Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
February 19, 2015 2:00 p.m.

On a unanimous vote at their February 17, 2015 Regular Meeting, the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) approved a 5-year extension of the golf course amenities and management agreement with Billy Casper Golf, LLC (BCG) in exchange for BCG paying $50,000 to renovate greens on the municipal golf course’s west course. The existing contract was due to expire in December. The new contract will not expire until December 13, 2020. Work on the greens will begin soon.

Commissioners and the City Manager were lavish in praising BCG’s work to improve the municipal course. Course Manager Josh O’Brien reported a record breaking 308 rounds of golf were played the previous day.

Mayor Ed Boner asked O’Brien to consider replacing chairs in the clubhouse in advance of the Bonham’s auction event scheduled for the second week of March. About 150 chairs need replacing. O’Brien agreed, with City Manager Gerrity in agreement, to replace about two-thirds of the existing chairs with $10,000 from unspent balance in the capital improvement. The remaining third will be replaced, hopefully, in the next budget year.

Vice Mayor Johnny Miller compliments Billy Casper Golf improvements at city golf course.
Vice Mayor Johnny Miller compliments Billy Casper Golf improvements at city golf course.

Vice Mayor Johnny Miller said that while he had been campaigning for office, he had questioned the value of the golf course to the city. He told commissioners that in his conversation with O’Brien at the time, he had been asked to give BCG time to demonstrate that they could make improvements. Miller said he was glad he did, because the course looks great today. He added that food and beverage service is also “fantastic.” He thanked O’Brien and indicated his enthusiasm in continuing to work with BCG.

O’Brien acknowledged the FBCC’s expressions of appreciation and invited them to the opening of “Foot Golf” at the course this Saturday, when Miller will kick off the event. He added that members of the Jacksonville Armada, the new soccer club would also be in attendance.

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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Dave Lott
Dave Lott (@guest_29097)
7 years ago

Despite the criticism of others, I was glad to see the Commission take a unanimous position in this extension. Overall, the golf course industry has had an extremely tough time over the last five years and municipal courses in particular where budget dollars are often tight with monies necessary for long term capital expenditures often put off. The BCG staff in place gives every appearance of being highly qualified in the management of all aspects of the golf course. Of course it is a double edged sword in that the lower prices of the municipal course generates additional rounds of play which places greater stress on the condition and playability of the course. Best wishes to BCG for continued success.

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