I was disappointed but not surprised to learn the Black Canyon Golf Course is ceasing operations as an 18-hole course. Here is my understanding of the relationship between the City of Montrose and the Black Canyon Golf Course.
The past: The 9-hole golf course opened in 1960. In the early 1980’s, the City determined that an 18-hole golf course would be a community asset and they approached the golf course about expanding. The city purchased the “back 9” land from private landowners with the idea to lease it back to the golf course. The purchase came with an important stipulation or covenant from the sellers; it had to remain a golf course or be maintained open space.
The present: The golf course remained the only 18-hole course within 70 miles until the late 1990’s. Since then, Cobble Creek, The Bridges and the now defunct Cornerstone were built. Ridgway, Delta and Cedaredge expanded their 9-hole courses to 18 and the Black Canyon has struggled. There is no contractual obligation for the City to assist the golf course but in recent years, the golf course and the City have had an annual stare-down over the maintenance costs of the back 9, mostly relating to the covenant attached with the original land purchase.
The future: The golf course has blinked first, shutting down the back nine. I believe the golf course will emerge financially strong. However, the back 9 situation reminds of a quote from the world renowned philosopher Charlie Sheen who said “Leverage is a fickle bitch”. I am told the City spends $2,500 annually, per acre to maintain the City parks. The back 9 is 60 acres. You do the math. It sounds to me like they could be getting a bargain for the $50K the golf course requests annually. Devoted golfers have been very vocal expressing their feelings but the most interested parties in this struggle might be the adjoining homeowners, anxious to protect their property values. They are likely preparing for a staredown of their own with the City over the next move with the land.
As a now distant observer, I have to ask, what is the City planning to do with the 60 acres and maybe more importantly, at what cost?
– Brian Ryall, PGA Member