F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE – The golf course at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, will not reopen in the spring and will remain closed.
The decision was made to close the course following six years of financial losses, with the most recent year noting a loss of $77,000, according to Luke Survis, Flight Chief of Community Services. The total losses amounted to nearly $300,000, and those losses affect not just the course, but all of the facilities in the Morale, Welfare and Recreation fund.
“The golf course has been losing money for six years, and unfortunately, that affects all of the resources we have to provide services to Airmen,” said Survis. “The mission of Air Force Morale and Welfare programs is to offer diverse opportunities that Airmen want to participate in while ensuring financial sustainability.”
Adding to the problem was that military guidance instructs that MWR facilities are primarily for the use of Airmen; however, Airmen accounted for fewer than ten percent of total rounds played at the course.
“We’re expected to grow and improve facilities that are being used by those Airmen at a level that provides the best service possible,” said Survis. “But, fewer than ten percent of the golfers on the course were Airmen, so the course was not meeting that mission.”
Ultimately, the decision rested with Col. Peter Bonetti, 90th Missile Wing commander, who stressed that it was not something they wanted to do, but rather one that was in the best interest of Airmen and a financial necessity.
“Closing the course was not an easy decision to make,” said Col. Peter Bonetti, 90th Missile Wing commander. “There are a lot of emotional responses to this action, but if an activity is losing money as well as not serving our Airmen, we needed to look at other options, to include closing the course.”
A plan has been put in place to utilize the space more effectively with activities more likely to be frequented by Airmen, to include a paintball course, archery range, axe throwing range and a reinvigoration of the disc golf course.
“Some hard decisions had to be made and they weren’t made lightly,” said Survis. “However, we have a plan in place to reutilize the space in a way that best benefits Airmen and their families.”
Additionally, the driving range and the clubhouse will remain open, with the clubhouse now serving food year-round. The new facilities and the year-round clubhouse are expected to open April 4.