Over the past two years, as a member of the Short Beach Commission which oversees the golf course I have watched as both the operations and maintenance people have tried to bring Stratford's golf course back to life.
Promises were made by town departments -- chairs and table with umbrellas, new cart paths around the course, more help for the maintenance department.
Not much happened. And Short Beach Golf Course is in debt.
As the only entity in town charged with being self-sustaining and needing to make a profit, the Short Beach Commission and the new head of the parks department needed a new direction, a new intensity...
That intensity has arrived.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) sent an inspection team to the course, spent hours with the Superintendent of Greens and the answers to turning this course around came: "More manpower is needed to get this course into playable shape and keep it in playable shape."
The town is strapped for cash, departments have been eliminating positions, taxes went up -- is it time for a town-owned enterprise to increase its workforce?
Absolutely. Find other ways around town to cut but this golf course is important to the town. It brings in people from the outside and by shining it up it becomes the "gem of the town."
The PASSION and the golfers will only come back if the USGA plan is followed and the course enlarges to an executive course of 2200 to 2500 yards (add 3 par 4/5s).
When the maintenance department at the course was cut from 5 to 4, someone on that current commission should have seen that it would only lead to where we are today. That, in my opinion, was short-sighted.
The current Short Beach Commission is, with the USGA report in hand, ready to bring the passion back. The first step was the USGA coming to the course. The second step is to put together a business model for the course that will work. That means a business and marketing plan which the Town Council would need to read and understand.
At least 2 more skilled, full-time course workers and starting a summer intern program for 3 to 4 students from local high school agriculture programs.
In the long run the course should be able to pay for the increase in full-time and seasonal workers.
To not increase the maintenace crew dooms this course to failure. Two workers cannot take care of a 31-acre course.
Bottom line...make the course playable and the golfers will come.
Let's bring the passion back not just to Short Beach Golf Course but to the entire Short Beach Complex.