It will be interesting to see whether the city's new municipal golf course lives up to its financial projections.
It is hoped Lawrence's city-owned golf course will meet or exceed the optimistic projections of the consulting firm that said the operation would be a big success and a profitable venture for city taxpayers.
Only time will tell, and it is hoped city bookkeepers will be accurate and complete in their auditing of the course's fiscal operation. If it fails to measure up to the consultant's projections, city taxpayers and those using the course will have to come up with the added bucks.
A few years ago, some city golfers claimed there was need for more golfing opportunities at a lower price. They wanted to be able to play 18 holes for what they considered reasonable fees of $8 to $10 a round. Eventually, city officials hired a consultant to tell them what they wanted to hear, that, yes, indeed, the city needed a municipal course, that it would attract a large number of golfers, and that it would be a financial success.
Free land was made available by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and it wasn't long before city officials gave the go-ahead for construction.
This past weekend, the driving range was opened. The front nine of the 18-hole course is scheduled to open the middle to latter part of July, and the back nine holes are expected to be ready for play in August or September. Opening day prices are $8.50 for nine holes and $13.50 for 18 holes on weekdays and $9.75 for nine holes and $15 for 18 holes on weekends.
There are many challenges facing any municipal golf course, and Lawrence's Eagle Bend course has the added challenge of keeping any chemicals or toxic materials used on the course from draining into the Wakarusa River which meanders through the course. Also, flooding could be a problem in times of heavy rains.
However, now is the time for area golfers to start to enjoy the course and for Lawrence city officials to hope their consultants' rosy projections turn out to be true.