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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.