ROCKFORD (WREX) — On Tuesday night, a special meeting took place at the Webbs Norman Center about the potential closure of Sinnissippi Golf Course. Residents expressed their concerns, but officials pointed to the numbers.
For some though, Sinnissippi is more than just a golf course, it’s a place filled with memories.
“It was my dinner bell at that turn on the first hole, which is now the seventh,” one resident explained. “I played there the other day and when somebody rang it, I got hungry.”
Given the 107 years of history, officials from the Rockford Park District recognized this is not a decision they are taking lightly.
“We’re not in an easy situation,” Rockford Park District’s Executive Director Jay Sandine said. “These are our thoughts on why Sinnissippi is starting to get some talk.”
According to number released by the Rockford Park District, in 2018, Sinnissippi Golf Course had more 18,000 rounds of golf played there. Through this year, the number fell to 12,000. Between 2017-2018, the course lost $98,176. Though high, the $98,000+ lose is still less than what the course is projected to lose this year. Right now, predictions show the course ending the year more than $119,000 in the red.
Officials acknowledge this year saw a lot of rain and more bad weather than years in the past, but they say there are other reasons rounds of golf are down.
“We don’t want to close Sinnissippi Golf Course,” Sandine said. “But we have to reduce our footprint.”
That footprint is where the debate begins because the Rockford Park District manages a total of five golf course, each of which is projected to lose tens of thousands of dollars this year.
Yet, even after the numbers were presented, residents expressed their confusion. One resident pointed out Aldeen Golf Club is on pace to lose almost a quarter-of-a-million dollars this year.
“I still don’t understand why Sinnissippi was chosen,” the resident asked.
Another resident called into question a previous park district announcement.
“Point blank it was asked if Sinnissippi was the be closed and the answer was no,” the resident said. “If a course was to be closed, it was Elliot, not Sinnissippi.”
And predictably, another resident brought the casino into the mix.
The reason to keep Elliot and close Sinnissippi has a lot do with, on the surface, with the casino,” the resident said. “Folks, Elliot is not a destination golf course.
But Sandine says Elliot is the park district’s second best performing golf course and the home of a youth program While closing Sinnissippi isn’t a done deal yet, the Rockford Park District Board is set to make a final decision on November 19.