Don't close Meadowbrook

If golf courses have feelings, Meadowbrook must feel like someone drew bull's-eyes on its greens about four years ago.

That's how long two mayoral administrations have been targeting the 18-hole par-3 municipal course for extinction.

Mayor Jim Gray's budget proposal puts Meadowbrook in the crosshairs again by calling for closure of the course because it sustains annual losses of about $80,000.

Urban County Council members should reject Gray's proposal because one person's $80,000 loss represents the only opportunity scores of Fayette countians have to get some exercise while indulging their love of golf.

Meadowbrook's clientele wouldn't fit anywhere else on Fayette County's municipal golfing landscape. They are youngsters just learning the game; old-timers, getting in a few more rounds before age deprives them of even that pleasure; and ladies' leagues. which Meadowbrook suits like no other course could.

Many of these golfers would feel intimidated trying to play Lexington's full-length 18-hole munies — intimidated by the superior talent exhibited by many of the regulars at those courses, intimidated by the thought that their own pace of play and skill levels might lead to backups for the better golfers behind them and, perhaps most of all, intimidated by the distances.

For older golfers who walk, playing 18 holes at Meadowbrook amounts to little more than a two-hour stroll.

Put those same golfers on a regular course, and walking 18 holes turns into a four- to five-hour slog.

Many activities falling under the big umbrella of "parks and recreation," whether here in Fayette County or elsewhere in the country, don't break even, much less pay for themselves. They aren't expected to do so because they are considered amenities that elevate the quality of life in the community.

Municipal golf courses qualify as such amenities. And golfers, even those who play at courses operating at an annual loss of $80,000, at least cover the lion's share of the cost of operating those courses by paying greens fees.

For more than 40 years, Meadowbrook has enhanced the quality of life of its regular players by providing them a course where they can feel comfortable playing the game they love.

That's worth $80,000 — and a heck of a lot more.