By Alan Prescott
May 9, 2022

“I would like to challenge the City Commissioners to fund the golf course properly. . .”

 

It has been a privilege to write for the Fernandina Observer for the past 16 months. During that time, I have tried to improve the situation at the Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Club for all of those who have played, will play, and are thinking about starting to learn how to play golf and who want a well-groomed and maintained facility to enjoy.

During that time, I have come to your community not as a celebrity but as a person with significant experience in most aspects of the golf business. Most of my friends and colleagues here at my home in Upstate New York have mentioned my trips to Fernandina Beach as a “wonderful vacation.” I explained it by saying that it was work, not vacation time. It was, in fact, a labor of love.

My discussions have been an attempt to create a community discussion concerning how to improve the profitability of the golf course, which can be profitable again in a few years, and which will alleviate some of the tax burdens on your residents. Several suggestions were made in view of how the golf business is changing, to alter the current facility to make it a “go-to” venue instead of a rundown facility. It can be done with community input and participation that is constructive, not destructive.

The City of Fernandina Beach is unique. Business opportunities exist from several sources. The Island is a vacation paradise with many different offerings. Vacationers (tourists), for the most part, come and go. However, one has to be careful not to overdevelop. Take the Catskill Mountain Resorts in Upstate New York. If you’ve ever watched the movie Dirty Dancing, in the end, Max, the owner of the hotel, states that it is all coming to an end. He mentions that peoples’ tastes are changing.

The point here is that Amelia Island is changing, as is the City of Fernandina Beach. Like the Catskills, there needs to be a plan for the future. For just as the Catskills have changed and there was no succession plan, so, too, a similar change is destined to occur on Amelia Island. The people and the economy in the Catskills have suffered, as is likely to happen at any resort area, which has little or no succession plan for its residents to sustain their lives when the “resort bandwagon” moves on.

So, in closing, no one knows if I will be able to write for the new editor of the Fernandina Observer. With respect to the idea of moving forward in a positive manner, I would like to challenge the City Commissioners to properly fund the golf course by restoring the profits made years ago and then applied elsewhere in the budget, back to the golf course, to create a profitable, well-maintained facility for all to enjoy before the “resort bandwagon” moves on.

I am Alan Prescott. I can be reached at alanprescott528@yahoo.com.

Editor’s Note: Alan Prescott reached out to us after reading a recent article on the Fernandina Beach Golf Course. His articles are well received by golfers and non-golfers. We thank Alan for his contributions to the Fernandina Observer. for over a year and a half.

 

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Dave Lott
Dave Lott (@guest_64997)
6 months ago

Alan, the past is the past as well as I believe those “profits” were eaten up over the subsidies provided to the golf course over the last 15 years or so. Clearly, if the course is to be improved there needs to be substantial funds earmarked to the renovation of tee boxes and greens over an extended period of time. The appetite of the commissioners to do such does not appear to be a hearty one given the other financial issues the city is dealing with in the coming budget in light of the potential for an economic recession.
Thanks for sharing your insights over the last several years.

Alan Prescott
Alan Prescott (@guest_65019)
6 months ago
Reply to  Dave Lott

Your discussion and comments about what I have written in the past 16 months have been “spot on”. All across America, golf courses are being redeveloped into expensive housing complexes. Some of that redevelopment has been excessive and, even with the huge amounts of infused money, have failed. Frankly, it’s ultimately the people’s choice as to what they can or will support. The inherent intransigence based on politics and lack of effective planning will barely maintain the FBMGC. Surely, the Commissioners don’t recognize the value of a gradual reinvestment at the City Golf Course, which will return a healthy profit in coming years. Please keep in touch.

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