Jacksonville Mayor restarts the golf oversight committee

By Benjamin Cox on February 27, 2018 at 11:19am

The sun is starting to peak its head out of the clouds and many are anticipating the start of spring. Some may also start thinking it’s time to start planning for your next trip to the golf course. The Links at Jacksonville and the Nichols Park golf course are preparing for the 2018 season and Mayor Andy Ezard has organized the golf oversight committee.

Mayor Ezard says the committee was formed many year ago by former Jacksonville Mayor Ronald Tendick. Ezard explains what the golf oversight committee is all about.

“We hear a lot about using our tax money being spent wisely and we knew the golf course has been losing money yearly and we thought it was time to put the committee back together to insert ideas to bridge the gap. We thought it was appropriate to involve pro Keith Ward and chairman Marcy Patterson, with parks and ways committee and myself came up with some individuals who are golfers and who are business people and basically it is just a committee of how we can make this golf course successful. It’s an amenity the city really needs to keep a hold of and we see a lot of potential where it could maybe not make money early but to get it closer to break even.” explained Mayor Ezard.

Ezard says there’s also a similar committee for the Nichols Park swimming pool. The oversight committee met for the first time yesterday and Mayor Ezard says overall the meeting went well. He expects to find ways to try and sustain the golf course because recreational activities are important for the city of Jacksonville.

“If we feel strongly that any good ideas we could implement or if we take other ideas from other golf courses, that’s fine too. Golf has fallen off as far as a saturation, there are many courses built over the years. This is not anything to Jacksonville on losing money out there. I believe many many courses out there across the nation are losing money. We also feel strongly that it’s very important to provide recreational opportunities. We felt collectively as a committee, that we will put our best foot forward and try to help things out.” said Ezard.

Both the Links and Nichols Park are used a lot by Jacksonville High School, MacMurray College and Illinois College. During yesterday’s meeting, the committee decided to try and get many different ideas from the community. They will meet again on April 12th Mayor Ezard says there maybe some minor changes this season.

“One for instance was the bathroom facilities at the Links is not adequate.What came out of there is a handicap pot a potty to help some of the concerns of the facilities being downstairs to use the bathroom. There are little things you may see that we tweak real quick, but big picture wise there are decision down the road. But I think there will be some discussion on Nichols Park’s nine hole course and how we could upgrade the Links, hopefully things will evolve and have a lot of impact on the future of the course.” said Ezard.

Mayor Ezard says he welcome’s any ideas for the Jacksonville golf courses. If you would like to give him a call, he maybe reached at 217-479-4610 or you may share your thoughts to pro Keith Ward 217-479-4663.