2 tournaments leave Watertown Golf Club

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 5:32 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Two local golf tournaments are teeing off at a new location in 2023. The change of course comes as concerns continue to pile up from the clubhouse to the concessions at Watertown Golf Club.

“We will be open. There’s no question in my mind about that. Whether it’s as early as what we would have like to of, it may not be,” said Watertown City Council Member Cliff Olney.

Concerns continue to add up on the scorecard for the Watertown Golf Club.

7 News reported in January that zero tournaments had been confirmed to play there in 2023.

Both the Children’s Home of Jefferson County and Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush confirm each will move their golf tournaments away from the Watertown Golf Club to a different course.

Blankenbush says the course he chose is more central to his assembly district.

The uncertainty at WGC is a major reason for the children’s home.

“They want to have a place that’s got food, can do the catering, and also would have a beer truck or carts out there on the course. Right now the city doesn’t have any of those things,” said Olney.

“If somebody wants to have a golf tournament, we don’t even have any idea whether there’ll be beverage or food sales, and if there is, who will be doing it,” said Mayor Jeff Smith.

Smith says that the city has sent out a request for proposals from a third party to operate the clubhouse concessions. He says that no one has responded to the request.

“Whether it be a hot dog, hamburger, or a Pepsi - and as of right now, nobody can tell any tournament that could happen,” he said.

On Friday, 7 News obtained pictures of the clubhouse basement where the wiring has been called into question by Mayor Smith. One local electrician called the wiring a “real crappy job.”

Seller Mike Lundy says the city locked him out of the building and his crews can’t finish the job. The deadline is April 1. Just another example of uncertainty.

Olney believes that the concession concerns come from the divisiveness over the $3.4 million deal.

“There was a lawsuit, and of course that made people hesitant to go ahead and book a course not knowing what the future of that was going to end up being,” he said.

Council Member Lisa Ruggiero puts any loss of tournaments squarely on the mayor.

“The mayor continues to sabotage the city’s golf club purchase for political reasons when he should instead be a leader and get behind this asset and support it. He alone is responsible for any tournaments that cancel.”