By Alan Prescott
March 18, 2021
Today, I received the most significant reply to my articles to date. It’s what I call, the bottom line. You might ask, in reality, “After all of this discussion, what is the bottom line?” And, that question was very clearly and succinctly stated. To be very direct, I want to thank that person for their sustained discussion and dialogue. I can unequivocally say that it is the highwater mark of my discussion about the Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course.
When I first decided to write these articles, I intended to ask for questions and open discussion. I remotely attended at least 1 City Commissioner’s Meeting. I also waited several months to gather information, do some research, and inwardly examine and compare my own with an open mind to the 30 plus responses from those who responded, which included both golfers and non-golfers as well as residents, non-residents, former residents, and snowbirds.
In this journey, I prayed that at least one person would indicate a desire for a business plan to be developed and to articulate a serious call to action. Today, my prayers were answered. So, let’s get right to it!! At the outset, here is my RFP. There are several parts to consider as follows:
1. An RFP with an outside organization can continue to drain the City’s coffers. I have read every discussion that City Manager Dale Martin has put forth in The Observer. I am fully convinced that he is the leader in the Re-Development of the Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course. As in any successful business, the leader cannot do it alone. The key is in his underlings, i.e., his staff.
2. I propose that there be a golf course staff with a Golf Course Manager, who has extensive knowledge and experience in golf course operations including golf course maintenance, driving range experience, teaching ability, golf course marketing experience, golf club repair and club-making experience, golf cart utilization experience. The reason for all of these qualifications is to increase the overall golf experience for a players and patrons, to recognize any problems both on the course and in the pro shop before they become overwhelming, and to report directly to the City Manager on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and to attend City Commissioners’ Meetings.
3. The Golf Course Superintendent is recognized as the “go to” person for all golf course maintenance matters. With the rehiring of the Golf Course Superintendent, and, with his strong work ethic and knowledge, the Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course will thrive this year. A brief weekly course maintenance staff education program will NOT take any significant time from maintenance duties and will be beneficial in the long run.
4. A golf professional should be in attendance to teach golf lessons, run tournaments, and perform all of the duties that PGA Golf Professionals are customary in any golf operation. In addition, the golf course superintendent, the golf professional, and the Golf Course Manager work together to insure the players’ experience.
5. The Top Tracer Experience should be handled by the golf professional and overseen by the golf course manager. The ROI on this investment is directly related to the construction of a snack bar and workable restrooms in either an attached building or in the same building. The actual golf practice range needs to be significantly improved immediately.
6. With this plan, I would project a net profitability in this year to be in the neighborhood of 25%.
7. The most important position, at this point in time, is a combination of the Golf Course Superintendent, the Golf Course Manager, and the ongoing communication with the City Manager. Not to be forgotten, the Golf Professional is an integral part of this business plan.
As always, I am Alan Prescott. I am here for you and I can be reached by email at [email protected]
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.