Hartford (Conn.) Golf Courses Show Mixed Results in First Year of City Operation

By | June 19th, 2017

After multi-million-dollar renovations, the historic Keney Golf Course outperformed financial projections in the first year since the makeovers, city officials reported, but Goodwin Golf Course remained $200,000 in the red, as was expected. Both courses fell short on projected rounds, but city officials were buoyed by strong reviews for Keney that they think could make it a regional destination, and also expect more improvements that are planned for Goodwin to bolster its appeal and operating efficiency.


After multi-million-dollar renovations to two golf courses run by the city of Hartford, Conn., NBC Connecticut reported, city officials said that while one of the courses is exceeding financial projections, the other is in the red, as was expected.

The city added, however, that usage at both the Keney Golf Course and Goodwin Golf Course fell short of projections for their first year, NBC Connecticut reported.

In the first year since the makeovers, the historic Keney Golf Course outperformed financial projections and broke even, NBC Connecticut reported, while Goodwin was $200,000 in the red, as projected. However, both courses fell short on the projected number of rounds played, with Keney falling short by about 500 rounds, and Goodwin by 1,500 rounds.

Keney has a lot going for it, including a renovated clubhouse, NBC Connecticut noted, and Goodwin, on the other side of the city, just received approval for some major improvements after investing $1 million over the past three years.

To make the golf courses profitable, the city will also need to charge more and have more golfers from out of town, NBC Connecticut reported.

Many call it nothing short of a miracle that the team overhauling the Keney and Goodwin golf courses were able to transform long-neglected greens and fairways, NBC Connecticut reported. In fact, Golfweek recently named Keney the third best public golf course in Connecticut. But whether or not the city’s total investment of $11 million investment will put Hartford golf on a course to profitability remains less certain.

“It was our first effort at projecting usage at two golf courses,” said Tom Baptist, Hartford’s Superintendent of Public Works. “We basically inherited two broken golf courses that we had to reconstruct from scratch, and that included rebuilding the membership base.”

The city projects that both courses will almost break even this year, NBC Connecticut reported. Baptist and his team have lowered estimates for the number of rounds played and raised greens fees by $1 to $4 per round to make up for that shortfall. Baptist does not expect another rate change any time soon, and said Hartford’s greens fees are comparable with other municipal courses.

Also noteworthy are the revisions on who Hartford expects will use its courses, NBC Connecticut reported. Goodwin should remain dominated by locals, city officials feel, but at Keney, projections now indicate that a majority of the golfers will come from outside Hartford.

“I think [the revisions] recognize the fact that Keney Golf Course has a regional draw. It’s that spectacular a golf course,” Baptist said.

A new clubhouse has been approved for Goodwin, NBC Connecticut noted, and city council members have also approved a new $2 million irrigation system to replace one that the city says is barely operating, and that is wasting water and money.

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