Board keeps golf course open, hopes to draw young players


The Decatur Park Board of Commissioners voted to keep Scovill Golf Course open through September 30 during a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Under the decision, which was based on a report and recommendations compiled for the board, maintenance on the course would be reduced in an effort to reduce costs. Scovill and other courses have reported significantly higher than normal numbers of golfers in recent months, thanks to mild weather, but it is unclear whether that will continue.

“The trends in golf just don’t reflect what we’ve seen here this fall,” said Bill Clevenger, the Park District’s executive director. “I think it’ll be up to the staff and board to continue to monitor the trends over the upcoming season and see where we are and make decisions going into the fall of 2016.”

Clevenger added that the possibility of a new casino near the course could also improve its fortunes.

Meanwhile, the Park Board also approved several changes they hope will encourage young people to take up golf, including reducing the cost of junior golf passes by $200.

“We have to create a model that addresses the future of this sport,” Clevenger said. “We’ve tried to address the primary issues that we’ve seen emerge, and that’s the cost factor, the time factor and just having access to the game.”

A new fee schedule approved by the board left many costs, such as 5 day season passes and cart fees, the same but raised the cost of a seven-day season pass.

Meanwhile, the Decatur Convention and Visitors Bureau reported a significant increase in the number of golf packages it sold. Between March and October 2015, they reported selling 486 of the two-person packages. Of those 166 went to people in Wisconsin, 58 to people in Missouri, three to people in Texas, eight to people in Michigan and five to people in Indiana.

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