By Alan Prescott
February 3, 2021
“Today, I will suggest the first developmental suggestion for Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course. It is converting 9 holes into a
Par 3 Executive Golf Course.”
There are two development suggestions, one of which is the product of a significant amount of respondents to my discussions to re-develop your facility. The golf business is a dynamic, ever-changing business. Whoever imagined that a golf course maintenance worker, who was the son of a golf professional/golf course owner in the small town of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, would come to be perhaps the leader and most significant promoter of golf in the history of golf?
That man was Arnold Palmer!! He was amazing, to say the least. I met Arnold in 1973 when I was 25. He was filming commercials on the 10th tee at the Country Club of Darien, in Darien, Connecticut. I drove into the club parking lot and past the 10th tee at 7 am and he was already hitting balls as they were filming the commercials, at 7 AM, not at 8 or 9 or 10. He was already famous and wealthy and very popular.
The only blemish in Arnie’s tournament record was in the 1966 United States Golf Championship when he lost a 7-stroke lead in the last 9 holes to Billy Casper. The only thing that I remember about Billy Casper is that he said, every night, when I go to bed, I say thank God for Arnold Palmer. Palmer was very charismatic. Jack Nicklaus was a golf machine with a superiority complex and a great playing ability. Jack lived in the Columbus, Ohio area. His family was a member of Scioto Country Club, a very high-ticket private Country Club on the east side of Columbus. I attended Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio and I worked, from 1969 to 1971, at Worthington Country Club in Worthington, Ohio, located just 7 miles north of Columbus. But, I never met Jack Nicklaus.
Just a quick mention of another driving force in the golf business. Not many writers will write their personal opinions, but here goes. Tiger Woods is that man. But, he benefitted directly from the hard work and promotion of the sport, I think, on the back of Arnold Palmer and others who came after Arnold’s Golden Years. Then, Tiger’s personal indiscretions stained the sport of golf.
My point is, using the stellar efforts of Arnold Palmer, successful people and golf courses need a strong desire to succeed, a stronger work ethic, and strong promotion. A golf professional is the key in this situation. He/She is the go-to person at many golf facilities. They are the facilitators, along with qualified golf superintendents, that can make it happen.
Today, I will suggest the first developmental suggestion for Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course. It is converting 9 holes into a Par 3 Executive Golf Course. I have heard that it would cost $1,000,000 for this conversion. I’d like to come to your facility and consult with the potential contractors on this matter. And, as soon as I receive my Covid shots, I’ll be in my car the same or next day to visit.
Many people, in your area, have commented that they or their friends, or guests (snowbirds) would love to play Par-3 golf to learn how to play. There are other residents that have said they prefer a shorter golf course, like an Executive course because the bigger courses are too physically challenging for them. Rather than short-lived “gimmicks” that will drain City coffers quickly, and provide no clear path to be profitable, an Executive course is a perfect fit for your area. How many Executive courses are on Amelia Island? How many Executive golf courses are attached to regulation golf courses? I just Googled to find the answer and found the answer – No and None. Depending on your facility’s layout, this can be accomplished, if you want it.
I see a number of practice facilities off of the Island. What I don’t see is an Ultimate Golf Learning and Golf Club Testing center, which includes a 3-hole practice golf course. And that will be my discussion in my next article. This will be the second developmental idea. Like my discussion today, it could be the idea that makes Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course a real destination for those, both on and off of the Island, who want to learn and play the game of golf.
As always, I am Alan Prescott, for you. Email me at [email protected]