Maui residents to mayor: Save our golf course - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Maui residents to mayor: Save our golf course

(image: Maui County) (image: Maui County)
WAIEHU, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Maui residents are rallying to save the island's only public golf course after the mayor announced plans to shut it down.

Waiehu Golf Course is the most affordable golf course in the county, but in his State of the County address last week, Mayor Alan Arakawa said he can't afford to keep it running.

The mayor's call to close it down sparked anger and frustration from some, but it also spurred a lot of suggestions on how to keep it operational.

In his State of the County, Arakawa said he recognizes that the course is popular, but the county could not longer sustain its $3 million annual loss.

Arakawa said to soften the blow for young and senior golfers, the county could subsidize fees at private courses for them.

Since his speech, calls have flooded the Maui County Council on the issue.

"I think we really need to do a study to see what are the true issues of operations? And what are some of the solutions? Could we raise the fee a few dollars? Or is it looking at the current management and expenses and lowering expenses,” Maui County Councilman Alika Atay said.

The breathtaking beachfront Waiehu Golf Course has 18 holes, a restaurant, starter's booth, and pro shop.

Residents pay just $13 on weekdays, seniors pay $8, and students only pay $2.

Pro Shop Owner Arthur Rego said customers, many who signed a petition to keep the course open, would be willing to pay more to play.

"Most of them are very upset. They come up with, why only the golf course? We support all the swimming pools, we spend millions of dollars there. The golfers pay a fee. Maybe they have to raise it up a few dollars more, whatever it is," Rego said.

The Mayor's Office said it has also been bombarded with calls and suggestions.

Some suggest bringing in TopGolf, which has proven popular on the mainland. Other ideas include night golf, Frisbee golf, or a community-run golf course.

Arakawa says he's open to ideas that can keep Waiehu Municipal Golf Course open. He's encouraging people to send their ideas to his office.

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