Thursday, March 01, 2007

Cape Coral should work to restore Golf Club

I am in general agreement with Councilman Hair (Feb. 24 guest opinion) that the city of Cape Coral should acquire The Golf Club, although for use as a golf course (I'll get to that in a moment).

First of all, the city should by all means acquire this choice piece of real estate that is an integral part of our history and culture; regardless of what civic use we eventually make of it. It sits in the middle of a neighborhood landlocked by single-family homes. Cape Coral is subdivided into thousands of home sites, offering little opportunity for assembling even an acre of land for public use. Many of our quarter-acre lots are worth $500,000. This 175-acre parcel can probably be bought for $17.5 million, only 1Ú10 the per-acre cost of land for homes.

Chuck Noll, legendary Pittsburgh Steelers coach, always drafted the best athlete available, regardless of his needs at any particular position, and that strategy worked pretty well for him and his football team. Applying that logic, I would call on all of the golfers in Cape Coral (and everyone who lives here for that matter) to unite behind our mayor and council in buying The Golf Club. Then, later on, we can decide how to use it. Even if we golfers don't end up with a golf course, the deal is still a winner; we get a beautiful amenity.

Buying The Golf Club is a no-brainer if there ever was one. Make that our highest priority.

I do disagree with Mr. Hair's assertion that "[e]conomically, a golf course will not work." Prior to its current administration, this layout had one of the highest rounds-per-year of any course in the county. We local golfers just didn't get along very well with Mr. Siler and his partners. They didn't do a very good job running it (in our opinion) and we voted with our feet. Lee County has 3,000 holes of golf. Cape Coral has 54 of them, or 2 percent of the total, but we have 25 percent of the county's population. Most of us have to leave Cape Coral to play golf. Isn't there something wrong with this picture?
Guest Opinion: Andy Ask
Originally posted on March 01, 2007

The additional 18 holes of golf are badly needed in Cape Coral.

My idea would be to shrink the golf course footprint to a par-66 executive length layout. We old duffers are getting short off the tee but long in the pocketbook. Keep us off the roads and toll bridges. Keep us and our money in Cape Coral. With a smaller golf course, there should be room left over for walking and bicycling around the perimeter. Maybe we can bring back lawn bowling and bocce. Maybe we can even bring back the alliterative Cape Coral Country Club name.

Let's buy The Golf Club. Now, before it's too late. Then figure out what to do with it.

— Andy Ask is a 15-year resident of the Cape Coral Yacht Club area (and says he's a gawdawful golfer).