Faced with nearly $2 million in state budget cuts in the past 13 months, Delta State University will close the university golf course as a way to offset cuts and protect the university’s core operations.
President William N. LaForge said this is a difficult but necessary decision in order to protect university programs and personnel.
“Regrettably, the Cabinet has been put in the difficult position of closing the university golf course to achieve savings in our budget — necessary because of the continuing state budget cuts,” LaForge said. “We are working hard to identify areas for budget savings on campus to offset these cuts that avoid impacting personnel and academic programs. We realize that the golf course is a longstanding and traditional feature of the university, and we regret having to make this tough decision. However, this action is absolutely necessary.”
The golf course will close on June 30 and remain non-operational after that. The decision will not affect the university golf team which will practice and play at the Cleveland Country Club.
The closure will translate into nearly $250,000 in savings for the university, which are needed to offset $1.1 million in state budget cuts from this fiscal year alone. There is no plan to repurpose the course at this time.
All golfers with memberships at the golf course are welcome to use the course until the end of June. Anyone with memberships extending beyond June will be refunded a pro-rated share of their fee.
James Rutledge, vice president for Finance and Administration, said the closure will not affect current golf course employees.
“The three golf course employees will have the opportunity to transfer into current vacant positions in Facilities Management, therefore none of the golf course employees will be terminated,” he explained.
LaForge said university administrators met with a large group of stakeholders, golfers and others, this week to explain the decision.
“We understand that the city of Cleveland is essentially losing what they consider to be a public golf course. Unfortunately, we cannot be that public golf course for our community any longer because of the budget cuts,” LaForge said. “Our primary focus has to be on academics and our students, and our mission as a university. Because of these budget cuts, we can no longer afford to operate a golf course.”