Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I don't know how many times I've heard someone affiliated with golf here at Farmington Woods ask ominously "have you ever seen an abandoned golf course?" in an effort to stifle all discussion that involves possible alternative uses of the course. After all, who would want to live adjacent to a lot filled, not with the beauty of golf carts and golfers dressed to the nines, but nature left undisturbed, growing wildly. Can you imagine the horror?

Well, now you can stop imagining and take a look for yourself. Opened in 1932 and designed by Jack Ross, a professional golfer from Scotland, Canton Public Golf Course was a popular attraction until 2003 when the owners sold the land where the Shoppes at Farmington Valley now stand. Next time you're at Kohl's drive to the back of the parking lot and take a look. You'll be surprised what you see.

According to golfcourseranking.com:
http://www.golfcourseranking.com/courses/2063/connecticut/canton/06019/canton_public_golf_course_-_closed_2003.html "it was a VERY nice, well kept, 9 hole, full length golf course. It was not a short or especially easy course, but was a good challenge, especially it's sixth "hill". The greens were among the best conditioned and several were very undulated, ala Augusta!"

And then one day in 2003, the Lowell family, owners for 70 years, got an offer from a developer that they couldn't refuse: $4.7M for the land upon which the Shoppes at Farmington Valley now sit. The mall covers much of what was once the course, but the area to the south is a concrete example of just what an "eyesore" an abandoned course can be.

Of course, the greenies of Farmington Woods would want to keep it as a well groomed park, but that costs money. And we all know there's no available money in the budget for anything unrelated to golf. For golf, there is always "magic" to be worked and voila: available money.

So, if you can't make the ride up to Kohl's this week, here's a couple of pictures I took with my cell phone a month ago. Keep in mind some of this land has been left "abandoned"  since 2003:

And if that isn't enough of an "eyesore" for you, check this out:

Of course, all of this pales in comparison to the well groomed common areas just outside the perimeter of Farmington Woods Golf  Course:

Or the landscaped beauty of our common garden areas:

This blog was started to defeat the "twenty year debt sentence" that the board wanted to hang on us in order to keep the golf operation going indefinitely. We defeated the bonds, but do we really have what it takes to wrest control of the future of Farmington Woods from the golf clique?

Seems to me that the abandoned Canton Public Golf Course is looking better these days than some areas of our community. Unfortunately, many residents appear satisfied with the status quo, so it's business as usual at Farmington Woods: the Finance committee recently recommended (after its Chairman, a golfer, broke a 3-3 tie in the voting) a $45.5K expenditure for a partial repair of the irrigation system and they have no idea where the money will come from.

I think I can answer their query: It comes from us, all of us. And we all pay, one way or another, to keep the "money pit" that is golf at Farmington Woods, alive and well fed, with our hard earned dollars. We'd rather do that than to expose ourselves to the criticism of our neighbors. I can tell you from experience, it's not that bad. The people who shun me now, weren't friends in the first place. Life's too short to worry about them anyway.

Public Enemy wrote in the 90's "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." I guess it's up to each of us to decide what's worth standing for and what isn't. Since I couldn't cure cancer or mandate world peace, I took on this mission. And I can honestly say, with a thanks to all who helped, Mission Accomplished! 

Comments? You're welcome to email me at 2chewman@gmail.com.

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