Today, we open a new chapter for Barksdale Air Force Base as we transition the Bomber Bayou Golf Course into a vibrant, multi-purpose Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) facility. This decision reflects our commitment to evolving with the needs of our base community and enhancing the quality of life for our Airmen and their families.
While we recognize and honor the history of the golf course as a long-standing recreational facility, the changing trends in recreational preferences and the financial challenges of maintaining the golf course have led us to this decision. Our goal is to repurpose the space into a more inclusive and diverse area, offering a variety of recreational options that cater to all members of our community.
The new facility will not only maintain some of the existing golf amenities, such as the driving range, but also introduce exciting features like disc golf, walking and biking trails, and potentially a Top Tracer program. These additions aim to create a dynamic environment that encourages health, wellness, and community engagement.
We understand this change represents a significant shift. However, we are dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition and are excited about the potential this repurposing holds. We invite our base community, including our golf course members, to join us in this new journey and take advantage of the diverse recreational opportunities that will soon be available.
Together, we look forward to creating a space that not only honors our base’s heritage but also paves the way for a sustainable, inclusive, and engaging future.
THIS DECISION: Influenced by financial challenges and evolving recreational preferences, aims to transform the golf course into a more inclusive and diverse recreational area. The closure is planned for 1 February 2024, with an objective to enhance the base’s MWR offerings.
PURPOSE: To better align Barksdale AFB’s MWR facilities with the contemporary needs and preferences of its community, ensuring long-term sustainability and enhanced quality of life.
COMMAND GOAL: To develop an MWR facility that is both dynamic and relevant, meeting the evolving needs of the base community while maintaining financial viability and operational efficiency.
- Consistent financial losses over a seven year period indicates the economic unsustainability of the golf course.
- Analysis shows that the annual number of rounds played has consistently performed below the number required to break even.
- The need for upgrading equipment and facilities to meet current standards, as existing golf course maintenance equipment is outdated.
- The environmental impact of maintaining a golf course versus a family park.
- Comparatively lower costs of transforming the course into a family park and trail area versus maintaining it as a golf course.
- Potential economic benefits from new facilities like the Top Tracer program and increased usage of the repurposed area.
- Decreasing golf membership and participation, indicating changing recreational preferences in the community.
- The need for more inclusive and varied recreational options to cater to a broader demographic, including families and younger Airmen.
- Potential social benefits of a family park and trail area in enhancing community engagement and well-being.
- The opportunity to introduce modern amenities such as a Top Tracer program and disc golf.
- Creating economies of scale by combining multiple FSS storefronts into a convenient, single location in a community-centric transformation.
- Potential benefits of a family park in terms of ecological sustainability and reduced resource consumption (e.g., water usage, chemicals and pesticides for golf course maintenance).
Questions and Answers on Golf Course Repurposing
Why are you deciding to close the golf course?
The closure is necessary due to declining membership, increasing maintenance costs, and ample local golfing opportunities.
What were the identified reasons the golf course was not doing well?
Financial sustainability challenges, underperformance in membership, and competition with local golf courses.
Can you pinpoint why membership was so low?
Changing recreational preferences and competition with local golf courses.
Is there other money available to keep the golf course?
There are no viable non-appropriated funds or headquarters money to sustain the golf course.
Is it true that younger Airmen – and Americans in general – are not playing as much golf as years past?
Yes, there’s a noticeable decline in golf participation among younger Airmen and the general population.
Are you not throwing away a large investment by closing the golf course?
While we acknowledge the investment, the current financial and participation trends make it unsustainable.
Are you concerned about the impact closing the course would have on employees?
We are aware of the impact and are exploring ways to reallocate employees.
With the golf course closing, what options would members have?
Members can utilize local community courses and the operational driving range on base.
What if you change your mind a couple years down the road?
The decision is based on current trends and data, but we remain adaptable to future changes.
What are some of the programs you would look to recapitalize with money saved from the golf course?
Investment in diverse MWR programs like youth programs, outdoor recreation, and skills development.