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Modesto Weighs Options for City-Owned Golf Courses

MODESTO -- The future of golf in Modesto is up for discussion this week with the city asking for the public's input on what to do with its three public courses.

For golfer Salem Esho, golf is thriving in Modesto. For him, there's only one way to kill the momentum.

"The only way I see it is the golf courses shutting down, otherwise, there is a lot of people. Anytime and anywhere I go, it’s packed," Esho said. "I was just on the driving range on McHenry, it was packed."

Esho and dozens of other golfers took swings at the Dryden Park golf course on Wednesday. Dryden is one of three public courses with an uncertain future.

"We don’t see anything on the back end as far as how much money is going out for the maintaining of the golf courses and we’re not the ones pitching that money in. I’m sure it’s expensive to keep these courses in playing condition," Esho said.

The city says nearly $800,000 from its general fund goes toward maintaining Dryden, Creekside and Modesto Municipal courses. City officials plan to hold two meetings this week to allow the public to chip in ideas on what could be done to save the city money.

"I love the game and it’s local, and if they close one, there is a possibility they can close another because now the domino starts," golfer Jim Enos said.

The city says their golf advisory committee has discussed a lease agreement or partnership with an outside agency to run the courses, as well as raising green fees. For Enos, keeping all three open will allow for more accessibility to the sport, especially for kids learning the game.

"We have a First Tee program and club we do every year, so we bring out the kids and we mentor them with one of the adults and so the kids need a place to play, too and if you close courses down, it’s no good for anybody," he said.

One meeting was held Thursday evening. The next is Friday afternoon.