USF is bidding farewell to an aging landmark, a recreational fixture widely lauded and occasionally lampooned, but synonymous with the school for more than a half-century.
The Claw is closing up shop to the public.
In an email to alumni Thursday, USF president Rhea Law, athletic director Michael Kelly and facilities/public safety operations vice president Carole Post announced the school’s public golf course — which opened in 1967 — will cease public operations on Sept. 5.
The 18-hole, par-71 course on the campus’ northern edge — lined liberally with oak, cypress and pine trees — no longer serves as the home course for the Bulls golf teams, and has hemorrhaged money recently.
“In recent years, the course has lost nearly $200,000 annually, as operating costs have far exceeded revenues,” the email indicated. “The course operations have required USF to inject cash each year to keep it open, and those financial resources could be used elsewhere to better support our students.”
The email said the school will explore other uses for the 120-acre site “that more closely align with the mission of the university.” Among those potential uses could be parking for the nearby on-campus football stadium, projected to open in 2026.
Twelve years ago, USF secured a $1.3 million donation for The Claw, allowing it to construct an indoor complex (practice facilities, locker rooms, study areas) for the Bulls golf teams. While USF’s players will continue to use the complex, they haven’t used the course for competitions or full practices in years.
The public may continue to play the course until Sept. 5. Season members who have already made payments extending beyond the closing date will be refunded a prorated amount. Those affected can contact John Sparrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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