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MacDonald Golf Course To Remain Part Of City System After Park Board Rejects Sole Bid

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Wichita’s MacDonald Golf Course will remain part of the municipal system after the Park Board on Monday rejected an offer to purchase it.

The only bid for the 146-acre course came from the Kansas City-based Great Life Golf, which owns Tallgrass Country Club in Wichita. The group was offering $850,000 for MacDonald.

Among the reasons for the rejection was the potential impact on First Tee, a youth golf program that’s planning on building its education center and driving range at MacDonald. Board member Eddie Fahnestock, who was on the selection subcommittee, said losing that partnership would be “catastrophic.”

The Request for Proposals the city sent out included a stipulation that any new owner would have to honor the agreement with First Tee, but the nonprofit said last month it was putting work on hold until the Park Board had made a decision about MacDonald.

“This just clears the air and eliminates all the confusion and rumors and such about what would happen to MacDonald Golf Course,” Tom West, president of First Tee of Greater Wichita, said Monday. “And to us, that’s just great news. We’re full speed ahead.”

Even though MacDonald is safe for now, the Park Board says changes are needed in how the golf system is managed. Board members are recommending the city council initiates an independent review of the system.

Bill Ramsey said Monday’s meeting solidified his opinion that “we don’t run golf courses very well, and somebody else could do it better, probably.

“The golf system needs a lot more support than what it has.”

L.W. Clapp Golf Course in south Wichita is still slated to close.

Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.