Waukesha County Parks and Land Use’s Wanaki Golf Course will cease operations once the 2019 season ends. In spite of efforts to increase revenue, the golf course has operated at a loss for years, depleting Waukesha County’s golf course reserve fund. In addition, Wanaki Golf Course requires over $645,000 in repair and replacement projects.
“While the decision to close Wanaki Golf Course is emotional, it’s the only way to continue to offer any golf programs for residents,” said Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow. “Our staff has worked for years to bring in more revenue to keep the course open, but we’ve run out of options.”
Waukesha County golf courses are funded by their own operations and do not use tax levy generated from county property tax collections. Since 2001, Wanaki Golf Course has experienced annual net cash flow losses between $41,000 and $243,000. Golf course reserve funds have steadily declined since 1997 due to net operating cash flow loss and necessary infrastructure investments. In recent years, Waukesha County has implemented many changes, enhancements, and new programs in line with an assessment and recommendations provided by the National Golf Foundation to increase efficiency in operations and revenue, but could not offset losses.
“Waukesha County is grateful to the golfers, coaches, and high school teams who have supported Wanaki Golf Course for decades,” said Director of Parks and Land Use Dale Shaver. “All agreements made for the 2019 season will be honored and we will do our best to accommodate displaced teams in 2020.”
Waukesha County’s two other golf courses, Naga-Waukee War Memorial Golf Course, and Moor Downs Golf Course, will remain open. Revenue generated from these courses will be reinvested into the golf course fund to improve the financial sustainability of golf course operations.
Waukesha County acquired the 150-acre Wanaki property in 1967 after receiving an Outdoor Recreation Aids Program (ORAP) grant. Wanaki Golf Course opened in 1970. For more information, go to www.waukeshacounty.gov/golf. An FAQ document can be accessed here.