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CHAMBERS BAY: It’s about more than golf

Letter by John Ladenburg, Tacoma on Feb. 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm with 5 Comments »
February 23, 2012 9:25 am

Re: “Chambers still in the hole” (TNT, 2-18).

Chambers Bay golf course was not designed to be just another course but a tournament and tourist economic development attraction. Yet, every year The News Tribune does a budget-revenue analysis without any consideration of the course’s real goals.

Ironically, you publish a photograph of a golfer from Chicago on the course. Someone might have asked that golfer what hotel he stayed in, where he ate his meals, if he rented a car.

A real analysis of the success of Chambers Bay would be to find out how much sales tax, car rental tax and hotel tax was paid by the thousands of out-of-town visitors the course attracts every year. Our hotel, restaurants and businesses profit from the extra tourism. University Place alone makes tens of thousands of dollars a year on admissions tax, but that was ignored.

In 2015, the U.S. Open golf tournament comes to Chambers Bay. Conservative estimates of its economic impact are in the range of $140 million. By the way, that impact alone is seven times what the course cost. By any honest economic analysis, the course is a huge success.

(Ladenburg, a former Pierce County executive, was a prime mover behind the Chambers Bay golf course.)

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. surething says:

    Hey John, what is your favorite sport? Oh yeah, it’s golf.

  2. out how much sales tax, car rental tax and hotel tax was paid by the thousands of out-of-town visitors the course attracts every year. Our hotel, restaurants and businesses profit from the extra tourism. University Place alone makes tens of thousands of dollars a year on admissions tax, but that was ignored.
    here are your questions John
    if thousands came why did the golf course still lose 850,000
    with all the tax money city of up received why are they still barely making ends meet?
    when did they pay back the money taken from our sewer funds? thats right they didn’t and our sewer rates went up yet again.
    it is a golf course for tournaments..
    also when is the average Joe (since they pay for it) going to be able to afford to golf there.

  3. JLadenburg says:

    Surething, my favorite sport is baseball has been for 50 years.

    Ohmymy: If you read my letter you will see that if you added up all the taxes, fees, hotel rooms and the like that are being paid for by tourists, there is no $850,000 loss. The whole point is that no one ever calculates the real value as it was designed. If you use your logic every park, ballfield, soccer field, tennis court, trail system in the County should be closed, they all lose money. Finally, two other things you should know, this month Chambers Bay was voted by Links Magazine as the Number One muncipal golf course in the US. Ahead of Torry Pines, ahead of Bethpage Black, ahead of thousands. It also was voted the second best Eco-friendly course in the US. As for cost, it is the least expensive course compared to its competition. You want McDonalds prices when you go El Gaucho?

  4. DudleyDewright says:

    Just admit it John, you built a golf course for the one percent, and there aren’t enough of you in Tacoma to keep it afloat!

  5. Yes I did read your letter. It is still losing money. Chambers Bay is still running at a loss. Cannot pay back the initial investment. Our sewer rates are still going up. Since it is operating at a loss, who is going to pay to get it ready for the US open? Has Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, or any other well known golfer come here just to golf? If so how many times, did they stay here in Tacoma, or UP? Or if they did, did they pay or was it promotional? You sound like a used car salesman, trying to sell the golf course. As for the comparing it to our parks not the same. Yes we pay for the parks with our tax dollars, difference is everyone can use them and enjoys using them. We can use the trails at Chambers Bay, but how many can afford to golf there? As for your statement regarding McDonalds or El Gaucho, was that a little snide? Oh and the other golf courses you named do they operate at such a loss?

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