The business of golf: “Spot on”

By Alan Prescott
April 29, 2022

Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course

It seems that no one, or, at least not enough people seem to follow through, when a situation presents itself that requires action. If we believe that time is the most precious commodity that we have, and that we strive to make a difference in our world for ourselves and our families and others, then it follows that you will do the right thing for both yourself and for others. However, this is not necessarily true and that is exactly what this article is about in its entirety.

You might ask, “What does this writing do that hasn’t been discussed in the past?” What follows is a discussion of an epiphany that I had when I read an opinion written as a press release on April 25, 2022 in the Fernandina Observer by Commissioner Chip Ross. You could have pushed me over with a feather!! Chip, you are so “spot on” and I would like to thank you for the most intelligent opinion about the Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course that I have either read or discussed since I began to write over a year ago.

For those who missed it, I will quote the paragraph, as follows: “Without such a decision, metaphorically, the City Commissioners are simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”.

WOW!!! I really thought that I was the only one who cared. The comments that followed Commissioner Ross’ opinion reflected the apparent malaise that exists across the City.  First, let’s identify a few problems. The competitive Amelia River Golf Club was originally developed from a land lease from the airport. Over the years, there has been more than one person or group of people, who had lots of money, put millions of dollars in with one apparent result. That is, they helped develop a well-manicured golf course. I believe that, for their efforts, these people were able to write off some of their investment, to their personal benefit. That’s fine. However, have all of those investment dollars resulted in Amelia River being profitable?

Second, to just throw negative comments into the fire and to fail to do anything about the golf course situation doesn’t contribute to anything that is either helpful or a positive solution. Where I come from, if there is a problem, then, instead of spreading the poison of negativity, roll up your sleeves and do something about it or just shut up and stop spreading the poison. If you don’t want to help, go play the more expensive courses or move to a place that has golf courses that are more to your liking.

While I am on the subject, a “Regulation” 18-hole golf course measures a minimum of 6000 yards. A Regulation 9-hole golf course measures a minimum of 3000 yards, both according to the USGA. I have a question for you.. If you combine any 2 of the 9-hole courses at FBMGC, how many of those 18-hole combinations yields a “regulation” golf course? Furthermore, how many of the 9-hole courses are a regulation 9-hole golf course? If the scorecard that I have seen is correct, then the answer to each question is 1.

Thirdly, thank GOD that the General Obligation Bond failed to pass. Two quick reasons come to mind. First, there was no money appropriated for the golf course. And, second, originally, the homes sold that border the golf course were sold as being more valuable because the purchase price, in some way, was an enhancement to those properties. If you get rid of the golf course property to a developer, (which requires a 75% majority), you will open yourself to a deluge of law suits.

Another consideration for those who want to get rid of the golf course is, the cost of redeveloping the course into pathways will cost you MORE than refurbishing the golf course, which Commissioner Ross mentioned might cost 4 million dollars.

Think we’re done here? WRONG AGAIN!!! Year after year, Commissioners after Commissioners, and constant lack of follow-through, have exacerbated the situation. I agree that “to promise and offer something for less than it costs to provide” is beyond ignorant.

How about TOP Tracer, the $500,000 red herring. As Peter Drucker wrote, “There is nothing worse than doing well that which should not be done at all”. Sounds like a summary of the “Top Tracer Folly,” doesn’t it? Who is responsible for that item? What were you thinking?

The long history of promising that which you are either incapable of producing or hesitant to properly fund has got to cease. In the words of Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

In my next part of this discussion, I will continue with this important discussion. In the meantime, my name is Alan Prescott. I welcome your comments and contributions that are constructive and help to improve this golf course without negativity or playing the “blame game at [email protected]. Be safe and thank you for listening.

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.

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John Goshco
John Goshco (@guest_64867)
2 years ago

Go Alan, go!!
It’s going to take a lot more pounding to get it through their thick skulls.

Michael Carabetta
Michael Carabetta (@guest_64871)
2 years ago

Could you explain your comment on golf course length? That seems to conflict with what is listed on the USGA website.

Q. Does a course have to be a certain length to have a Course Rating™ and Slope Rating™?

A. To have a valid Course Rating and Slope Rating, a tee set must be at least 3,000 yards for 18 holes, or 1,500 yards for 9-holes.—course-length-for-ratings.html

Alan Prescott
Alan Prescott (@guest_64925)
2 years ago

I didn’t know that kt had changed. I will check it out and get back to you, if you send your correct email address to me. Thanks, Alan

Alan Prescott
Alan Prescott (@guest_64926)
2 years ago

After checking, if you use the shortest measurements, an 18 hole regulation course adds up to 5900 yards, consisting of 4 par 3 holes of 150 yards each, 10 par 4 holes of 350 yards each, and 4 par 5 holes measuring a minimum of 450 yards each. However, ever since I began playing golf at the age of 7 (in 1955), par 5 holes started at 480 yards.

Tommy G
Tommy G (@guest_66722)
1 year ago

The shortest of the 3 9 hole courses is the north at over 3,000 yards….

not sure where you are getting your info…