MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- The struggle to will a stubborn, dimpled ball into a shallow hole in as few strokes as possible has driven many a golfer to fits. But a larger problem threatens the very existence of golf courses.
Declining participation in the sport has contributed to the closure of 800 courses nationwide in the past decade, according to Business Insider.
And following a five-year study, the city of Modesto determined Modesto Municipal Golf Course, open since the 1930s and needing repairs, is no longer sustainable after operating at a loss.
"The interest in golf has changed,” said Councilman Bill Zoslocki. “Demographics are changed. People are doing things differently."
City Council at its Tuesday night meeting voted to close the nine-hole course and prepare the property for sale. It is expected to save the city between $400,000 and $500,000 in operating costs per year.
"Don't take one of the gems of the west side away. It's sad," said Pamela Corbit.
Corbit was one of a few members of the public who spoke out on the subject at the meeting.
"And you're going to take a beautiful, green recreational area and just bulldoze it?" she said.
"This has more of an economic impact to the surrounding community, the homes," said Modesto resident Matt Harrington.
But there was little surprise about the decision.
"Maintaining three courses was just not practical with the budget they have," said resident Craig Julsgard.
Council members expressed heavy hearts upon voting to close the course and expressed a desire to make sure the land is used in a way that benefits the community.
"I think everybody in the audience here can see how difficult this is," said Modesto Mayor Ted Brandvold.
But the sun has not entirely set on the Modesto Municipal Golf Course. Council members said it will stay open until its operating contract expires in September.
What happens to the land off Tuolumne Boulevard remains to be seen. The council will be taking input and considering potential buyers.
Modesto still owns two 18-hole courses, which will stay open.
The First Tee program for young golfers will move from Modesto Municipal to Dryden Park Golf Course.