Birmingham's seven loss-making municipal golf courses will be leased to a private company from July next year under proposals set to be approved by council chiefs.
City leisure chiefs have been overwhelmed by the level of interest from golf firms, sports clubs and management companies in running the courses on behalf of the council.
And they have now decided that a single bidder should take on all seven courses, that they will be set targets to increase participation in the sport and they must provide catering and clubhouse facilities.
Companies can include driving ranges, pitch and putt or even adventure golf facilities.
The golf courses at Boldmere, Pype Hayes, Harborne, Cocks Moors Woods, Hatchford Brook, Lickey Hills and Hilltop faced closure after falling almost £1 million behind budget.
There were also 100,000 less rounds of golf played last year than five years ago, a fall of about one third.
A report to the City Council’s cabinet suggests that closing all the courses would have damaged Birmingham’s reputation as a city of sport. It rules out offering individual courses for tender as the less popular ones might be left in council control and closed.
City leisure chief coun Martin Mullaney, said: “Over the last five years, the council’s golf service has been losing more and more money. There has been a lot of speculation in recent months about the council’s commitment to golf.
“The new provider will in effect be contracted by the council to manage a value for money golf service, and to increase access to the sport. I have been very impressed by the passion of local golfers who want to revive our courses, and this gives me confidence that we can have a renaissance of golf in Birmingham.”
The contractor will be required to attract a wider range of people, to golf including women, teenagers and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
A short list of companies will be drawn up by July and the final contractor chosen in April 2011 ready to take over in the summer.