Amherst Again Considering Privatizing Its 3 Golf Courses


The Town of Amherst is once again considering privatizing its three public golf courses in hopes of cutting costs and stemming mounting losses.

Amherst officials on Monday agreed to seek proposals from private companies interested in operating and managing the Audubon Golf Course at 500 Maple Road, its companion Par 3 across the street at 475 Maple, and the Oakwood Golf Course at 3575 Tonawanda Creek Road.

Revenues generated by the three courses simply have not kept pace with what it costs Amherst to maintain and operate them, said Councilmember Guy R. Marlette.

Amherst’s Youth & Recreation Department currently operates the golf courses, while workers from the Highway Department maintain the grounds. Amherst wants to keep its rates reasonable – $23 for a round of golf at Audubon and another $10 for a cart – but operations routinely run at a deficit.

Over the past 10 years, the town saw a net loss of more than $2 million – or an average of $202,000 a year – running its three public courses, with losses ranging from $21,500 in 2004 to as much as $375,000 in 2010, according to figures from the town’s Comptroller’s Office.
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5 Responses to “Amherst Again Considering Privatizing Its 3 Golf Courses”

  1. John says:

    Every BUSINESS the town runs seems to loose money. Examples include the golf courses, ice rink and sewage processing facility. Its a great idea to privatize all these entities. There is probably other low hanging fruit worthy of privitizing.

  2. What? says:

    “This time, Amherst would consider paying a private company a fee to manage the courses, then the town would keep the revenue. Or, a private company might pay Amherst a flat fee, along with a percentage of the revenues, to operate the town golf courses.”

    I think this is living in fantasy land. Time to close Audubon and build the Town residents a Town sports complex including tennis, soccer and baseball/softball fields. All in demand. There are plenty of golf courses around. The Town could then attract tournaments and consolidate services and maintanence duties. We don’t need to sell off our recreation lands to developers or to keep all of the golf courses. Amherst could attract business for existing retail, restaurants and hotels by creating a one stop sporting complex making it easy for out of towners to help pay for our sport facilities. Instead we will only see sweetheart deals for friends of the politicians who continue to sell off our town.

  3. John says:

    What? Amherst should encourage private money to build your proposed sports complex. The town fathers are in-capable of running a business like you propose at a profit or break even. Its already been proven.

  4. What? says:

    That’s just it, it isn’t a business. I’m sure local sport leagues and local businesses would welcome the Town’s investment with organization and sponsorships for tournaments etc. No need for private interests to have any ownership of the complex. The Town’s citizens should determine what they want not friends of Amherst politicians. If you want a bad example and how not to do it, look at the “privatized” Pepsi center.

  5. John says:

    1. The “privitized” Pepsi Center was built with taxpayer’s money.
    2. The town’s business plan predicted breakeven status in a few years after it was built.
    3. Operation of the Pepsi Center has always cost taxpayers money to make up the difference between receipts and costs.
    4. You are probably confusing the town paying an outside organization to run it as “privatizing”.
    5. “Privatizing” would consist of selling the entity or leasing it out with no strings attached.