Municipal courses like those operated by JC Resorts have presented challenges for taxpayers as California’s housing crisis worsens
UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona, announced its support for AB 672, which incentivizes cities to repurpose municipal golf courses into affordable housing. AB 672 faces a vote in the Housing and Community Development Committee on Wednesday, January 12.
Southern California, like the rest of our state, faces the dual crises of housing unaffordability and climate change, both of which disproportionately affect low-income Californians of color and immigrants. As California faces a continued drought, the average golf course reportedly uses 90 million gallons of water per year.
Municipal golf courses are purportedly run for the benefit of taxpayers, but wealthy firms like JC Resorts operate many courses, generating fee income from taxpayers. And according to the National Golf Foundation, only an estimated 67 percent of all public-agency golf facilities made enough revenue in 2019 to cover all on-site expenses.
In San Diego County, at least two municipal courses—the Crossings at Carlsbad and Reidy Creek Golf Course in Escondido, both municipal courses operated by JC Resorts—have presented challenges for taxpayers. On January 26, the City of Escondido will vote on authorizing a Request of Proposals for the management of the Reidy Creek Golf Course and Concessions, as its contract with JC Resorts expires on June 30, 2022.
PGA Board of Directors member and JC Resort Chief Golf Officer John McNair said in 2018 that “We need less golf courses, and that’s the bottom line. It continues to be the root of the problem. We probably need five or six more in San Diego County to go, and maybe another 20 in all of Southern California.”
The National Golf Foundation reported that 60 18-hole courses in the U.S. had closed as of July 1, 2021, and estimated a net loss of 100 courses by the end of 2021. Instead of opposing this legislation, the golf industry should embrace this and other efforts to address oversupply of courses while helping to reduce homelessness.
UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona who work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports.
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