Inside Comments: Steve Turcotte

Deciding the fate of Seattle city courses?
Are you kidding me, the decision is easy

The one thing I like every morning at the house is opening the front door and picking up my copy of the Seattle Times. I am old school and love the newspaper business. I look through every section – of course starting with the sports section.

But on this day in June, the front page story grabbed my attention. The headline talked about the Seattle City Courses and turning them into open space. I am in the golf business, the last thing we need is for more golf courses to go away.

But there it was in black and white. On the front page of the Seattle Times.

Are you kidding me? Taking the four Seattle public golf courses and turning them into something else. Even Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat a couple of weeks later had a column talking about how Seattle has plenty of open spaces and places for people to live.

Seattle’s public courses are terrific layouts, have been around for years and years and are always popular with packed tee sheets. You can’t go wrong when you tee it up at places like Jackson Park, Jefferson Park, West Seattle and Interbay, with its immense driving range and 9-hole course. In fact, PGA Tour star and Northwest native Fred Couples played Jefferson when he was growing up. I’m sure he wouldn’t like to see that course go away.

But listening to some of these people on the city council and Mayor Jenny Durkan how they think golf is just a throwaway sport. They might want to take a look one day this summer and see how many kids, seniors, women, and men are out there on the golf courses and driving ranges taking advance of the golf the city of Seattle has to offer.

Seattle has had its golf courses going all the way back to 1915, when Jefferson Park opened up. The city of Seattle commissioned a study to look into the future of the golf courses. And the funny thing is golfers never heard word one about the study. Golfers were literally blindsided when word of this study came out.

The courses are managed by Premier Golf, which has done an outstanding job for the city since taking over the contract.

“These are not played by people who belong to private golf courses and it’s very diverse people population,” said Bill Schickler, founder and president of Premier Golf Centers. “You’ve got grandparents playing with grandkids and kids. And you’ve got women and men of all ethnicities playing these courses and they are very much in need as a resource for sport and recreation in he community.”

Hey golfers, here is a list of the mayor and city council folks to start your letter writing campaign to. And trust me, mine is on the way to these folks as well: