It admittedly needs work, but it a conception worth tossing about. So, what should we do if we do decide to buy the golf course land? Here is one approach that is somewhat different from all the talk to date.
So what would come next: what do we do with the golf course, club house, etc., and the current elite nature of said club? Well we keep the golf ability of Arrowcreek going to enhance the community but in a very different way than anyone has proposed to date. Here’s what we do:
1. We eliminate the pro shop and the restaurant and fix up the existing Club House for mostly multi-use for the community clubs, events, etc. We only maintain the ability of carts and cart rentals. Perhaps the driving range. Any golfer can also bring his or her own cart. We go to an “online” reservation of tee times; a computer and a large monitor and internet access can arrange that. So the only thing that a golfer can get from the club is a cart rental, a scorecard, a pencil, and the ability to play golf. We do install vending machines for drinks and snacks, and we profit from any purchases from said machines. We do need someone to take care of the carts and watch over the club. We will need to pay someone to handle this (one or two personnel) and we will ask for volunteers from the golf folks internal to our community to act in support. How will be pay for this? Will let you know in a minute.
2. Keeping the golf courses somewhat green and alive will help home values in AC. Letting it go to pot will not. So how to we do that? Well it stands to reason that the folks who live on or can view the golf course have the biggest stake here if we go virgin again. So, I propose that we follow the example of our highways, and have an “Adopt a Hole” program whereby the owners around each hole take care of the watering and limited maintenance of their hole. No, they would not do it personally, they would each get together as a group and pitch in dollars to allow someone to mow the fairway and the green just twice a month (minimum), and they would pay for minimal watering of the fairways and greens to keep them alive and playable. Now remember, this is an action that is required only 6 or so months out of the year, the rest of the time the fields are dormant and there is no or little cost to the group. This would inure to their benefit, and also the benefit of all the non-golfers or folks with no golf view in the community. Regular golfers not on the course would be encouraged to “Adopt a Hole” as well, perhaps the ones with the thinnest residential support. So how much would this cost? It can’t cost more than $500 to mow a fairway twice a month. I do not know what water would cost, but let’s say an additional $700 a month (remember, we are not asking for pristine fairways, just enough water to keep it alive and playable). I think each hole would have at least 15-20 homes to support it, that would come to $80/month for 6 months of the year for 15 homes. But you know everyone won’t buy in, so let’s say 10 homes will, that means $120/month for 6 months. With preservation of the greens spaces comes the perk of unlimited use of the entire course with no green fees required, just cart rental unless you have your own cart. And a large reduction in fire hazard vice any time the course would revert to flammable conditions.
This approach has another good perk. It will induce local enclaves of the homes around each hole to get together to know one another, perhaps party a bit, and take pride in the maintenance of their vista. It will cement our community.
3. So getting back to what I said above, how to we pay for two personnel six or seven months of the year to handle the carts and oversee the vending machines and the clubhouse is general, and how to we ALL pay in to maintain the watering systems for the courses (the “adopt a hole” folks will pay for the water itself). Well, in addition to the $20 that each of the 1000 homes would pay for the mortgage to make this deal fly, each of the 1000+ homes and properties would pay an additional $20/month to support the clubhouse and the watering system and the needed personnel. This $20/month would bring in $20,000 a month for clubhouse and misc support. More than enough. It would cover any insurance the HOA would need to pick up for the additional lands and buildings, etc. Remember, the clubhouse will really become another meeting center for the community, golf will be a minor sideline.
4. So in summary, every home or lot of AC would pay $20/month for the entire year to pay the mortgage. In addition, every home or lot of AC would pay an additional $20/month for the year to keep the club infrastructure going, although the $20/month is really only needed for 6 months, the other 6 months of payments would go to improvement of the club buildings and some will be socked away as reserve. These are fixed payments and would not grow over time.
If you live on or can reasonably view any golf link, you would pay an additional $120/month (variable) for just 6 months of the year only. That translates to really $60/month plus the other $40 fixed that all other pay, and this totals to $100/month maximum for the golf view lot and on-course lot owners. Only $40/month additional for all others who do not view the links. We are up to a cost of two loaded pizzas a month now for many of the folks.
If you are a golfer and cannot see the course, then you are encouraged to support some piece of the course at the $120/month level for 6 months. If enough folks participate, the cost TO ALL THE LINK SUPPORTERS can drop below $100/month for the 6 month period of active golf. No green fees.
Every member of AC would be able to use the golf course, guests included. Just sign up electronically for a certain time. NO outside residents would be allowed on our property to use the course or any facilities unless they are your guests.
The golf courses will not at all be or remain perfect. Some holes will be well maintained, perhaps better than today; some will not be as well maintained. It depends on the enclaves and adopters and what they voluntarily put out. So the tradeoff here is an inconsistent golf venue in terms of playing conditions but you still will be able to play and there will be no greens fees, just cart rentals which will pay for the cart maintenance. And AC will maintain its golf courses and especially the lands on which those little white spheres (are supposed to) travel.
5. Corollary. One option would be to lease out part of the current club as a small mini-mart with food to support the golfers and the community (sandwiches, soft drinks, waters, hot dogs, TP, etc.). This would be a stripped down concession. The concession would be required to carry milk, newspapers, and other staples that would avoid your making a trip down the hill for same. Our internal 7-11 if your will. Stuff for the kids during the summer, etc. Or let the HOA run the concession at cost.
6. Finally, remember the thoughts and words above were created and typed in just 1.5 hours. This is a starting basis. There are lots of ways to bend this to fit. But it would keep the golf course in some fashion, keep the lands green in some fashion, support home values, and bring the community better together with enclaves of people with a single focus, and the joining of multiple enclaves across our community.
Chuck Sonntag, Harbottle Drive
Non-Golfer in AC