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Wingpointe and Jordan River Par-3 open for season

Published May 9, 2013 2:42 pm

Golf • Money woes could doom both Salt Lake City courses.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

No news is good news for duffers who play Salt Lake City links.

The city's 18-hole Wingpointe course and the nine-hole Jordan River Par-3 are open for the season.

But questions that surrounded both courses last season persist.

Last spring, Salt Lake City announced that budget constraints could lead to the closure of the Jordan River course.

In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a dictum to the Salt Lake City Airport Authority that it charge market-rate rent for Wingpointe. The course has been leased to Salt Lake City at no cost, and the city's self-sustaining golf fund can ill afford a large rent increase.

Salt Lake City's eight golf courses are not underwritten by the municipality's general fund and must support themselves. The golf fund is estimated to earn $8.7 million in the upcoming fiscal year — just enough to keep the city courses operating.

That has left some $20 million in deferred improvements and maintenance costs across the city's golf courses, said Rick Graham, director of the Department of Public Services.

Budget constraints continue to paint an uncertain future for the Jordan River Par-3. Although it's a favorite for beginners, it only sees about 10,000 rounds played per season. That means it has to be subsidized by other city courses.

But Graham said Thursday that Jordan River will be open this season, although city officials continue to ponder its future.

The fate of Wingpointe is, apparently, in the hands of the FAA, which has directed the airport to charge "fair market value" for the land it leases to the city for the golf course.

Salt Lake City has submitted a proposal to the federal agency but has not received a response, Graham said.

Pat Shea, a Salt Lake City attorney, said the future of Wingpointe is questionable. He sat on the airport authority board when the golf course was built and said Salt Lake City has a 99-year lease on the links. Nonetheless, its years may be numbered, he said.

"I have trepidation about the long-term survival of Wingpointe," Shea said. "There is a storm front coming down the road."

csmart@sltrib.com