By Alan Prescott
June 23, 2021
Within the last 10 days, I have received a response from someone who has taken the time to research the trends in golf and has clearly indicated a “passing of the torch” that is necessary, particularly with regard to the Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course. Many of this person’s remarks are a repetition of what I have mentioned in previous articles. Due to high integrity and personal anonymity, the respondent’s identity will not be revealed in this article. However, to relate the information provided as well as to highlight our points of agreement, today’s article reinforces the need for immediate and thoughtful changes at the golf course. I’m calling today’s article, “A Logical Discussion Concerning FBCC Golf”.
Every discussion of merit involves an exchange of ideas. It might be based upon research or a previous discussion or a change of circumstances. I have recently replied to my correspondent, and, this is what I have written:
“Your recommendations are outstanding!! They’re very cognizant of the trends both in golf and in understanding the interests of millennials in outdoor activities. It is very true that the “old” way of playing golf can and must be adapted to include this age group, which, as you have mentioned, now accounts for at least one-third of the golfing population”. This is not to say that traditional golf, as we have known it, should be totally replaced. It is, however, recommended that your golf course, which seems to be faltering in both condition and financial support, be modified to accommodate and account for future generations of golfers. It should be the choice of the individual as to which type of golf to enjoy. In addition, there should be “other” options available such as pickleball, Par 3 Executive Course (fast play), disc golf course facility, etc. so that those in charge can adapt their approach to the preservation and the profitability of the facility. It is clear that a re-training of the Commissioners is essential to running a profitable facility intelligently while not just hiring an “expert”( management company) whose interests are solely personally profit-driven.
To continue: “I was originally concerned with the improvement of the golf facility as well as the re-development of the golf operation. Even with a qualified golf course superintendent, there will only be mediocrity at FBCC. Your listing of sources and references for information is an excellent one. I only hope that the Commissioners and the Mayor take a genuine interest to read them and not just lend a deaf ear, as has apparently been happening for years.
In addition, I tried to make suggestions as far as how to re-develop the golf facility to suit golfers. However, I have felt all along that something other than to just maintain the current condition of the facility was necessary to complete this project. Not being a resident put me at a distinct disadvantage. So, in the interest of the residents of FB, I was hoping that someone, such as yourself, would chime in on. Your comments are so ‘on point’. If it’s only money that they’re concerned with, then we can assume that nothing substantial will ever come of the re-development of this facility.
More specifically, we could both meet via Zoom and in person, to develop a proposal for the facility together, followed by a request to speak before the Commissioners’ meeting. Your suggestions for the re-development of the South course into a facility offering a multitude of other revenue-producing activities will surely positively affect the “outdoor” public as well as ease the financial burden of the City. It is about time that the City consider the needs and wants of the residents of FB and not just the tourists and snowbirds. Let the ultra-wealthy have their expensive high-rise condos and private golf courses and the like. It’s time to increase the recreational options of local people who want other choices than a poorly maintained golf course run by people who only have a short-sighted focus.
As a test, I submitted an application for full-time employment at Top Tracer. I also submitted additional proposals to run Top Tracer. I was offered only part-time employment at $10.41 per hour for a weekly total of only 29 hours. What an insult!! I have decades of experience. As part of my ‘test’, I remarked that I didn’t need the money, but I would like to earn enough to maintain (for the time being) both residences. I also indicated that I would also establish residency in Florida in order to be able to do my job. However, who can live on those wages? A final value that I would bring is my ability to market, consult, and solve problems. In any event, my application, as of this writing, is rescinded.”
To the golfing public, your voice and response is sorely needed. Without definitive action as soon as possible, your golf course will further deteriorate. Sources of information are available, thanks to one person’s due diligence and desire to improve both your recreational experience and to return your golf course to profitability, which could result in lower taxes for you, the residents of the City of Fernandina Beach.
As always, I am Alan Prescott. I can be reached at [email protected] for comments, suggestions, and for the resources discussed in this article. Be safe and stay healthy.