Millions needed for improvements at Madison golf courses

Bricks falling off the side of the patio area at Glenway Golf Course in Madison. (Source: City of Madison)
Bricks falling off the side of the patio area at Glenway Golf Course in Madison. (Source: City of Madison)(NBC15)
Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 12:42 PM CST
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Madison’s four golf courses will need the city to invest up to $52.5 million dollars for improvements, according to an assessment of the courses.

The golf course having the most needs is Yahara Hills, located off Highway 12 on the city’s southeast side. The entire project to restore and improve the course ranges from $21 million to $32 million.

Read the full capital needs assessment


The assessment is being discussed at the Task Force on Municipal Golf in Madison Parks meeting Wednesday night.

The nine-member task force was created in June 2019. The task force was charged with the following duties from Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway:

  • Consider all options for the parkland currently in use for municipal golf
  • review research, best practices and operational models
  • Solicit information from stakeholders
  • Make recommendations

Rhodes-Conway created the task force to evaluate the courses after a $863,320 deficit was reported in 2018.The task force is scheduled to be dissolved by May 1, 2020.

According to

, between the four golf courses, over the past four years, an average of 100,000 18-hole rounds were hosted.

The courses have all been in operation since at least 1968.

Capital Improvements at the golf courses
Yahara Hills

There are five priorities for the southeast course, located at 6701 US 12. They include:

  1. Increasing stormwater capacity
  2. Increase drainage and replace storm culvert
  3. Pumphouse and irrigation system replacement
  4. Bunker renovation
  5. Adding a cart path

The assessment found Yahara Hills cannot handle water during large rain events and has low-lying areas that are frequently saturated, which causes significant course closures. It also has two 50-year-old pump stations needing to be rebuilt and the in-ground irrigation system needs to be rebuilt. They also want to install new and shorter tee boxes to longer holes and create an asphalt cart path system.

The entire project estimate is $21 million to $32 million.

Odana Hills

The west side golf course off Odana Road has nine priorities with the second-highest cost at $9.5 million to $14.2 million

The priorities include:

  1. Pond improvements
  2. New well and pumphouse, irrigation updates
  3. Improve drainage
  4. Clubhouse replacement and parking lot renovation
  5. Green renovation
  6. Install new tees and expand driving range tee
  7. Cart path installation
  8. Covered storage for bulk materials

The assessment found hole 15 floods after every rainfall and is lower than the existing retention pond, not allowing the area to drain. They hope to raise the entire hole and enlarge the existing retention ponds. They also want to create new basins to manage storm water.

The current clubhouse is not ADA-accessible and runs on the original boiler from 1956. To replace the clubhouse and renovate the parking area would be more than $4 million.


The golf course off Monona Drive has six priorities:

  1. New well and pumphouse, upgrade irrigation system
  2. Bunker renovation
  3. New driving range tee box
  4. Clubhouse replacement, parking lot renovation
  5. Fairway restoration
  6. Reseed tee boxes and fairways.

The total project cost is $2.5 million to $3.8 million. The assessment found the fairways to have a washboard-like terrain causing playability issues and has turf that is higher than other courses. They plan to redo the fairways and tees by using a new turf blend and re-grade the fairways.

The assessment also found the HVAC system does not work on half of the clubhouse.


The golf course on the near-west side off Speedway Road, has the least amount of priorities and project costs.

The priorities include:

  1. Replacing the patio
  2. Renovate existing tees
  3. Well and pumphouse installation
  4. Replace the clubhouse and renovate the parking lot

The assessment found the patio at Glenway is paved with bricks and is currently sinking and falling apart. Failing to fix it could damage the ninth hole’s playing surface. The tee boxes need repairs and a new well is needed to reduce water costs.

The clubhouse has rotting and water damage throughout and needs to be replaced, according to the assessment. The project is estimated at $1.7 million to $2.5 million

Wednesday meeting information

The Municipal Golf Task force will be meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Goodman Maintenance Facility, located at 1402 Wingra Creek Parkway.

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