Three golf courses to close after sub-par season

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A cold, wet, late spring pushed the start of the golf season back and contributed to the closing of three privately owned golf courses on the fringes of the metro area. The Pioneer Press reports the Hudson Golf Club in Hudson, Wis. and the Red Oaks and Lakeview courses in Mound are ending operations as the season concludes.

"The family has owned them for 58 years," said Kim Linder, manager of the two golf courses closing in Mound.Linder said. "This is going to be a loss for the community."
The newspaper said that the inclement spring delayed the start of the season by six weeks compared to the 2012 season. Earlier this month, a report found that the number of rounds played on local courses this season fell by about 10 percent compared to last year’s play. The Business Journal reviewed figures compiled by a PGA PerformanceTrak report showing rounds played in Minnesota in April fell by a dramatic 77 percent and by almost 22 percent in May.

The Pioneer Press account said the weather-shortened season also left a number of city-owned golf courses in the red for their green fees for the season. St. Paul officials put the year's losses at the city's four golf courses at about $1 million. In Cottage Grove, the city council on Wednesday voted to forgive a $900,000 loan to its golf course and restructure a $1.2 million loan.

According to the Minnesota state auditor, only six city-owned courses out of 40 made money in 2011, the latest year for which data are available. In that year, 85 percent of city-owned courses lost money.

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune reports the shortened season didn't keep one Minnesota golfer from going after a lifelong goal. Art Hennington, 65, of Elk River is within six rounds of achieving what he called a “dumb dream” of playing all 491 golf courses in Minnesota.

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