Simplified: Sioux Falls' city golf courses saw a 15 percent increase in rounds of golf played during the summer of 2020, and the uptick in demand comes as the city looks at future improvements to the Elmwood Clubhouse.

Why it matters

  • Golfers played nearly 13,000 more rounds in 2020 than in the year prior, according to a report from the city Parks and Recreation Department.
  • And the trend has continued into 2021, according to Justin Arlt, market general manager for Landscapes Golf Management – the company that oversees city courses.
  • The extra traffic on city courses in the last year and a half has shown even more plainly the need for updates to the 55-year-old Elmwood Clubhouse, Mayor Paul TenHaken said.
"Our golf courses are smoked," TenHaken said. "We don't see that changing anytime soon, so continuing to invest in our golf course facilities is a great (return on investment) because those make us money."

Tell me more about proposed Elmwood Clubhouse improvements.

There's no design or specific plan in place just yet, but what city officials do know is that the current facility isn't cutting it.

"It's getting to the point where it's essentially served its useful life," Parks Director Don Kearney said.

Kearney added the new clubhouse will be bigger to accommodate the tournaments and events the city would want to host there.

The bond would also fund replacement for the cart storage building which burned down in 2019.

What happens next?

In his five-year capital plan, TenHaken proposed $400,000 to design a replacement clubhouse.

Construction is expected to be funded through a quality of life bond (which, if approved, will also fund replacements for aging pools in town).

The bond likely won't be up for City Council consideration until 2023, officials said.

And as for the golfers?

"Sioux Falls has an unbelievable amount of golfers and people who are passionate about golf," Arlt said, adding, "If it's over 40 or 45 degrees, people want to play. They bundle up in their Carhartts and long johns, and they want to play."