As tennis great John McEnroe shouted, “You can’t be serious!” There is not a worse way to welcome spring and compensate for being shut in for a month (and who knows how much longer) than to close Lester Park Golf Course for the season (“COVID-19 hits city finances,” April 21).

Seriously, Mayor Emily Larson?!

There are many sensible alternatives to mitigate some of the expense brought about by COVID-19: Reduce groundskeeping, eliminate carts, cut inventory, downsize menu items. It’s a no-brainer. Casper Golf is in the business of marketing: Let it create promotions that encourage more people to play. That’s its job!

Lester Park Golf Course is historic, beautiful, and accessible for every ability level. It’s a birder’s paradise. I’ve seen red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, bald eagles, pileated woodpeckers, eastern bluebirds, mallards, bank swallows, yellow-shafted flickers, and snow buntings there. I even saw a swallow-tailed kite once as I was standing on the tee box at the ninth hold.

Golfers get a whole lot more than just a score and a beer at Lester Park Golf Course. We get exercise, relaxation, good-natured competition, fellowship, the unique sounds of the shipping industry and wondrous locomotives, a peerless view of the Duluth harbor and the lift bridge, migrating raptors in autumn, and socially distant companionship of a kind that is unique to the sport of golf.

We also rest easy knowing that across town, Enger Park Golf Course is not being stretched beyond capacity, that its regulars have full access to their own home course without competing endlessly for tee times, golf carts, menu items, counter service, and comfortable seating.

Closing Lester for 2020 just doesn’t make sense. It’s a terrible idea, one that the Duluth golfing community should not have to face on top of everything else. Please reconsider this short-sighted and ill-conceived decision, Mayor.

Phil Fitzpatrick

Duluth