While golfers lament the recent loss of nine holes at Dairy Creek Golf Course, families can look forward to new activities, like go-karting and miniature golf, at El Chorro Regional Park.
SLO County officials are in the process of obtaining permits and bids for a new electric go-kart racing track and 18-hole miniature golf course at the park off of Highway 1.
- File Photo By Peter Johnson
- NEW ACTIVITIES Go-kart racing and miniature golf will be the first to come in a series of new offerings at El Chorro Regional Park spurred by the downsizing of Dairy Creek Golf Course (pictured).
SLO County Parks and Recreation Director Nick Franco told New Times that he expects the facilities to open this summer.
"Miniature golf will be a designed course of 18 holes with cows, windmills—the Dairy Creek theme," Franco said.
Both projects are key pieces to the county's reinvention of El Chorro Park, which was spurred by a water crisis at the Dairy Creek Golf Course. Dairy Creek, which draws water from the neighboring California Men's Colony, saw a dramatic reduction in its allocation due to a declining prison population. That shortage forced the county to close nine holes of the course in May 2018.
Years of decline in the course's condition led to a reduction in play as well as major financial issues for the county. The county golf fund currently draws about $485,000 annually from the general fund to stay afloat.
"We were faced with a financial issue," Franco said. "Our challenge was what services are not provided in this area, that are still parks and recreation, that can generate revenue? Two of the low-hanging fruit were go-karts and miniature golf."
The go-kart track and miniature golf course will be located in an area just south of the golf clubhouse. Other new activities planned for the park include a Toptracer Range (a simulated driving range), batting cages, a mountain bike course, a disc golf course, and cabin camping sites.
Franco said the hope is that the park will be more inclusive to the community and financially sustainable. He noted that Dairy Creek playership has recovered since they downsized the course.
"Since we've gone to nine holes and have been able to keep it green, our rounds have reached the same levels we had a few years before," he said. "The ultimate goal is to need no assistance [from the general fund]." Δ