An idea so good that it’s doomed: Metro Louisville “should turn its golf courses into walkable neighborhoods.”


We have all been here before.

Experts say golf is dying, and if so, expect the redevelopment vultures to circle New Albany Springs.

I think it’s a great idea to repurpose golf courses into something remotely useful. Retain some of the green space, build living spaces, and make it walkable.

Golf scramble? Nah, but scrambled eggs and chorizo sound good to me right about now.

Streets for People: Metro should turn its golf courses into walkable neighborhoods, by Chris Glasser (Insider Louisville)

As Insider Louisville’s Joe Sonka reported last week, Mayor Greg Fischer’s 2020 budget calls for the closing of up to four of the city’s 10 public golf courses. Reports indicate that only three of the courses are operating at a profit, with the courses showing an overall operating loss of $700,000.

With the golf courses on the chopping block, the question has become what to do with them?

The most straightforward approach, potentially, would be to find a private company to run them. Councilman Brandon Coan has floated another idea for the course in his district: donating Cherokee Golf Course to the Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

Scott Martin, the former director of The Parklands at Floyds Fork and current director of River Heritage Conservancy, mused on Facebook that the Cherokee Golf Course would have been a great site for the Botanical Gardens project.

I would like to propose a quite different option: the city should repurpose some of these courses as mixed-use, mixed-income, walkable neighborhoods.

As has been observed in Metro Council hearings on the matter, golf as a sport is losing popularity, and courses across the country are closing because of it.

“Long term . . . I think we’re going to keep seeing a greater and greater amount of general funds being drawn into golf,” Metro’s budget director David Frockt said.

Put another way, this isn’t so much a Louisville budget problem or even, as some would like to make it, a government mismanagement problem; it’s a golf problem.

This reality makes closing some of the Metro Parks courses a fundamentally different kind of decision than that of closing the Metro Parks swimming pools …