New beginning at golf course

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Krueger-Haskell adds an important element to the community.

THE LAST YEAR was a tough one at Beloit's venerable Krueger-Haskell municipal golf course.

The city launched an investigation after reports of lax management and unauthorized free play surfaced about the course, which has been subsidized significantly over the years by taxpayers to make up the gap between revenued earned and expenses. In the aftermath the city parted ways with its leisure services director, ended practices that had been in place with volunteers for years and ordered a series of sweeping changes to improve business policies.

It was all quite controversial and a number of people were upset and felt mistreated by the city. That's regrettable. But it was time for a makeover, with the goal of creating a more self-sustaining and professional operation.

COURSE SUPERVISOR Mark Young, who has done a good job over the years maintaining and improving the links, is ready to get at it.

"We're moving forward with us running it," he said. "Hopefully with what we are doing this year, we can start going in a positive direction."

That would be a drive straight down the middle for all Beloiters who pay taxes, not to mention those who love golf.

Partly because of last year's turmoil, but moreso because of too many years of city subsidies, critics of the course were calling for serious changes. At the modest end of that scale critics urged Beloit to take management of the course away from the city and turn it over to a private golf company, like Janesville has done with its two municipally-owned tracks. On the more radical side critics said the land should be sold and redeveloped into a residential neighborhood.

But we think City Hall got it right, making the necessary business changes while continuing to prioritize quality golf at a reasonable cost. In fact, Krueger-Haskell is reducing its prices this year to encourage more rounds.

HERE'S WHY THAT SHOULD matter to everybody. Beloit has made enormous positive strides over the past several years, improving the City Center and growing jobs both in town and at the edges, such as the Gateway zone. The next step is to grow residential property so people attracted by Beloit's jobs and amenities have more options.

Potential residents want ample recreational opportunities, and that includes golf. The Beloit Club is private. Krueger-Haskell is public and fits the need. There are municipal courses in Janesville, muni courses in Rockford and county courses in Winnebago. Beloit needs Krueger-Haskell to be competitive.

So we wish this 90-plus year old course success in this turnaround year. One way to assure that is to dig the old sticks out of the basement and give Krueger-Haskell a try. We bet you'll enjoy it - and you'll be helping out the hometown.

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