Bachelor of Arts
Program or Major
This thesis aims to provide a well-substantiated possible course of action for municipalities facing uncertain futures with their golf facilities. The trend of failing municipal golf courses has become prevalent since 2007, resulting in an overall decrease in the number of municipal facilities throughout the country. This is an unfortunate reality, as municipal golf plays a key role in introducing the sport to a racially and socio-economically diverse group of people, and has also played a crucial part in combatting golf’s traditional issues with racism and elitism. Ultimately, because of the accessibility and model of equality provided by municipal golf courses, municipalities are justified in investing in golf, despite questions of purpose and financial viability.
Winter Park Golf Course, a nine-hole municipal facility in Winter Park, Florida provides a model for how other municipalities can invest and change their failing facilities to make them more successful from both a financial and accessibility standpoint. After undergoing a significant renovation in the mid-2010s, the previously-failing course now experiences a high amount of success. This success, which is evidenced by revenue that is nearly double what it was prior to the renovation, is because of a strategically designed golf course that caters to all types of players, as well as a number of events, organizations, and initiatives that welcome and benefit golfers and non-golfers in the community. The course’s leadership, as well as the changes to the physical design and creation of wide array of events, serve as important lessons for other municipalities. In the end, trying to follow certain aspects of the Winter Park model would serve struggling municipal courses well.
Arnold, Jeff, "Revitalizing the Municipal Model: A Case Study of Winter Park Golf Course" (2020). Honors Theses. 58.