Proposed Golf Portfolio Realignment

The County Manager's 2020-2021 budget recommends a multi-year dynamic, community-centered approach to Parks & Recreation services. The first steps proposed in this process are focused on realigning the county's golf course portfolio by closing The Ponds at Battle Creek and investing $6.1 million in improvements at other courses. 

Capital investments and dynamic pricing

In 2018, the county commissioned a study to evaluate the Ramsey County golf system. Many of the recommendations will be implemented in this budget, including offering public golf experiences at three tiers: Value, Standard and Premium. Additionally, the proposed budget aligns course fee structures and provides a dynamic pricing model for tee times, allowing greater flexibility to set rates according to demand, weather conditions and other factors.

To improve the Value and Standard offerings, the proposed budget includes making significant capital investments of $2.4 million at Goodrich and $3.7 million at Manitou Ridge golf courses – making golf the second largest area of capital investment in the 2020-2021 proposed budget. 2020 Update: Planned investments have been delayed due to the county’s response to the pandemic.

A $12 million investment was made to improve Keller Golf Course (the Premium offering) which reopened in 2014.  

The Ponds at Battle Creek closure

The budget also proposes ceasing operations at The Ponds at Battle Creek golf facility. On March 2, 2021, the county board voted to set September 12, 2021 as the final day of operations at The Ponds at Battle Creek. This date will ensure a final season of access for the community while public engagement takes place to determine the future of the South Maplewood – Century Avenue Redevelopment Properties.

The decision to propose closing The Ponds at Battle Creek is the result of several factors:

  • The Ponds at Battle Creek opened in 2004 and was financed as an “enterprise fund,” meaning it was intended to be self-supporting, paying for its operating expenses as well as the initial investment of $3.5 million the county made to build the course.
  • The Ponds at Battle Creek golf course hasn’t proven profitable and has lost money operationally seven out of the past 10 seasons. 
  • In 2015, the county board forgave $5.7 million of debt for The Ponds at Battle Creek enterprise fund since the facility was unable to generate enough revenue to cover its debt payments. This includes the original investment, accrued interests and advances to the enterprise fund from other county funds.

Financial information

Next steps and feedback

Information on this page will continue to be updated throughout the budget process to address additional comments.