For weeks, golfers have worried about whether Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's Eagleglen Golf Course will be shut down -- but base officials say that’s only a rumor for now.
JBER had the first of two public meetings about the future of its golf program Wednesday night. With low participation in recent years and lost funds, that may mean consolidating the courses on base from three to two.
From former mayors, accountants to serviceman, the community came out to voice their concerns of the rumors that one of JBER’s golf courses on base may soon shut its doors before tee-time this season.
“It’s a part that people play to go enjoy and if you let that asset go you’ve lost something in your community,” said Kurt Imig, co-owner of Fox Hallow golf course.
JBER hosts three of the four 18-hole golf courses in the Anchorage area.
Officials with the military say one of those courses is jeopardized, because of reduced play during the last 11 years and the lost opportunity of increased funds.
“With an estimated capacity of about 115,000 rounds per year to sell, we’ve sold as many as 75,000 in 2003 and as few as 47,000 rounds this past year,” said JBER commander Col. Brian Duffy, who heads the 673rd Air Base Wing.
According to JBER, the net effect of that loss has been a $1.9 million reduction over the last three years in the base's Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fund, which supports programs and activities enhancing readiness for service members and their families.
“We’ve heard a lot of energy and ideas this evening and we’re hopeful that will lead us to a good solution,” Duffy said.
The golfing community came out in full swing, offering suggestions like forming a volunteer committee to work with JBER officials to come up with a solution to keep all three courses open.
“At first it sounded like they already made their decision but as time went on and we listened, it appeared they were really willing to hear what everyone here had to say and consider getting these people involved,” said Rick Mystrom, former mayor of Anchorage.
JBER says two of its courses can accommodate all golfers and tournaments played if one courses were to close, but no decision has been made whether one will close at all.
For now, the golfing community hopes its message sinks a hole-in-one and convinces the military to keep all three golf courses for the long run.
JBER officials say they won’t make any decisions until the start of the season.
There will be another public hearing Thursday at the Moose Run golf course clubhouse at 6 p.m.