Letter: Keep 18 holes at Soldiers Field

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After my review of the 136-page report on the city-owned golf courses prepared by National Golf Foundation (NGF), I note no justification to reduce the number of golf holes or to consider closing Soldiers Golf Course.

There were 17 favorable comments regarding Soldiers Field Golf Course in the report. A key comment was: “The existing Soldiers Field Golf Course is a good fit in the Rochester City system." The “closing” of Soldiers Field Golf Course would eliminate 15,000 rounds on city courses, resulting in the loss of 48,000 hours of outdoor activity to golfers, the vast majority being seniors. These “lost” hours of outdoor physical activity will not be replaced by the new amenities in the three options proposed by the Rochester Park Board.

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The NGF Study stated that if Soldiers Field Golf Course is closed, 15,000 of approximately 30,000 rounds currently played there would be lost. The remaining 15,000 rounds could be played at the other city courses. Data suggests we play May through October with shoulder seasons in April and November. Those few months host all high school events, fundraising tournaments, leagues, league events and championships, as well as open play.

The PB editorial incorrectly stated “Rochester’s golf courses are currently a drag on the city budget.” A review of the NGF Financials table on page 114 projects the four-year average annual “income” (2023 – 2026) of $59,800 per year. Therefore, the annual golf course expenses to staff, operate and maintain the courses are covered by the green and annual membership fees.

If you are in agreement please advise the Rochester Park Board and City Council members to “Keep 18 Holes @ Soldiers Field” as they move forward in the process to upgrade the park. It should be noted that the first “paid” rounds of golf occurred on May 8, 1927 let’s hope it will be in place for another 100 years!

Thomas DeBoer, Rochester

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