GOLF IN PLYMOUTH
"In order to satisfy the desires of many residents and to maintain the present high level of service, quality of life, recreational diversity and protection and enhancement of natural areas, it is important that Plymouth strive to preserve publicly accessible golf courses in the city."
2040 Comprehensive Plan, approved July 2019
A GAME FOR ALL AGES
"Golf is the game of a lifetime. Part of its beauty is that I can play it with my 80-year-old father, or my 9-year-old daughter."
Erik Matuszewski, Forbes
Golf has been an important part of recreation in Plymouth since Hollydale was opened in 1964. Based on a survey in the late 90's, it was thought that golf probably ranked second, behind walking, as the most frequent recreational activity of Plymouth residents.
Demand for golf in Plymouth is high. The National Golf Foundation estimates there are 20,000 golfers within 5 miles of Hollydale, and average rounds potential is almost twice the supply. There are 68,000 golfers within 10 miles of the course. Yet while Plymouth was once home to three 18 hole golf courses, only Hollydale remains. If Hollydale closes, Plymouth will be the largest city in Minnesota not to have an 18 hole course.
Golf is a unique sport that combines physical skill, mental discipline, and low impact, outdoor exercise. Available from childhood through old age, it can be played alone, or shared with family and friends throughout life.
In this era of solitary screen time and video games, it would be foolish and shortsighted to destroy an outdoor asset that provides parents a sport they can play with their kids, provides teens four hours of productive, safe and unsupervised time with their friends, and provides seniors mental, physical and social exercise outdoors.
AVAILABILITY OF PUBLIC GOLF COURSES
As the metropolitan area has grown outward, land values have increased, and many golf courses have closed. Today, demand outstrips supply in our area.
Where there were once 12 18 hole courses within in the reasonable proximity to Plymouth there are now 8. Closing Hollydale will bring that number down to 7.
Nine hole golf is not a substitute for 18 hole golf. Nine hole courses are shorter, which changes the way the game is played. Course strategies are different, fewer clubs are used, and the skills of distance and related accuracy are not employed. While the tools and the concepts are the same, it is a different game. This is demonstrated by demand at Three Rivers Park District, where the 9 hole Eagle Lake has only ⅔ the rounds of Baker.
Hollydale had eight golf leagues that were referred to Shamrock to continue play. But the availability of Shamrock as an alternative golf course will very likely be short lived. Shamrock was one of two golf courses owned by the owners of Hollydale, and was sold to an LLC at the same time as Hollydale. Shamrock is designated Mixed Residential and Low Density Residential in Corcoran's Future Land Use Plan, with development scheduled for 2025 - 2030. A residential development is presently under construction on the eastern boundary of Shamrock, the main road of which dead ends at the course.
Baker is a beautiful, challenging course, and a step up from Hollydale. For an older demographic however, it is not really walkable, adding to the expense ($15) of getting a cart and somewhat reducing the exercise value.
Rush Creek is similar. Privately owned, the least expensive mid-day tee time is $89, and the cart is another $20. This puts Rush Creek out of reach for many seniors and junior players.
GOLF & THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
Per Minnesota statute, Metro Cities are required to create a Comprehensive Plan that forecasts land use and communicates a vision for the city. In creating the Plan, the city and community identified 9 key statements that reflect the residents' and city leaders' unified vision for Plymouth. The conversion of the Hollydale golf course into a residential development is in direct conflict with 5 of those 9 vision statements.
Protect and enhance the natural environment.
Protect and enhance convenience and mobility.
Provide high quality city services and facilities.
Meet the needs of all age groups within the city, with a particular focus on young people and the aging population.
Enhance and strengthen the sense of community.
Maintenance of golf as a city amenity fulfills all those vision statements.
We are fortunate to still have this asset in the city, and it would be painfully shortsighted to destroy it. Tell the City Council not to let it go.