Duluth approves plan to close one of its two public golf courses

Lester Park Golf Course will close at the end of the 2023 season.
Publish date:
Lester Park Golf Course

The city of Duluth has announced it is permanently closing Lester Park Golf Course after the 2023 golf season.

Chief Administrative Officer Noah Schuchman said the failure to sell Lester Golf real estate, the COVID-19 pandemic and the collapse of the economy have made it “painfully clear” Duluth can’t operate two golf courses anymore.

Lester Golf Course, located to the northeast of the city and offering views over Lake Superior, is one of two golf courses owned by the city, the other being Enger Park Golf Course, which is closer to downtown.

The closure comes despite the sport seeing a resurgence in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with golf considered one of the safer leisure activities as indoor amenities shut down.

“When we continued to look at the financial impact of operating both courses, it became clear that the best way to keep a public golf course in Duluth is to recommend the permanent closure of Lester,” Schuchman said.

Lester Park was temporarily closed in 2020 because of COVID-19. The city says it will remain closed in 2021 and 2022 “due to cost.” But the golf course will reopen in 2023 for its final season while Enger Park Golf Course is closed for major renovations.

“Operation of both Enger and Lester is a $100,000 annual loss to the City’s budget, which results in cuts to the City of Duluth Park Fund. For comparison, $100,000 is the approximately cost to replace a modest playground. Operating Enger and Lester in 2021 and 2022 would have required the City to reduce its playground replacement program from two playgrounds per year to one playground per year,” according to Kate Van Daele, public information officer for the city.

In 2019, a task force found the future of Lester and Enger golf courses was in jeopardy because of an oversupply of golf options in Duluth, failing golf infrastructure and not enough city funds to fix both golf courses to today’s standards.

This city will be developing a plan to overhaul Enger Golf with a new club house, irrigation system, driving range and other upgrades for a reopen in 2024 after Lester Park closes.

“As outlined by the public golf task force, the City intends to preserve the original Lester Park Golf Course as protected park land and engage the community to develop a plan for how the space should be used and improved following the closure of golf facilities in 2024,” Van Daele said.

Next Up

All Energy Solar Residential Installation

End 'renting' from your utility company and go solar

A solar installation is one of the few home improvements that actually pays for itself.

Byron Buxton

Twins talking contract extension with Byron Buxton

The Twins are 88-38 over the past two seasons with Buxton in the lineup.

minneapolis police

Police arrest man in connection to deadly Minneapolis hit-and-run

The victim died the scene in north Minneapolis on Friday.

Jordan Greenway

Wild's fast start vanishes in loss to Coyotes

Arizona scored five unanswered goals in a 5-2 loss.

Screen Shot 2021-03-06 at 4.12.00 PM

Police seeking tips in search for road rage shooting suspect

The incident took place in Maplewood last week.

Paige Bueckers

Paige Bueckers lands on Wooden Award list for women's college basketball

The Hopkins grad is the only freshman on the 15-player ballot.


The Ponds at Battle Creek

Budget proposal aims to close Maplewood golf course

The proposal aims to close the golf course after the 2020 season.

3 MN golf courses make Golf Digest's 100 best in America list

It's a list of the 100 best public golf courses in the country.

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 10.53.09 AM

What to do with Hiawatha Golf Course? Minneapolis has 3 ideas

The Parks Board is seeking feedback for the options at meetings on Monday and Tuesday.

Under threat of closure, Chomonix might get new lease on life

The Lino Lakes golf course has been losing money since 2014.

Another Twin Cities golf course plans to close

Both Minneapolis and St. Paul will be losing courses

Another Twin Cities golf course plans to close

Both Minneapolis and St. Paul will be losing courses

Jackpot junction

Minnesota's best golf course is also its best kept secret

Play 18 holes at this beautiful Rees Jones-designed course.

Finn Cycle at Giants Ridge

Forget carts, you can get around this MN golf course by scooter

Giants Ridge has introduced Finn Cycle to its courses.