Over 105,000 rounds of golf were played on the city’s golf courses

Rendering from the city of Sioux Falls.

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – Golf is popular in Sioux Falls, with three city-owned courses.

The city of Sioux Falls announced Wednesday that more than 105,000 rounds of golf have been played at three city-owned golf courses – Elmwood, Prairie Green and Kuehn Park. This is a 38% increase from 2018, when 76,000 rounds of golf were played on the three courses.

“The crazy part of this, the crazy good part, is that we’re doing it and we’re achieving it in 10-minute tee times,” Justin Arlt said during a city news conference. “We are seeing record rounds of golf when the weather is good.”

Arlt is the Sioux Falls golf market manager for Landscapes Unlimited, a third-party contractor the city works with to manage municipal golf courses. Since Landscapes Unlimited took over the municipal courses in 2018, the annual number of golf passes has increased from 900 to more than 1,500 in 2023, Arlt said.

“It is important for all golfers, regardless of skill, to be on municipal golf courses,” Arlt said. “When we arrived, our clients were already retired. The players from all over the city were very young in terms of their fitness model and so on. We had to rejuvenate ourselves and we did it.

Arlt said the city’s over-40 golf pass is currently the best-selling golf pass in the city. He added more season tickets, and more rounds of golf means more revenue.

“Our investment is that we improve properties, we make them better,” Arlt said.

Some changes made in recent years include a new irrigation pond at Elmwood East Golf Course, concrete golf paths at Prairie Green, a new pump house at Kuehn Park and synthetic turf on the golf courses at Prairie Green and Kuehn Park.

New club in Elmwood

The newest addition to the city’s golf courses will be a brand new clubhouse at Elmwood Golf Course, which has been open since 1926.

Tory Miedema, the city’s parks development specialist, said Elmwood renovated all 27 holes of the golf course starting in 2014, a parking lot renovation in 2018 and a monument along Russell Street. Miedema said construction of the new 9,000-square-foot club is expected to begin in spring 2024, with a spring 2025 opening.

“It will have a space to host large charity events that are often held out of town or at private clubs, and it will really give us a year-round space that the community can use,” Miedema said.

The new clubhouse will be located to the east of the current clubhouse, which will remain open during construction. The new club will partner with First Tee and the South Dakota Golf Association.

First Tee, a youth golf organization, is financing a new 4,000-square-foot clubhouse that will house operations facilities and host year-round programs, while SDGA will move its Hall of Fame from the nearby Holiday Inn.

“What a great place to really celebrate the history of golf in South Dakota,” Miedema said.

Mom on possible future city owned course

In August, Parks and Recreation Director Don Kearney told city council members that a new municipal golf course needed to appear on the city’s “radar screen.” Kearney noted the difficulty of finding free time to play on municipal golf courses.

Kearney also said golf courses such as Kuehn Park and Prairie Green have helped spur residential development.

Arlt declined to say whether Landscape Unlimited would be willing to use another municipal golf course.

“We appreciate the question,” Arlt said. “It’s a growing community and golf is popular. I can say that.”

A new private golf club — Mapleton Golf Club — is scheduled to open in 2025 just north of Interstate 90 in northeast Sioux Falls.

There are two private golf clubs in Sioux Falls – Minnehaha Country Club and The Country Club of Sioux Falls. If you include Grand Falls Casino Golf Course in Larchwood, Iowa, as well as golf courses in Brandon and Hartford, there are 13 golf courses in a variety of styles in the Sioux Falls area.

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