Rockford Park District works with community to bring golf courses up to par

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Rockford Park District is working to preserve its six golf courses after they are no longer revenue generators. The park district is now asking for the community’s help to get more people hitting the links.

"Golf is important to the community,” said golfer Dave Kloepfer.

Dave Kloepfer plays three to four rounds of golf a week at Rockford Park District Courses.

"Golf is a way to be able to express yourself, have fun but at the same time learn some values of life.”

Not everyone is playing as much as Kloepfer. Recently the park district has seen a significant decrease in revenue and the number of rounds played per year caused from a shift in demographics and less people golfing.

"In the early 2000’s the courses were profiting over a million dollars annually for the park district and now we are tax subsidized close to $500,000 a year. We're fighting right now to try and preserve all our golf courses and programs,” said executive director for the Rockford Park District Jay Sandine.

The park district is now calling on the golf community by hosting engagement sessions to help find ways to increase revenue, lower expenses and get involved.

"We've got extra tee times at unfavorable hours, drop it down to ten to fifteen bucks just to get people out there,” said Kloepfer.

"We are very optimistic that our golf community is going to get involved at a higher level than they've ever been and we need them to be in order to keep all of the courses that we have,” said Sandine.

Dozens of local golfers submitted their ideas to help bring area courses up to par.

“People have to rely on being able to come in and help take ownership,” said Kloepfer.

The park district is hosting two more community meetings. The next one will be held at Ingersoll Golf Course. The park district plans to incorporate the ideas and suggestions from the meetings into its master plan that it will present to its board members next month.