Golfers pay about $40 to play at Hard Labor Creek, a state park about an hour east of Atlanta. Taxpayers chip in another $5 per round at the money-losing golf course.
That’s a bargain compared with a round of golf at Brazzell’s Creek in Reidsville. Taxpayers subsidize players at the South Georgia course to the tune of $29 per round. And the little-used golf course is undergoing a $3 million upgrade, trading nine holes for 18, paid for by, yup, taxpayers.
Georgia’s seven state-run golf courses lost $1 million in fiscal year 2006. Since 2002, losses have averaged $941,000 a year.
Part of me understands it, and it’s not like I’m going to go start picketing over golf courses. But, with all the priorities of this state and all the needs for money, funding golf courses that can’t make it on their own seems like misplaced priorities.
I do love, however, how the DNR tries to justify it.
Affordable recreation, though, is only part of the state’s rationale for golf.
“Every golf course we have, except for Hard Labor Creek, is in an economically depressed county,” said the DNR’s Thompson. “They help stimulate the economy by bringing dollars to convenience stores, grocery stores, gas stations.”
Of course, I am mindful that I’m about to get discounted access to Macon’s city run golf course, Bowden.