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Duluth golf community frustrations following closure of Lester Park Golf Course

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DULUTH, MN. -- While Enger Golf course will be open for golfers this season, Mayor Emily Larson announced this week that Duluth's other public golf course, Lester Park, will not.

"I'm trying to figure out where I'm suppose to go golf", said Pat Byrne, a Lester Park Golf Member.

Frustration and confusion is what many had to say Thursday afternoon as a handful of golfers met at Lester Park Golf Course to show support for the course.

"It was quite upsetting to get through the whole winter and look forward to getting out on the golf course. Obviously COVID-19 is putting a crimp in everything these days. It's just frustrating to have that taken away when we thought we had that to look forward too", said Peter Duvall, a Lester Park Golf Member.

The course was built during the Depression as a way to stimulate the economy. In that time, it has created a sense of tradition for many golfers including Byrne who was hoping to start golfing there with his daughter.

"It's tough not having a good answer for her. We will find a place to go but it just seems like it would be a lot easier if it was a place that I know, that you know all the people and you know the course", added Byrne.

While Friends of Duluth Public Golf say Lester has been operating at a profit, the City of Duluth says that's because all operating expenses for both golf course are assigned to Enger, and collectively, they both took a $150,000 dollar hit in 2019.

"If we can't make anything work this year, we would like a guarantee that Lester will be open next year and for the years following that", said Dan Baumgartner, President of Friends of Duluth Public Golf.

The City's Parks and Recreation department announced they will issue refunds to golfers, as long as refund requests are submitted by Friday, May 8.

If you use your season pass at Enger before May 8th, you forfeit the chance to get a refund. The refund policy and contact information can be found at duluthgolf.com.

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Ryan Compeau

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