructure and the ongoing cost for maintenance.

2.Land that would be vacated by the above would be sold to a developer. The developer would build the area to compliment the golf course (homes, apartments, retail, hotel, etc). The money from the sale would be put back into the golf course.

3.Improve infrastructure to enhance golf playability and create opportunity for other recreational use.

4.Renovate and expand the current golf facility to include a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, sport shop, banquet and meeting rooms. Operate the facility year round.

5.Work with various outdoor recreation organizations to develop plan to use the golf course and facility year round.

6.Vigorously market golf and other recreational use of both golf courses.

Scenario #3
1.Sell all of Lester Park Golf Course to a developer. Requiring the developer to include 18 holes of public golf. Developer would coordinate with the city to insure accessibility by the general public.

Scenario #4
1.Sell land which houses Enger’s driving range and all available adjacent land owned by the city. Include other land on the periphery of the current golf course. Money from sale will go back into both golf courses.

2.Improve infrastructure to enhance golf playability and create opportunity for other recreational use.

3.Demolish current golf club and rebuild a building to include a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, sport shop, banquet and meeting rooms. Operate the facility year round.

4.Work with various outdoor recreation organizations to develop plan to use the golf course and facility year round.

5.Vigorously market golf and other recreational use of both golf courses.

Scenario #5
1.Reduce both Lester and Enger to 18 holes. Implement same scenario as presented in Scenarios 2 & 4. All moneys from the sale of land will go back into improving the golf courses.

Scenario #6
1.Sell Lester to developer.

2.Add 9 holes onto Enger (36 total holes) This would consolidate golf, provide adequate holes to support the golf needs. It would greatly reduce infrastructure costs and reduce operating costs.

3.Demolish current golf club and rebuild a building to include a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, sport shop, banquet and meeting rooms. Operate the facility year round.

4.Work with various outdoor recreation organizations to develop plan to use the golf course and facility year round.

5.Vigorously market golf and other recreational use of both golf courses.

The above are very broad scenarios. They are intended to facilitate discussion on the future of Duluth Public Golf. Additional study will be needed to work out the details to insure that the best possible resolution can be developed and agreed on by all parties concerned.

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Minnesota PGA Junior Golf Series coming to Duluth’s Lester Park and Enger Park July 23 and July 24

Minnesota PGA’s Junior Golf ‘Sota Series will travel to Lester Park July 23 and Enger Park July 24. There are four age divisions for boys and girls between 13 and 19. The mission of the series is to provide golf opportunities for advanced, intermediate and beginning golfers.

There is still time for junior golfers to register for the golf events, and spectators are welcome to attend. For more information, https://mnpgajr.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/mnpgajr18/event/mnpgajr18169/index.htm

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Junior Golf School in full swing at Enger and Lester

Cambriia Thomas sinks a putt as her friend, Ashlee Pruse, lines up her shot on the Enger practice green.

Taylor Kragseth speaks of golf etiquette to his junior students.

A colorful assembly of kids fanned out across the Enger Park Golf Course driving range and behind it in the practice area, whacking shots off mats and lofting range balls toward pins.

Across the road on the practice green near the Enger clubhouse, one of the Duluth Junior Golf School teachers, Taylor Kragseth, addressed his group of students one recent sunny Tuesday morning.

“We’re gonna talk about golf etiquette today,” he told a semicircle of girls and boys. “Anybody know what that is?”

“It’s doing what you’re supposed to do,” piped up a girl in a tie-dyed tee shirt and shorts. Kragseth said she was right, then told the kids about not walking in the line of a putt, and remaining silent while somebody else is hitting a shot. He pointed at an un-repaired divot on the putting surface, and said “let’s treat the greens with some respect.”

Although some people maintain that golf is losing its popularity in Duluth and that the city should close or shrink Lester Park Golf Course, attendance is up this year at the Duluth Junior Golf School. This year, 42 children signed up for the program at Lester Park and 61 enrolled at Enger for a total of 103 participants (about two-thirds are boys and one-third girls). Last season 99 young golfers attended the golf school.

At each Duluth public course there are five teaching sessions that run through July 17 (with a week off during the July 4 week). Enrollment costs $110 and includes snacks, beverages and prizes. The fee drops to $85 for additional junior golfers in the same family. The school is open to children between 5 and 15 years old.

Kyle Peterson, 11, enrolled in the program at Lester Park last summer because a friend of his had really enjoyed the experience, said his mom, Sara. She said her son also participates in a junior golf program at Ridgeview Country Club.

“At Lester they do a nice robust lesson and then they offer the kids an opportunity to play at a reduced rate,” Sara Peterson said. “There’s a young man going into the 10th grade at East High School who went out and played with my son and his buddy. I think that’s the culture out there. I feel comfortable having Kyle at Lester Park with his friends.” Why does her son enjoy it so much?

“I think he loves to be outside,” Mrs. Peterson replied. “He likes to be busy. He likes things to be scheduled. In the summers he gets a fair amount of free time. I think he’s really learning the basics of golf. I played with him since he started the lessons, and he can get around the golf course very well. I love that he’s learning a sport he can play his whole life.”

She said she didn’t have an opinion on whether the city should close all or part of Lester Park Golf Course. “Obviously there are financial considerations.” She said she’d be sad if the junior program at Lester Park was scrapped, but she was unable to balance that with the financial aspects of the city operating two public courses.

“We just really love it,” Peterson said of the junior golf program. “It’s something that’s available for our kids, so they can be outside and just be kids.”

Mike Bender is the general manager of Enger Park and Lester Park golf courses, which are operated under a city contract by Billy Casper Golf. BCG is one of the largest privately owned golf course management companies in the U.S., with nearly 150 properties in 29 states.

Bender heads up both the junior programs at Enger and Lester. His seven helpers include six employees of the two courses and his son, Nate, a high school student. A golf pro at courses in Ridgefield, Wash., Belle Plaine, Minn. and in Bloomington, Minn. before moving to Duluth, Bender said he learned the game when he was given access to a golf course as an 18-year-old junior hockey player. As a teacher, he stresses three fundamentals: posture, grip and alignment. The hardest part of the game for a youngster, he said, was “walking nine holes.”

“Juniors in Duluth have so much opportunity,” Bender said, “and in a way more than in Arizona or Washington, where green fees are higher and demand to play all year round is stronger. Golf courses in Minnesota do a much better job promoting the game and keeping it welcome to all compared to the other two states I have been a part of.”

Judging from the happy faces and diligent attitude of the 100 or so kids learning golf this summer, they feel more than welcome at Duluth’s two public courses.

 

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Join Friends of Duluth Public Golf!

Friends of Duluth Public Golf is dedicated to preserving, protecting and promoting public golf at Enger Park Golf Course and Lester Park Golf Courses, the historic public golf courses of Duluth, Minnesota—and we need your help. We are organizing the area’s golfers to help our public courses attain sustainability. Your annual $10 FODPG membership due will help defray some of the costs of operating as a volunteer non-profit.

Click HERE to join FODPG.

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Minnesota PGA Junior Golf Series at Duluth’s Lester Park and Enger Park 
Posted on July 16, 2018 by WPadminFODPG
Minnesota PGA’s Junior Golf ‘Sota Series will travel to Lester Park July 23 and Enger Park July 24. There are four age divisions for boys and girls between 13 and 19. The mission of the series is to provide golf opportunities for advanced, intermediate and beginning golfers.

There is still time for junior golfers to register for the golf events, and spectators are welcome to attend. For more information, https://mnpgajr.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/mnpgajr18/event/mnpgajr18169/index.htm

Please take our anonymous survey:

Friends of Duluth Public Golf is conducting a demographic survey to better understand Duluth’s public golf community in order to help the city preserve and promote Lester Park and Enger Park golf courses. It consists of 10 questions and takes about one minute to complete. You will remain completely anonymous and this information will not be sold or shared with anyone who is not invested in keeping public golf alive and thriving in Duluth.

Click HERE to take the survey.

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