The Center City Golf Course at Goat Hill lives on, at least for now, after a proposal to convert it into a soccer facility was rejected.
There's good news for the Goat.
The Goat, of course, is the nickname at southern California golfers have bestowed upon the Center City Golf Course at Goat Hill, a popular but money-losing municipal facility owned by the city of Oceanside, Calif. And for a while this week, it looked like the Goat might be put out to pasture.
The city was considering a proposal by Real Salt Lake, a Major League Soccer team owned by Oceanside resident Dell Roy Hansen, who wanted to convert much of the 76-acre golf facility into what he called a "soccer mecca." His plan called for the course to be reduced to nine holes, with the remainder of the land to host a soccer academy and a 5,000-seat stadium that he hoped would attract a minor league pro team and perhaps even a women's pro team.
Needless to say, the proposal was extremely unpopular among the area's golfers. And on Wednesday, they showed up en masse at a city council meeting to voice their opposition to the soccer proposal, according to a story in The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Most of the golfers in attendance supported an alternative plan by John Ashworth – the local clothing designer who founded the Ashworth golf apparel company. Ashworth has created a coalition called Goat Hill Partners and, according to the newspaper, had been working with the city for two years on a plan to restore the golf course, rebuild the clubhouse, create a botanical garden and start a community farm.
"Hopefully you'll decide to reconsider our plan," Ashworth told city officials; Ashworth had thought he was near a deal with the city until the soccer proposal came up. "I'm convinced if we build it, they will come."
Center City is a "golf course for everyone," according to its website. The course plays to about 4,400 yards, with a mix of par-3 and par-4 holes in addition to its signature par-5 15th hole. The course – only about a mile from the Pacific Ocean – has no water features, but is built on a plateau with several significant elevation changes. The facility also includes a driving range, practice green and chipping areas, and offers PGA instruction.
Adult green fees top out at $26 per person with cart on the weekends, and drop as low as $9 to walk nine holes on weekdays, according to its site.
Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood agreed to end negotiations with Real Salt Lake, the paper said, but warned the audience that there was still no telling what might happen in the future.