Clint Bolick at the Goldwater Institute (Arizona’s free market think-tank) asks an excellent question in a new op-ed today—Why is Phoenix in the golf course business?
At a time when state and local budget shortfalls are mounting and public officials are facing inevitable and politically painful cuts in areas like education, safety and health care spending, how policymakers could possibly continue to justify governments being in the golf business (or any other type of commercial activity, for that matter) is beyond me. Since when is cheap golf a public good that should be subsidized by taxpayers at large? Since when is operating a golf course considered a core competency of government or an inherently governmental function? There’s no nuance needed here—government-run golf courses are unjustifiable under any stretch of the imagination and should be sold, spun off, or turned over to private operation, plain and simple.
For more on getting government out of the golf business, see my colleague Lisa Snell’s 1999 study here, as well as this and this.