For years, the two municipal golf courses in town have not only provided a chance to enjoy physical activity but served as social hubs bursting with opportunities for residents and visitors alike.
Quail Run and Van Berg golf courses have bred countless youth athletes while also providing outdoor recreation for local and visiting golfers of all sorts of skill levels and ages. They’re the two public courses available in town, complementing the private Elks Country Club on the north side of Columbus.
“We get a lot of compliments on them,” City Public Property Director Doug Moore said, of Quail Run and nine-hole Van Berg golf courses.
The historic flooding that occurred in the spring of 2019 ravaged the 18-hole Quail Run, resulting in more than 1 million yards of sand and tens of millions of gallons of water in the irrigation lake being removed. Dozens of trees and countless others that floated in were taken away. Additionally, hundreds of sprinkler heads were scrapped.
Beyond that, there were car-sized chunks of ice that remained on the course until May that year when the warmer weather finally left the course dry but still piled with trees, sand and more.
A little more than four years later, flood damage repair continues to take place. Voter-approved sales tax revenue has helped with that, including in fiscal year 2022, in which $750,000 was used to aid efforts. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is set to reimburse about 90% of that, according to Moore, though an additional grant the City applied for could potentially help cover 100% of the flood damage repairs. Sales tax revenue has enabled the City to repair the courses throughout the last several years while it was waiting on grant funding to come in, allowing golfers to get back into the swing of things in Columbus.
Sales tax revenue has also helped the courses in other ways. There was an area at Quail Run where golf carts zoomed right by the pro shop that was an issue.
“It was kind of dangerous. You could step out and potentially get run over by a golf cart,” Moore said. “It was a safety factor we had to address.”
The solution? A curved path was built around the pro shop and the old area was closed off by picnic tables to keep carts away from the pro shop doors.
Ten golf carts were purchased this fiscal year for the courses and both have sheds so that the carts can be stored properly and not damaged in the winter months.
Sales tax revenue also helped the City replace three irrigation pumps to enable the superintendent to water with precision and keep the courses looking sharp.
“The lake pumps were almost 30 years old and wearing out at the time. One no longer worked,” Moore said. “They needed to be replaced.”
Sales tax revenue helps with many City of Columbus efforts, but it has made a vast difference in helping with the courses that are heavily utilized.
“Those dollars go a long way,” Moore said. “And as far as golf, they have helped us make the courses nicer and with the recent flood damage. We appreciate it.”
NOTE TO READERS: “Your Tax Dollars At Work” is a new ongoing series exploring how sales tax revenue helps the City of Columbus fund a variety of services, programs and projects to benefit the community at large.