MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Several Memphis City Council members want a mulligan, a do over, on golf courses slated for closure to save money. They say the courses on the list are only in poor neighborhoods and some questions why the City is in the golf business at all.
"It is shocking, it is shocking the city council has talked about golf courses a half a dozen times when our libraries and our pools and our parks and our community centers have budgets that are on a shoe-string," said Council member Lee Harris.
Earlier this year, the City Council voted to close several courses - some permanently, others for the winter months - in a bid to save money.
"These particular courses have consistently lost money as far as the city's budget is concerned," said George Little, the city's Chief Administrative Officer.
"We learned last year, and we are certainly operating under the principal this year that the budget is the budget, the council adopts it, and that is what we should follow," he said. "We are going to wait on guidance from council, if they want to re-instate it; part of the obligation is that they need to find the funding."
"I think it raises a larger question then just golf courses," Little added.
The issue came up when Council member Joe Brown objected closing a golf course in Whitehaven during Tuesday's City Council meeting.
"How are we going to close a golf course in Whitehaven and we don't close Galloway," Brown said. "How are we going to close a golf course like Pine hill, and we don't close Overton Park?"
The City says Whitehaven lost more than $200,000 last year. Brown doesn't care.
"Golf is an amenity. It is not where it should make a profit, it is a recreation amenity to the citizens of Memphis," Brown said.
"We got to keep this thing fair, Memphis is a city of diversity, ONE Memphis is what we are looking for, we can't pick and choose, what we want to close and open," he said.
Little says the City doesn't have the money to keep Whitehaven open, so it will proceed with plans to close it as the Council debates its long-term fate.
"At what point do we say, look folks, after a lot of hard deliberation here is the decision that we made," Little said.
The City Council will re-consider the course's future in two weeks.