Monday, October 15, 2012


"Golf is an invention, not, as some would have it, a divine gift. While we may celebrate the pleasure it brings us, it's best to remember that we are singing of ourselves when we do so."- Desmond Muirfield, Noted Golf Course Architect and designer of Farmington Woods Golf Course

Desmond Muirfield

I’ve lived at Farmington Woods for more than thirteen years now. I don’t consider it a country club, as do Mapquest and Bing Maps. To their credit Google Maps calls us Farmington Woods Golf Course. But in reality we are neither. We should technically be called Farmington Woods Condominium on all maps and by all residents because that’s what we are.

Unfortunately, some here have the attitude that this is a country club and if you don’t play the game of golf you are merely a resident living here to enjoy the mythical country club lifestyle. I’ve played the game and I live here; it’s not a country club, period.

I didn’t grow up rich. My father owned a garage and made an honest living repairing cars and getting people back on the road. We didn’t belong to a country club, although I attended many parties at Shuttle Meadow Country Club while attending classes at Mrs. Linder's School of Dance & Etiquette, which took place in her mansion just down the street. It was my mother’s idea. And I really did  learn to dance.

That’s probably why after reading the following letter, printed in last month’s "In the Woods", I decided to submit my first ever  “letter to the editor”. As if it’s not enough living in a place where for some, golf is king and the rest of us are merely residents, having friends and loved ones who happen to walk the course on occasion characterized as having a “feeling of entitlement”, just sounded backwards to me.

I’m sorry, but if any group of folks here has a “feeling of entitlement” it is the small group of people who use a course that is not only being subsidized by non-golfing residents now, but has a long history of financial support from decades of residents, without whom the course would no longer exist. To try to cast those people as the infamous 47% is downright insulting.

Anyway, I have included the aforementioned letter, with the one I wrote in response, following it. If the Communications Committee allows it to appear unedited, or prints it at all, they will have demonstrated their commitment to the First Amendment. If not, it is here for you to read in its entirety.

To the Editor,
I recently addressed the MA Board regarding an escalating
problem here in Farmington Woods: It seems that a feeling
of entitlement has overcome some residents with regard to
the golf course. The statement I hear most often is "1 own it,
why can't I walk on it?"
The golf course is indeed owned by the Farmington Woods
District, but it is subject to the rules of the Master Association.
In Section 3 of the Resident's Handbook, Subsection 6.2.5, it
clearly states the rules regarding usage of the golf course.
Walking, jogging, fishing and vehicle use are prohibited. No
pets are allowed on the golf course.
These are ordinances of Farmington Woods not the Golf
Committee and are there to ensure order and safety on the
golf course. Violation of these rules has become all too
common. Recreational walkers can be hit by a ball and injured
or worse. This is a dangerous situation.
It is commonplace for speeding, parking, and other infractions
to be enforced. Why are the golf course rules not enforced
When residents closed on their Farmington Woods units, all
were required to read a booklet containing the rules and
regulations of Farmington Woods and then sign a document
agreeing to abide by these covenants. These rules should
come as no surprise to those who choose to ignore them.
I believe the MA Board needs to take an active role on this
issue and enforce the regulations as written before an
unfortunate accident occurs.
-Michael Hamelin, 2 Split Rock Lane

To the Editor,

Regarding Mr. Hamelin’s letter stating that the golf course is a dangerous place to walk, I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately there are other places that are equally as dangerous: Catalpa Court between the 12th hole and 16th tee come to mind, as does the pathway to the common gardens at the 5th tee.

But to characterize non-golfing residents who take the occasional sunset walk on the course as having “a feeling of entitlement” strikes me as rather harsh. Some of these folks have been supporting the course for twenty years with their condo fees, district taxes and club minimums.

Placing them in the notorious 47% will not foster the community relations required to ensure the continued survival of Farmington Woods Golf Club.

These residents support a game they do not play. They should be thanked, not derided, because they may decide one day to take ownership of the course seriously and use the Declarations to make it a recreational facility they can use all the time. 

Article XVIII Section 8f clearly states: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein, nothing in this Declaration shall be deemed to restrict the use of the golf course as a Golf Facility.”

It just seems that a little respect is due the folks who pay for a course they don’t play and can’t walk on. New leadership may one day decide, by popular demand, to turn the course into a park that would make New York’s Central Park envious.

Respectfully submitted,

Lee Lagasse

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