On Sunday, Oct. 30, the Decatur Park District closed one of the three remaining public golf courses, Scovill. The park district claims financial responsibility, saying they can’t afford to keep the course open. At the same time, several groups in Decatur are touting the viability of the area, saying things like “limitless,” “beautify” and “thrive.” So which is it?
Scovill is a great golf course offering something that neither of the other remaining Decatur courses have: terrain. Hickory Point and Red Tail are good courses, but they are flat. They can’t fight Central Illinois geography. Scovill offered challenges by changing elevation, not lengthening the fairways.
Closing Scovill does a couple of things. First, it will reduce the number of people coming to Decatur. I don’t have a verifiable number, but I’m sure Scovill attracted a number of people because of its unique challenges. With Scovill gone, that uniqueness is gone.
Second, the remaining two golf courses will have to take on the leagues and other golfers that played Scovill. That will affect the golfers still here. Think play is slow now? Just wait.
Finally, closing a full 18-hole golf course doesn’t imply being limitless, beautifying the area or representing a thriving community. It implies being limited, dulling nature’s resources and accepting decline.
In other words, hypocrisy.
Barry Schwalbe, Decatur