Deeds and WeedsMarch 10, 2009

Will Sacramento Course Re-open? Members Vote

Today is a big day at Wild Wings Golf Course, a golf community in the Sacramento suburb of Woodlands. This is the day residents find out if they will have a course again.

The Wild Wings layout, which is nine holes, closed in December, a victim of declining membership. Some residents want to reopen the course, with expenses paid for by a special tax on community members (estimated at $1,700 per family). As you might expect, there is evidence that the issue has divided the community -- those who want the course on one side and those who don't (or don't want to pay for it) on the other.

"I'm afraid that it's turned into a little bit of class warfare,"  [Wild Wings resident] Pam Kazmierczak, an opponent of taking over the links, told the Sacramento Bee. "There are people who think, if you can't afford to maintain it as a golf course, then why are you here?"

A total of 541 residents are eligible to vote; as of yesterday, 381 had done so by mail. Details are in this story in today's Bee.

The Wild Wings scenario is just one chapter of the difficult golf course story in Sacramento these days. A large number of private clubs -- eight, according to this story -- in the California capital and surrounding area, facing a financial doomsday, have made the decision to allow outside play. In effect, they've gone semi-private.

One of the inescapable conclusions of the story is that the struggling economy isn't the only reason Sacramento's golf courses are having such a hard time:

"The Sacramento area has been course-heavy and player-light for years. During the 30-year span ending in 1994, six full-length courses were built. Then, in the past 15 years, 24 more were added.

That translates to overbuilt, course operators say."

--G.R.