The business of golf – ” . . . a watershed event”

By Alan Prescott
December 14, 2021

” . . . I have heard very positive comments about the condition of the golf course at the present time.”

Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course

In my last article, I began my discussion of the golf course management and the importance of having great leadership. In my opinion, when Mike Cooney came aboard as the Golf Course Manager, it was a ” watershed event”. So as not to be misunderstood, a watershed event is an event marking a unique or important historical change of course or one on which important developments depend. To recap, the only reason why I came to write these past articles was an article that appeared in a publication, authored by a “Manager” about how lousy his golf course was, that was picked up by my fiancee and sent to my phone.

It was totally out of my control that Mike Cooney was hired. I had nothing to do with it and I commend the person or persons who made that decision. It was truly a “watershed event”. When I first arrived at the Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course, I was at a loss for words. After touring the golf course, I returned home. All that I asked myself was “how can I help?” I tried to explain that my reason for trying to help was NOT for financial gain. It was to help the Course NOT to become a development project, as have many other golf courses in the United States. So, I began to challenge the people who control the course. Then, I asked for the opinions of the local public, both golfers as well as non-golfers and solicited the opinions of both groups of individuals. To try to establish credibility, since I was a relative unknown at the time, I wrote not only a history of the evolution of golf equipment and a short discussion of my involvement in the game.

In other words, within this game of golf and the new life dynamics, there are things that have changed, are evolving, and must be addressed at the golf course level so that YOUR golf course doesn’t become another housing development.

So, let’s get on with this discussion. In a few words, when Mike Cooney hired Mr. Blaine Ellerby to be the Head Golf Course Superintendent at your golf course, I didn’t consider that decision to be merely filling another position that was open at the golf course. In every way, it was the second “Watershed Event”, which will insure the improvement of your golf course for years to come.

Previously, I have spoken about the extreme importance of having a qualified Golf Course Superintendent on staff. Let’s face it, without a trained leader to manage the golf course itself, there is no golf course. When I found out what Blaine’s experiences were, I was respectfully overwhelmed. I cannot wait to meet him and share information with him. Furthermore, I have heard very positive comments about the condition of the golf course at the present time. Unfortunately, I have delayed my trip to Amelia Island for several more weeks in order to receive a booster vaccine.

During the past year, there have been significant, positive steps taken to improve the Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course. Overall, this has been a team effort. After 11 months of writing for the Fernandina Observer, I have noticed a sense of “community” in the responses and comments that I have received. A long time ago, I asked the question, “What happens if no one cares?”

In my next article, you will see what happens when no one cares. There are two parts in my next article. It shocked me to find out what can REALLY happen. As always, I am Alan Prescott and I am here for you. I can be reached at [email protected].

Please stay safe and remain healthy. I sincerely wish everyone and happy, healthy, and a very Merry Christmas!!!

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Doug Pugh
Doug Pugh (@guest_63378)
1 year ago


it is a pleasure to know that the public and citizens care about this course. I’ve recently came on as mechanic of equipment. This is a task of many levels, the overall condition of the maintenance facilities was dismal. The men here have appreciated the leadership of all and have gained and gaining a larger since of pride and ownership. We are moving quickly to rebuild this course with a small budget. It has taken the help of other city departments. We are moving ahead with since of pride like never before.