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home : opinion : opinion May 29, 2016

1/28/2013 4:44:00 PM
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Golf course management; Cutting Link service

Dear Mayor and Council Members:

I've been a golfer for the better part of 65 years, and a member in good standing (my wife also) of the fine Chelan City Golf Course for 20 of them -- and a resident that long as well. So much for this writer's golf and G.C. creds, and focus. And I'd like to state right off, profit shouldn't have too much to do with any considerations regarding future management of our city's golf course.
In a recent council meeting, I, and most attendant members of the men and womens' clubs 
I've talked to, were somewhat surprised, and at times annoyed because a rather lot of the criticism was very emphatically directed at the management of the course and its sinking revenues, and the causes thereof. These were, not in order of importance, (1) recessional forces, (2) competition (Bear Mountain, Desert Canyon, etc.), (3) the city's so-called inappropriate use of course receipts, (4) poor G.C. management, (5) inadequate course upkeep, (e.g. loss off trees without replacements, (6) employee bare-bones staffing (less than adequate for prime G.C. upkeep), (7) declining membership due to loss of interest and/or rising membership fees.
There were probably other reasons, but those noted might well be moot, except for those that impact the cost of the course's grooming and physical upkeep.
It is my, and a large portion of the club members' belief, that profitable income should be way down the list of your concerns. An income beyond sustaining the well-being and the beauty of the course (playability) shouldn't really matter very much. Your real concern should be how much actual income this venue brings into the city coffers via motel/hotel rooms rented, restaurants attended, taxes received, merchandise sold, parks occupied, tourists entertained (jet skis, water slides, beaches, sail boats, bicycles, paragliders, boat trips, etc.), all those things that boost the total city's finances. I personally have played 20 to 30 rounds of golf on our course in the last year with people from the coast and elsewhere, most of whom were in Chelan primarily to play golf. However, many have secondary interests, and they have to have lodging (there are more than a few accommodations with golf packages) and a multiplicity of activities for those in their families or parties who do not play golf. That said, they and theirs have to eat, and play in assorted ways; that is, partake in other touristy stuff while here in our fine city -- our truly most excellent playground destination. You might do well to initiate a small study, say take a sample of maybe 50 men and women's golf club members and pose the question: How many people have you encountered playing golf who were from somewhere else? And maybe: What else did they say they and theirs did for entertainment while visiting Chelan?
Again, beyond upkeep (good upkeep) of our golf course, profit just shouldn't matter all that much. A golf course isn't a park. You cannot justify degrading this remarkable course by chopping down its trees and not replacing them. Most golfers love (and hate) trees as much as they love (and hate) fast greens and tricky-lie fairways. And you really shouldn't short-change this fine destination's playground-on-our-hillside by too much leaning out its employee ranks to save some bucks. This most assuredly has occurred -- I've been witness to it -- actually to the point where the course's playability aspects have been notably compromised.
Moreover, you really should take some care not to create a dispirited core of Chelan's good will ambassadors; those of us who shall be called members. You have (unknowingly no doubt) embittered not a few of your best salesmen of the Chelan persona by allowing its golf course to decline any amount at all below its past excellence. In the 20-plus years I've resided in Chelan, and have traversed these fine but diminishing fairways and greens, I've seen a slow buy steady decline in the overall course aesthetics (again, trees cut, manicure deficiencies, decrepit tress and sick grasses, et. al.) I, and my fellow members, do mourn this trend -- some to the point of giving up the game, or joining other clubs.
I, we, believe this deterioration is a case of city management's very understandable lack of perspective, but one that doesn't bode well for the future of an under-supported city jewel. Thus, many of my fellow members have developed a rather gloomy outlook about the way things are going. We, most of us, see you as good and talented managers who are trying your best to overcome more than enough financial uncertainties in this economy, and in what so many of us see as a mistaken search for the greater good...profit; which is really already there and being banked.
This is to say, a certain level of what has been perceived as loss of revenue could, and should be, tolerated for the city of Chelan's own greater good. Please allow full and proper funding of one of this city's finest destination assets. Believe me, it will pay real dividends when all the good stuff is finally counted.
Thank you for your indulgence. No unkindness is intended in this discourse. I, we, do love this city. This golf course is in our -- and so many other golfer's -- minds as a most important integral part of Chelan's unique ambiance.

Don Maples
Chelan



Cutting Link service
Link Bus service is cutting service in Lake Chelan for no reason. There is no cost saving by cutting route 31. This cut service to a lot of chelan valley and a lot of people.

Michael Detering
Manson



Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Article comment by: Jamie Morrison

I wanted to comment on Mr. Maples' assessment of the issues facing the municipal course in Chelan. I believe he has a very valid perspective. The city should be more interested in maintaining a pristine golf course as a tourist draw and rely on the secondary spending (hotels, restaurants, wine tours, etc.) to offset (and hopefully out-pace) the expenses to keep the course in beautiful shape.
I grew up in Manson and played on the golf team in high school. We were allowed to practice on the Chelan course and it was absolutely gorgeous. This was a little over ten years ago. I recently returned to Lake Chelan to visit family and played the course again only to find it in a state of disrepair. Those immaculate greens and fairways I remembered were browning and tired. While the challenge of the course remains, the allure is fading.
It saddens me that there are issues facing the management of the course, which must be a serious disappointment for current members, like Mr. Maples. They will probably still play, though. They have a long history with the club and they probably know every square inch of that course. However, people like me and tourists who plan to return to Lake Chelan on a regular basis might feel inclined to focus on the better alternatives (albeit much more expensive). My golf shots are usually awful but I prefer to look at something nice while I go on a scavenger hunt.
Now, I may not understand everything involved with the management of the course but I think Mr. Maples is the voice of reason in this situation. The municipal course is probably more of a draw for families than Desert Canyon or Bear Mountain simply because it more affordable. However, if it looks like the city doesn't care about the course, it will simply disappear. Don't let this course become another field like Ma8+1 in Manson...




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