By Alan Prescott
May 19, 2021
Sometimes, you just have to know when to say that enough is enough. For several months now, I have volunteered my advice and expertise at the City golf course in Fernandina Beach. During that time, I visited the course from my home, a distance of 1075 miles away. I have met a lot of nice people, people who were qualified to get things right and improve the conditions as well as the playability of this 27-hole golf facility.
In addition, I have made many suggestions for improvement. However, it seems, as usual, those in power in the City, deem that my suggestions and recommendations are not worthy of implementation. A request for applications for employment was sent out and there are a few comments that I feel that I must make. (Click Here to view City Job Opportunities)
First, who in their right mind would accept a job at an hourly pay rate of $10.41 per hour? At that rate, a person would have to work a second full-time job to make ends meet. Any skilled person would NEVER work for such low pay. Secondly, the going rate for a golf course superintendent is $55,000 to $65,000 per year. Do the math. When most superintendents work an average of 70 hours per week, why would anyone work at slave-labor rates?
It is very evident that the City has no desire to do anything but farm out the work or to lease the Municipal Golf Course instead of trying to improve conditions at the Course by repaying the 1.2 million dollars that was extracted from the golf course revenues over the years to fund other non-profit making ventures. It is also very evident that no one on the City Commission wants to improve conditions, considering that they have turned a deaf ear on other conditions and circumstances, such as:
1. Hiring a full-time mechanic to service broken equipment
2. As previously mentioned above, raise wages significantly to allow golf course workers to earn a non-poverty-level income
3. Update golf course machinery to adequate levels
4. Hire 6 more employees – 4 full-time and 2 part-time
5. Create a position to run Top Tracer as well as the Golf Driving Range at a decent hourly rate in a full-time position to create a higher return on investment quicker than projected (and return the excess profits to fund other golf course expenses). This position should be capable of marketing Top Tracer, as well.
Today, I am asking you to ask the City officials to act on these above suggestions. Take a look at Amelia River and its pristine conditions. The necessary funds have been spent to create the fine golf course conditions that exist today. The city’s municipal golf course has been selfishly starved of the funds necessary to re-develop and rescue its course, a course which has had “good bones” from the start.
Your comments and suggestions are, as always appreciated. Please submit them to either [email protected] or the Fernandina Observer. Please stay safe and remain healthy.
Editor’s Note: Alan Prescott reached out to us after reading a recent article on the Fernandina Beach Golf Course. His articles are being well received by golfers and non-golfers. We thank Alan for his contribution to the Fernandina Observer.A