The Pellucid Perspective - October 2015 - (Page 2)

golf course construction Bureaucracy torpedoes 2 course construction projects By Jim Dunlap t he long arms of the federal and state bureaucracies reached out at the 11th hour and dramatically impacted a pair of high profile golf course construction projects. In the case of Bandon Links, the ambitious quasi-municipal course planned by Mike Keiser near his renowned Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on Oregon's coastline, a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regulation made Keiser's vision for the project unfeasible. At the other end of the Pacific Coast, a court ruling involving California's Political Reforms Act resulted in PGA Tour standout Phil Mickelson being told that he and his course design team and project partner Schmidt Design would not be allowed to bid on the final work on a redesign of famed Torrey Pines' North Course despite, or rather because of, the nearly three years of study and planning Mickelson's group had put into the project. The irony of the two political setbacks is twofold. Both projects contained large doses of the common good for their local constituencies in their conception and planning, and in both cases, the administrative rulings came very late in the planning process. The ever-creative Keiser had hired one of today's best known course designers, Gil Hanse, seven years ago to begin plans for Bandon Links. The plan was for Coos and Curry County residents to be able to play a world class course for as little as $10 a round, with out-of-staters paying the major portion of the freight with rates as high as $200-$250 per round. Those higher fees in turn would not only make possible the cheap local play, but also help to fund regional gorse removal projects and create a stimulus for up to 200 jobs for high school student caddies who would then be eligible for college scholarships in association with the Western Golf Association. Those ambitious goals received a fatal one-two punch last month when the federal BLM, which has jurisdiction over a portion of the lands devoted to the project, notified Keiser that federal regulations require that Bandon Links rates be commensurate with other golf courses on BLM lands, and that revenues would have to be used on the property only. No 3-figure greens fees meant no money to subsidize cheap local play and caddie schol- arships, and the local use provision eliminated use of Bandon Links funds for off-site gorse control along the southern Oregon coastline. The second blow of the one-two combination was disappointing results of well testing conducted on the site, eliminating a water source necessary to meet Oregon land use requirements. As a result, Keiser distributed a press release on Sept. 30 announcing that he has given up on the Bandon Links project. He added, however, that he would continue to explore site possibilities where the same types of programs and goals might be feasible. Current speculation is that such a site might be a potential third course at Keiser's developing Sand Valley golf destination in Rome, Wisc., which would join the Coore-Crenshaw design scheduled for a 2017 opening and a second course by David McLay Kidd due in the summer of 2018. It should be noted that despite the Bandon Links cancellation, the philanthropic Keiser did leave the area better than he found it, contributing $120,000 to the state of Oregon for its gorse control efforts and $450,000 toward purchase of the Whales Cove property by the U.S. Fish and Game Department for public use, as well as acting as guarantor for the Ecotrust purchase of the environmentally sensitive Sand Lake property on behalf of the state of Oregon. Mickelson, a much-loved local star who grew up playing Torrey Pines, made his hometown of San Diego an offer it couldn't refuse nearly three years ago when he offered to waive his normal design fee in order to plan and oversee an overdue upgrade and redesign of Torrey's North Course. The design fee wasn't the only appeal; Mickelson won over the hearts and minds of local golfers and San Diego's Golf Advisory Board members with his vow to leave the North course playable for mere mortals while at the same time making it more challenging for the pros who visit every winter for the Farmers Invitational PGA Tour stop and improving the overall course aesthetics and conditioning. That promise was almost certainly more important than the price to San Diegans who are still lamenting the tortuous redesign inflicted on the South Course by Rees Jones and the irony of the two political setbacks is twofold. Both projects contained large doses of the common good for their local constituencies in their conception and planning, and in both cases, the administrative rulings came very late in the planning process. 2 The Pellucid PersPecTive October 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - October 2015

TOC
Bureaucracy torpedoes 2 course construction projects
Affordable golf: What’s the problem?
PGA TOUR “Changing of the Guard:” Can the young guns revive participation and demand?
Diners and golfers alike bring new service expectations to the table today
September golf weather impact: A “push” for the month vs. ’14
Miami golf OK, but no day at the beach

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