The Pellucid Perspective - May 2016 - (Page 17)

THE LAST WORD From the sublime to the ridiculous F 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 be good. 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. -Jim Dunlap The Pellucid PersPecTive 17

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