EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Evansville Board of Park Commissioners has voted to close the Wesselman Par 3 Golf Course.
At a Parks Board meeting in November, the board heard public input and explored possibilities for the future of the course.
Three suggested options, which came from a consultant included: keeping the golf course; closing it and repurposing it; find a private entity, such as a non-profit to maintain it as a golf course.
The board voted to go with that second option at their meeting on December 4.
Randy Calvert, a member of the Save Wesselman Par 3 Committee, says he is disappointed because he feels it was the most accessible course for young golfers.
“If you’re ten years old and you have two working parents, you can’t ride your bike to Tee Time, at least, I wouldn’t want my kid doing it," said Calvert.
Board President Jerome Stewart says a study on the municipal golf courses concluded there wasn’t enough demand to keep all the courses open. Since 2018, Stewart says fewer rounds have been played and revenue dipped by 11 percent.
“Golf in Evansville, Indiana will still thrive. As a matter of fact, it has been concluded that probably the closure of at least one golf course will make it better for the rest of the courses,” said Stewart.
But still, Calvert believes the closure will leave a void in the opportunity for young people who want to learn. It's where he used to take his own son to play golf.
“That’s where he learned the game and it was a great place to take him because, like I said, I didn’t feel the pressure that we were going to slow down foursomes on the main courses and so that’s just where we went," said Stewart.
Parks Department Executive Director Brian Holtz says this was not an easy decision to make, but he is optimistic for the future of the game here in Evansville.
“You know, it is somewhat bittersweet but I know there are other possibilities out there that are in place that we can promote and continue to grow the game of golf," said Holtz.
Holtz says the course will likely remain open for the remainder of the year as usual, until it is closed for the winter. At that point, the board will have to decide when it will officially shut down, and the future of the facility.