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San Francisco’s Gleneagles Golf Course Hopes To Stay Open Amid Drought, Higher Water Rates

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Dennis-O'Donnell_BIO-HEAD Dennis O'Donnell
Dennis O’Donnell is the Sports Director at KPIX 5. He has receiv...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The California drought has pushed Gleneagles Golf Course in San Francisco to the brink of closure, but its operator is hoping the city can help save it.

“Of all the nine-hole courses in the country, it ranks 17,” said Tom Hsieh, general partner of Gleneagles.

Opened 52 years ago, it’s wedged in between Visitacion Valley, a neighborhood rougher than the water-starved fairways.

“This has been a labor of love. I wanted Gleneagles to stay open for another generation of San Franciscans,” Hsieh said.

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Hsieh runs the club with a skeleton staff. He has given a 30-day notice to leave the course due to his mounting bills. He said when the PUC raised water rates by 50 percent, it makes the course a “non-performing business.”

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission told KPIX 5 the rate is increase is actually 40 percent and that it applies to all golf courses in the city.

Under the lease he signed with the city nine years ago, Hsieh said he does not receive financial assistance from the city, unlike other courses.

“I’m hoping for some shared responsibility on behalf of the city. I’m hoping that the city and its policymakers decide that this is an important place to keep open,” Hsieh said.

Phil Ginsberg, GM of San Francisco Rec and Park told KPIX 5, “There is infrastructure out there that’s old and challenged. And he has asked for some support in managing some of that infrastructure and I think that’s a reasonable request.”

“It’s ultimately going to be his choice as to whether he wants to stick around. And if he doesn’t, maybe somebody else will step up,” Ginsberg said.

Ginsberg said he is encouraged by the negotiations. But the future of Gleneagles isn’t exactly straight down the middle.

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