DETROIT —If you think golf courses have to be a government monopoly, you haven’t played any of the four courses in Detroit lately that are managed by American Golf Corporation. One well-known journalist who has says that "manicuring greens and fairways to the peak of their potential is far too critical a job to leave to government."

Doron Levin, a business columnist for the Detroit Free Press, recently explained the switch from public to private:

"In the bad old days, before 1991, city courses were deteriorating and losing money—nearly $600,000 in 1990. So then-Mayor Coleman Young turned four of the six over to American Golf, based in Santa Monica, California, which has invested $2 million in improvements and pays the city at least $250,000 a year."

American Golf manages other municipal courses in the Detroit area and while it is the largest firm in the field, Levin notes that "the company now has dozens of smaller competitors than have sprung up to serve the growing number of cities and counties that want to exit the golf industry."