We haven’t talked about golf in awhile, but let’s face it folks, it’s a problem that’s not going to go away on its own. We need to change the way the course is funded or at some point we’ll be a weed covered disaster surrounded by a perfectly manicured 18 hole golf course. You know, the very “abandoned golf course” scenario that golfers use to scare residents into paying for their chosen pastime.
I’d like to thank my latest contributor for keeping this enormously important issue alive with her article:
LET’S TALK GOLF
Let’s talk golf. (Any time II type golf I make the same typing error; I type “gold”. I guess our golf course is really a gold course open only to the few while the rest of us pay.)
At the July 29th Executive Board meeting the interim president of the Ladies 18 hole golf group spoke about the unfair cost that golfing residents pay as opposed to non-resident golfers to belong to the golf club. She believes, as many who live here do, that they should be allowed to golf at a lower price because they reside here.
I guess in theory they rationalize this because they are paying condo fees and district taxes in addition to their golfing membership and think it should cost less than the outside members who are paying the full freight of the complicated pricing structure. Perhaps she is correct in this thought and then again, perhaps not.
So let’s talk about what she said at the July 29th meeting. In her presentation she indicated that the golf course is losing upwards of a half million dollars each year and therefore, the residents would have to help pay for this deficit. And we do. According to her, only $200. plus is charged back to every unit per year in Farmington Woods, by her standards, a small amount. (Blogger's comment: It should be noted that her figure was for each of the last three years. At the August 6th golf “PowWow” a source stated that the figure this year is closer to $300. per unit.)
But let’s look at what every resident in Farmington Woods is getting for their $200.00 plus contribution: nothing, absolutely nothing, except the privilege of paying. Don’t go near the golf course or walk next to it, and should you enter it, you’ll surely be fined.
Now, Farmington Woods has always said the golf course is a dangerous place and residents should stay away but I recently read Ed Jarrett’s article In the Woods that a golfer got hit with a ball. Hum, wonder how that happened? I can tell you I live close to the course and balls always drop next to me when I’m outside. And then there is the matter of the Catalpa Court. If you walk on the side of the road the near the 16th tee, your chances of getting hit while not on the course are as great as if you were actually walking anywhere on it.
My point here is the rule “residents keep off the golf course or be fined” doesn’t even address the situation. Your chances of being hit by a golf ball are high if you live near the course or if you follow the rules and walk on the roads, especially Catalpa Court, you might just as well be on the course anyway. So if you’re a walker be prepared to be hit even when you’re not on the course.
Dick Oatman likes to say every resident owns the golf course therefore we all are responsible for paying for it. After all, when we moved here we saw the course. I don’t know about anyone else but the documents I got from the association when I bought my unit itemize the amenities and what I am responsible for paying and the golf course is not one of them. Dick also likes to say the golf course is common property as he did in his July article which also appeared In The Woods.
But let’s get back to each resident paying $200.00 plus a year per unit to the golf club and the common property idea. If we are all paying $200.00 plus a year and the property is common property then I am proposing a new golfing idea. It is about ACCESS for everyone who is currently paying for this common property.
1. Each resident will have access to the golf course during times of no play. Many times during the day the course is empty, no players at all, especially the back nine.
2. The residents will be respectful of the greens and use cart paths when walking on the course.
3. If the resident encounters a golfer, the resident will yield to the play and golfer alike.
4. Golfing rules will be amended to include residential activities on the course during times of no play.
5. Early dawn and dusk walks are permitted year round.
6. All pet rules apply.
Given the financial climate of the golf club the above changes are reasonable, fair and equitable for all who are paying for the golf course. After all, common property means everyone gets to use it according to our condo documents. I for one would be willing to pay and live with the above changes. In fact, I would advocate for more paved cart paths, better known as walking paths. Beats the road!
Just as a side bar on the golf situation: Let’s take a look at the Florida model (snowbirds, you know this all too well): each golfer belonging to a club pays an assessment each year the golf course does not break even or make a profit. It’s only fair that all golfing members shoulder some of the responsibility for the game they love. After all, the residents of Farmington Woods are supporting a game they don’t necessarily love for your love of the game.