Soon the city’s golf and tennis facilities will undergo changes as a proposed lease agreement is finalized and construction planning begins.The Federal City Council and the National Park Service reached an agreement last month in which the two parties signed a Letter of Intent to negotiate a lease which would allow for the upgrade of city’s three golf and tennis facilities. The National Park Service has spent several years exploring a variety of methods for managing its three D.C. public golf courses -- Langston Golf Course, East Potomac Golf Course, and Rock Creek Golf Course. Agreeing on the terms of a lease will facilitate reinvestment of the facilities and enhance the golf experience while also help preserve their history and maintain affordability and community access. The agreement by the two parties is a step in the right direction and good news for D.C. residents. Langston is rich in history while East Potomac is a scenic and pleasant place to spend an afternoon playing golf or tennis. Rock Creek Golf Course is also frequented by many and is the ideal place to go for beginners. All three courses are affordable and doing well in the business market, however, until now, Golf Course Specialists (the company currently operating the facilities) has not been permitted to make significant financial investments. Without a lease, making major changes and investments has been an impossibility for Golf Course Specialists, due to technical restraints in initiating capital investment strategies. They've mainly just run the three facilities' concessions, as initiating capital investment strategies is something that requires lease and land ownership rights, as well as funding and funding sources.
With this latest announcement, however, The Park Service and City Council reportedly are looking at a capital investment of $30-$40 million dollars which would include a driving range at Rock Creek. In 2014, then-councilwoman Muriel Bowser and D.C. congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton proposed a bill to make the deteriorated Langston Golf Course into a championship-level facility. Should Langston ever become a championship-level facility, D.C. would have yet another local area tourist attraction that would generate revenue within the local economy while helping to improve the city’s image and environment. Construction and planning required on such large-scale projects also would be beneficial to the city’s residents and economy, with the creation of jobs. One thing is for certain: major renovations, investments, and projects will happen. The question now is how soon plans will be outlined and initiated, how large-scale the projects and investments will be, and when the construction will be completed. Aspiring to make Langston into a championship-caliber course is a very lofty goal. If D.C.’s elected officials and the Park Service and Federal City Council can just fix up the three courses, that alone would bring great improvement and positive change to the D.C. golf community. All three facilities will operate as normal through December 31 under GCS, and many are expecting major renovations and changes to begin in early 2019.