LONDON, ONT. -- River Road Golf Course is one step closer to permanent closure after councillors voted 9-5 in favour of recommending it close at a meeting of the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee.

River Road is one of three sites under the City’s publicly owned golf system which includes five courses total (two at Thames Valley, two at Fanshawe, one at River Road). 

Located at the far southeast corner of the City the course has struggled over its three decade long history to stand on its own legs financially in a system where golf is supposed to pay for golf.

Over the past 10 years there have been continued suggestions to close the course however under the golf task force set up by the city is was given several reprieves after restructuring showed modest improvement in performance.

The course was temporarily closed in 2020 as a cost savings measure as the pandemic hit, however several area golfers questioned that move as golfers hit local courses in record numbers due to limited activities during the summer under COVID-19 restrictions. 

An analysis by audit firm KPMG that recommended closing River Road was based on data collected from 2014 to 2018. 

In 2018 just over 99,348 rounds were plated at the City’s three locations. In 2020 data shows that 111,427 rounds were played with only two locations open. 

Proponents for keeping the course open argue the demand is up and justifies keeping it operational.

Despite the potential for another strong year once again aided by COVID restrictions councillors at Tuesday’s meeting ultimately voted in favour of closing the course and attempting to sell the land. 

The recommendation goes to full council next week.