The Crashing Golf Market and You: Why it doesn’t make sense to invest millions of your taxpayer money in San Francisco’s failing Sharp Park Golf Course


Annual flooding reduces golf activity at Sharp Park Golf Course

Sharp Park Golf Course has a lot going against it these days. Since 2005, the course has lost San Francisco nearly 1.4 million dollars (see table below). Take a look at player-written reviews of the course, and you’ll find that many consider golf at Sharp Park to be a less-than-pleasant experience, in regards to both the game and interactions with staff. To top it off, Sharp Park Golf Course drains wetlands and kills two endangered species when it operates, giving an environmental black-eye to the entire industry.

Fiscal Year RPD Sharp Park Golf Course Losses
04/05 – $110,299
05/06 – $338,025
06/07 – $64,685
07/08 – $119,758
08/09 $29,446
09/10 – $134,699
10/11 – $161,217
11/12 – $245,007
12/13 – $248,786
TOTALS – $1,389,253

At most, what people like about Sharp Park is its sentimental worth to those that have been playing there for years (granted, they also enjoy how inexpensive it is to play at, compared to your average course). Is that enough reason to justify the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department plan to gamble with $20 million of your taxpayer dollars on redeveloping this controversial golf course?

Not according to new statistics published in a Men’s Journal article, The Death of Golf, by Karl Taro Greenfield. According to Greenfield, golf courses in the United States are closing much faster than the new ones are opening- in 2014, there were approximately 16 course closures for every new course that had opened (and even though new courses are opening, there is no indication that they are faring well economically). Today, there are 19% fewer players now than there were in 2003, with players under age 34 losing the highest percentage of players when compared to other age groups. Even television viewership of golf is diminishing.

The Bay Area could be Exhibit A for this trend, where there are 6 million more golf rounds supplied than demanded. Sharp Park Golf Course alone has been losing money on the scale of hundreds of thousands of dollars, annually.

San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department’s plan to spend millions on Sharp Park Golf Course is simply devoid of sound reasoning. Market conditions indicate that Sharp Park is highly unlikely to succeed as a golf course, that it will continue to lose money, and that the city will be down another $20 million dollars in capital that could be otherwise invested to benefit San Francisco residents.

Don’t let San Francisco keep pouring taxpayer dollars into this unprofitable golf course. Click here to find out how you can take action and help our campaign to restore Sharp Park.

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