Close the golf course? Drain the lake?

If you don’t want to pay for those amenities via the property owner association fees and various membership dues, then you should not buy at Lake Monticello. If children annoy you, you should go to an age restricted community, not live at Lake Monticello. The meager dues we currently pay to live in a community with so many amenities pales in comparison to any other community supported by association fees.
You don’t need me to tell you the negative impact the economy has had on our property values and our wallets. However, things are finally beginning to pick up. Home values are slowly coming back, home sales are increasing and the unemployment rate is getting slightly lower.
Lake Monticello Golf Course is the only golf course remaining in Fluvanna County. The Rivanna Golf Course (formerly Laurel Ridge) closed over a year ago. Spring Creek Golf Course in Troy will be turning into a private course, which eliminates yet another course that was accessible to people in this area.
Yes, golf is a struggling industry. What industry is not struggling in these trying times? Yes, we need to increase the financial return of this golf course. We finally took a step in the right direction by enlisting the services of Billy Casper Golf just a year and a half ago. Prior to Casper, the course had been neglected, improperly maintained and conditions were deplorable. This downward spiral was due to lack of funding and improper maintenance of the course. Our new course superintendent Jim and his staff have done an excellent job bringing back the condition of the course and they have made innumerable other esthetic improvements, but our reputation is still suffering. We need continual investment in the course infrastructure, equipment and labor. But more than that we need to continue to target golfers and potential golfers. We have successful programs currently in place that are doing just that. Flo Mark’s has been instrumental in bringing new women to the course with her Pink Flamingo program. Participants are provided with background and skills training on rules, etiquette and values, and a series of introductory lessons in small groups. Golfers then transition to on-going playing opportunities. Mark Marshall offers clinics for beginners as well and promotes the course with occasional tours of the course for interested persons. We have Golfers Social Foundation that promotes a wonderful youth golf program. Mark Marshall is invaluable as our Golf Professional and should be commended on his performance.
We need to have a plan to maximize the financial return from our golf course. The fact is we have many people living within our community and from outside the community that enjoy our course. The golf course is actually the most-used amenity on a daily basis than the other amenities. The answer is not to close it but to promote it. Our community has outgrown the current clubhouse as can be witnessed when the Newcomers and Old Friends group meets there. This community and the county needs a banquet facility that can be used for weddings, private parties and community events. The current dilapidated pro shop which was a temporary building for the sales office, is a structure that was intended to be torn down once the community was built out. There is property on the golf course just waiting for such a structure. Now is the time to upgrade our community not destroy it. Lake Monticello is very similar to another community called Lake of the Woods which has proven itself to manage its affairs in a more efficient way, make the necessary upgrades to its community and be successful. We need to learn more from them. There is absolutely no reason why our community cannot succeed and with the golf course intact. The solution is to invest in a banquet facility that can subsidize the golf course. No golf course can be profitable on golf alone.
My husband and I bought our property here because it was a community that included different activities for a variety of interests, a community that did not have cookie-cutter homes but a variety of styles, a community of different ethnicity and income levels and a community that was not age restricted. We did not move here to see our playgrounds and basketball courts restricted from use by our youngsters because someone is worried about them as a “liability”. We did not come here to live on a glorified walking path or dog run instead of a golf course. And we paid for golf front property.
If ever a proposal is made to close this course and it happens, I’ll be first on the list of people ready to bring suit against the board for taking that action! What next? Should we drain the lake? Let’s see how that affects the property values of lake front owners and the entire community as well!

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