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Position Statement


The privately-owned member facilities of the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) have consistently demonstrated their concern for public access to the game of golf.  Our members’ investment of time, effort and financial resources is proof of their commitment to provide access to quality facilities for golfers in every area of the United States, Canada and throughout the world.

The NGCOA Board of Directors, having carefully considered the trends within the golf industry, conclude that government subsidies, tax abatements, water use agreements and other types of preferential treatment result in unfair competition between government-operated golf facilities and privately funded and operated golf enterprises.  The NGCOA Board of Directors believes that all golf courses should play on a level playing field and object to governmental entities offering such advantages.  The existence of these unfair advantages disrupts the private enterprise system. 

It is our preference that no federal, state, municipal or other public authority should be involved in direct competition with private enterprise in the development or operation of golf facilities.  The Board believes such entities that presently exist should be converted to private enterprise, if private enterprise is willing to absorb the business.  The only exception to the existence of government golf competition would be in markets where municipal golf courses can demonstrate no negative impact on the privately-owned, free-enterprise component of the golf market.

With regards to the development of new municipal golf courses, the Board believes a municipality must first provide evidence of high demand for a new golf course in that community.  If that demand is proven, private enterprise should be given the first right to apply for development and ownership rights for the needed golf facility.  Only when private enterprise is unwilling to develop a golf course should a municipality consider getting into the business of owning and operating the golf course.  All tax payers of the municipality must be notified of the development need and that no private enterprise was willing to build and operate the golf course. 

Up until the mid-twentieth century, municipal golf played an important role in the growth of the game through providing affordable access to playing fields.  At that time, the primary alternative to government-supported golf was the private equity golf club, which was not accessible to the mainstream.  With the advent and development of privately-owned, daily fee golf in the second half of the twentieth century came all levels of affordable access to the game and preservation of open green space.  Due to the involvement of private enterprise in golf course development and operations, private enterprise adequately supplies access to the game of golf throughout the United States and beyond.

© 2000, National Golf Course Owners Association