Live within our means
In Mayor Jim Newberry's 2010 budget address, he said, "times call for belt-tightening, living within our means and focusing on fundamental government services that are at the heart of any local government's mission."
Apparently, the council did not get the memo, or perhaps it really considered golf a fundamental government service.
On June 15, it voted 7-6 against a proposal to make the city's six publicly owned golf courses be self-sustaining.
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This is in a city that has been so strapped for cash fire stations have been closed and the police and fire pensions are not fully funded. But yet, $1.6 million was used from the general fund to subsidize the city's golf program.
The council voted, but voters may trump that on Nov. 2.
No threat to private clubs
Are private golf courses suffering because public courses are taking potential members? According to Golf Digest, despite the economic downturn, most private clubs are getting middle-to-high five-figure initiation fees and monthly minimums in the $200 to $500 range.
Somehow that demographic doesn't seem to fit the average "muni" player. So let's eliminate public courses as a threat to private clubs.
As for the semi-private courses, we're told their golfers are playing our public courses to save money. Ludicrous.
If anyone drives 40 miles round trip, especially with gas prices what they are, they are doing it to play a better or different course. Plus, private and semi-private clubs are business ventures.
At some point they had a business plan. If the plan didn't work out and the club can no longer make it in its own area, you could close all the Fayette County public courses and that club still wouldn't make it. If this "self-sustaining" action had been approved by the council, it would have been a step toward privatization.
Once the profit motive is in place, prices would soar. Other adjustments can be made over time to ensure the city's golf courses are not a burden. Let's keep our municipal courses affordable for our youngsters and seniors and for our tourist visitors.
Anthony N. Raimondo
Keep courses in city hands
Why should the price for a round of golf in Fayette County be influenced by what surrounding county's private courses dictate?
Like any other private venture, wouldn't a privately developed partnership take into consideration that its endeavor has a risk, just as any other business does? Did the operators of the Bull golf course not have a business plan or impact study prior to its development?
As a senior and female golfer, I am treated with courtesy at all the city public courses I play. Perhaps, the outlying private courses should look internally as to why folks choose to play within Fayette County.
Private clubs and their members, of whom I have been one in the past, really don't want the general public to take their tee times or have their club opened to the general public. However, that is a private club's right, and it's my choice to join or not.
We are so fortunate to have the golf facilities we have as well as outstanding golf professionals that staff each of the facilities. It's more than the price of a round of golf that matters.