WARM BEACH — The company that manages the Kayak Point Golf Course plans to close up shop next month.
Snohomish County parks officials are looking to interest another operator in taking over the public course.
“Like many golf courses in the Puget Sound area, Kayak Point has struggled to remain viable in an increasingly challenging business environment,” general manager Steve Stensland wrote in a message posted at the clubhouse.
Access Golf Management has run the course since 2005. In its termination letter to the county, the Redmond-based company cited the reduction of rounds, higher operating costs and lack of funding for future improvements.
The closing date is Oct. 21.
In the coming weeks, county parks, recreation and tourism officials plan to issue a request for proposals to run the property. They’re open to other uses and events on the 270-acre site. Possibilities include camping, disc golf or equestrian activities, miniature golf, weddings or adventure sports. It’s unclear when it could reopen, and in what form.
“Access Golf has been a wonderful partner with Snohomish County,” parks director Tom Teigen said in a prepared statement. “We certainly understand the financial realities of publicly owned golf courses and wish them the best of luck with the three other golf courses they own and operate.”
While the county hasn’t given up on golf, scores of public courses around the country, and some locally, have closed. That happened at Mountlake Terrace’s former course on Lake Ballinger, now a park. Everett leaders have talked for years about whether it makes sense to maintain the city’s two municipal courses.
The course at Kayak Point Regional Park is up the road from the main park amenities along Port Susan. It opened more than 40 years ago. The wild feel of its forested, hilly terrain sets it apart from other venues.
The number of rounds played there has fallen to about half the level from golf’s heyday in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As Access Golf struggled to keep its business there profitable, the county last year amended its contract on more favorable terms to the company.
By this summer, however, the general manager posted notice of the pending closure.
“Please be assured that we will continue to take care of each and every one of you our valued customers until the last day we are here and open for business,” the notice read.
The course was part of the land that the Atlantic Richfield Co., also known as ARCO, once planned to turn into an oil refinery. Snohomish County bought 691 acres from the petroleum giant in 1972. Part of the property was developed into the golf course, which opened in 1977. It’s been run by private vendors since 1982.