A busy Illinois muni expected to close, although nearby course likely to be saved
Sinnissippi Golf Course in Rockford, Illinois, is likely off the cutting block, but nearby Elliot Golf Course faces closure in 2021. A (...)
Sinnissippi Golf Course in Rockford, Illinois, is likely off the cutting block, but nearby Elliot Golf Course faces closure in 2021.
A Rockford Register Star report said Rockford Park District has discussed closing one of the five courses it operates since 2018 as part of a five-year master plan prioritizing neighborhood parks and youth programs. District commissioners are slated to consider the plan this month.
Volunteer group Save Sinnissippi has lobbied to save that 108-year-old course. The 9-holer is 3,330 yards with a par of 37 near the Rock River. It was designed by Tom Bendelow, who has been described as the “Johnny Appleseed of American Golf” and who also laid out Medinah’s No. 3 course in addition to hundreds of others.
Elliot Golf Course is a 1968 Larry Packard layout that is 6,737 yards with a par of 72. The Rockford Park District recommendation to close Elliot is partly because it’s near another course the district operates, the 18-hole Aldeen Golf Course.
“When we close Elliot, it’s not going to save us a whole lot of money on the operational budget, but it will save us money next year and every year following on capital money,” park district executive director Jay Sandine told rrstar.com.
The rrstar.com report mentioned that Elliot is close to the proposed site of a new Hard Rock Casino, and the park district said it would consider leasing or selling the land.
“We would be open to anything as long as it benefits the community and the park district,” he said. “This has nothing to do with Hard Rock as far as why we’re doing it, but I will say hopefully having Hard Rock will make that land more valuable, and then maybe it will open up opportunities for somebody else to approach the district.”
Sinnissippi, meanwhile, has seen an uptick in rounds played this year as the coronavirus pandemic has more people searching for a relatively safe outdoor experience. This year Sinnissippi – where peak pricing is $10 for a nine-hole round and $15 for 18 holes – had 12,862 rounds played through August, up 37 percent versus the same period of 2019. Total rounds at the district’s five courses are up 19 percent through August.
That is in keeping with a nationwide spike in rounds played. The National Golf Foundation reported that rounds played in August in the U.S. were up 20.6 percent year-over-year, which equates to nearly 10 million more rounds just in August.