The Pellucid Perspective - May 2016 - (Page 17)
THE LAST WORD
From the sublime to the ridiculous
or a sport frequently critiqued by
the general public as stodgy, tradition-bound and elitist, golf and
its golf courses certainly seem to produce
their share of bizarre situations. The prolific, informative and often downright
hilarious reports of various mishaps and
misdeeds involving golf, golfers and the
law that appear regularly in the Golf Dispute Resolution posts of attorney/mediator and golfer Rob Harris would be proof
of that by themselves. (If you don't receive
those in your email, signing up and reading them with your morning coffee will
either provide you with food for thought,
start your day with a good laugh, or have
you speed dialing your attorney to make
sure you don't end up in a future post).
In addition to Rob's reports, sometimes
a golf-related story comes along that is
either too good to be true or too true to
One from the first category popped
up in my email box on March 31st this
year. An announcement from San Diego area-based management company
JC Golf trumpeted the introduction of
a ground-breaking new food & beverage
on-course delivery service at the Rancho Bernardo Inn golf course, one of 11
courses managed by JC Golf in SoCal ground-breaking in the sense that food
and drink ordered by golfers during their
rounds could now be delivered by a server
arriving at the designated tee via zip line!
The story went into considerable detail
regarding the new service, with quotes
from the facility's general manager describing the zip line tower placements,
the heating and cooling capabilities of
the airborne servers' delivery packs, the
anticipated delivery time, and the rush
from the Inn's F&B staff to participate.
Sensing an interesting story opportunity, I couldn't wait to contact John McNair, JC Golf 's VP of Golf and a longtime friend, for more details. Then, just as I
was scrolling through my phone's contacts
list to hit McNair's number, it hit me March 31 is one day short of April Fool's
Day! Oh, OK, I get it - very tricky, John,
to break this out a day ahead of time. Just
to make sure, I did leave McNair a voicemail asking for confirmation that indeed it
was a fake, released one day early to catch
the calendar-unaware folks napping. Sure
enough, he called back chuckling, admitting the ruse and adding, "Are you serious?
Our lawyers won't even let us put GolfBoards on the course, and we've looked
into every aspect of that, so you think
they'd let us put people on zip lines?"
As those of you who read this publication front-to-back know (as opposed to
the untold thousands who scroll straight
to the back page where this column resides), I was recently made aware of one
of the "too true to be good" story types.
I have to fess up that my sister turned
me onto the repurposing story of the
year taking place at the former Candywood Golf Course in Vienna, OH which
is chronicled earlier in this issue. When
she mentioned during an email exchange
that I should ask her about what happened to the course where her Friday
afternoon ladies' golf league typically
played, I assumed that it was more of the
same that was new to her but all too familiar to those of us in the industry: another under-performing course that was
closing to become housing, commercial
or industrial development. I should have
known that my sis had a better eye for
news than that.
As noted in the earlier story, the owners of Candywood in their infinite wisdom had conceived a backup plan in case
no buyer for their course surfaced with
an offer they couldn't refuse for their approximately 280 acres. As things evolved,
they actually received an offer at or very
near their asking price for the property
from a buyer who envisioned either commercial or industrial development there.
Meanwhile, perhaps influenced by the
father-in-law of one of the ownership
principals who just happened to operate a deer ranch, the Candywood owners turned down the purchase offer and
set about securing a permit from a pair
of Ohio state agencies to operate a hunt-
ing preserve on the property. After quieting local opposition with rumors that
the property was going to become a bed
& breakfast with a "game preserve" surrounding it, the owners revealed the hole
card that it would instead be a hunting preserve, offering native whitetail
deer (supplied by guess who?), as well
as distinctly non-native species including bison (who knew they were hiding
in Ohio from the native Americans and
other buffalo hunters?), elk, boar and others. All of those, by the way, available for
plugging in a relatively confined killing
ground, for prices ranging up to $14,500
for a trophy whitetail.
That curveball revealed, protests
erupted, but to no avail - the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the
state's Department of Agriculture had
already issued permits that trumped any
local authority, so apparently residents
will have to live with the renamed Candywood Whitetail Ranch until at least
April of next year when the Dept. of Agriculture permit will be up for renewal.
Unlike most "hunting preserves" which
I'm aware of (hmm, is "hunting preserves"
an oxymoron?), Candywood is bounded
on one side by a residential development,
and on another by a busy 4-lane highway.
Although that deer rancher-cum fatherin-law defended the safety aspects of the
project by pointing out that the hunters
would be escorted by guides and then
parked aloft in tree stands and thus firing
earthward, it occurs to me that an errant
shot hitting a hard object could end up
lodged in someone's child or the head of
a passing motorist.
So, while zip line delivery of a cheeseburger or a six-pack may involve some
hazards in its own right, those pale in
comparison to a high powered bullet
ricochet interrupting someone's morning
commute or family breakfast. Given my
choice of unlikely golf course uses, I'll be
waiting on the next tee for my zip line
delivery rather than zipping up my kevlar
vest as I sit down for breakfast at home.
The Pellucid PersPecTive
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - May 2016
USGA member engagement initiative: A golden opportunity or will the goose get cooked?
Rising tide of third party management good for the industry?
Bogeys become bison, boar and deer at former Ohio course
Path to course performance benchmarking difficult, but not impossible
April golf weather impact; Giving back some of Q1 gains
Motown operators facing uphill but possible climb
From the sublime to the ridiculous
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2016