Madison public golf courses report more than $400,000 loss in 2019

The task force reported the financial loss in 2019 is about half of the financial loss in 2018

MADISON, Wis.– Golf courses in Madison are facing financial hardships.

According to Madison Parks public information officer Ann Shea, the city is still in the process of finalizing financial results from 2019, but the Golf Enterprise had a negative comprehensive net income that “will likely exceed $400,000.” In 2018, the financial loss was more than $800,000.

Shea attributes the financial hardships to a number of things.

“Failing capital infrastructure,” Shea wrote in an email. “Over $10 million in capital needs to catch up, hyper competitive market (2x holes in Dane County since 1990), lack of growth in golf participation rates on a population level as well as lack of growth in amount of rounds played by those that do golf.  Changes in how people recreate, pressures on pace of play (takes too long), and growth in alternative options for recreational outlets.”

Although golf courses are losing money, Shea said, “No courses have closed or on the brink of closing either. We intend to operate all four courses and 72 holes this summer. The Task Force may recommend structural changes to the golf program, including hole reduction or course closure. Their report is due to the Madison Common Council on May 1.”