Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Golf Too Important For Private Sector


By Winsip Custer  CPW News Services

     All across America with the decline of the housing bubble there was an accompanying decline of the private golf and country club.  It’s hard to imagine that in 2008 the impact of golf on the U.S. economy was $195 billion, but there is a disturbing decline in golf and some say the accompanying death of the American middle class.

    “Golf at St. Andrews in Scotland was created by the Brits to teach the followers of William Wallace to swing something other than their Claymoor swords.  Better that the blue faced warriors take their warring to the links instead of to the exclusive districts of urban England,” said golf’s famed historian Sir Issac ‘Gimme’ A. Mulligan.
     Golf’s impact has been greater than the motion picture industry on the U.S. economy.  “People focus their anger on a small white ball and bash it using just the right mixture of skill, force, control and angst,” said Mulligan whose great, great, great grandfather once beaned an English nobleman with his putter and was drawn and quartered by King James.
     “The disturbing trend is that more and more country clubs are closing and as they do people start looking for more and more brutal ways of appeasing the sporting deities.  Why else have marshal arts and guns sales risen in direct correlation to the number of country clubs closed in recent years?" asked Mulligan.
     The Hampshire’s 18-hole course on Long Island Sound closed in 2008 and while members cited rising costs upward of $25,000 a year for membership, its membership dropped to less than 100 and it simply had to close. 

   “I use to swing a golf club,” said Jeremy Stubbens a former member who now practices his marshal arts skills on week nights while shooting his new AK-47 at a nearby rifle range on Saturdays.

     I’m not sure that it is anything people think consciously about,” said Stubbens.  “But my friends and I felt like American business wasn’t rewarding us like it used to for the long hours and dedication we put in for the company.  We found it harder and harder to come up with the membership fees when our kids were being stuck with high interest education loans and healthcare benefits were shrinking.  It could well be that golf is the canary in the mine for the middle class.  When golf wains, revolution is not far behind.”
     Jay Mottola, an executive with the Metropolitan Golf Association that represents 120,000 golfers and 500 golf clubs in the New York City area, believes that golf's decline is related to economic conditions and now to Hurricane Sandy. 

   “Unless you like playing in water hazards you’re up a creek without a paddle,” said another golfer, Stan Bobolinker, from San Diego, California, who grew up on the links in Hoboken, New Jersey and whose favorite golfing song is Frank Sinatra's My Way.  “Even regions that were once golf Meccas like California, Arizona, Nevada and Florida have been hard hit,” said Bobolinker.

     “In 2009 about 140 of 16,000 golf facilities in the country closed and 50 opened,” said Greg Nathan, a vice president of the National Golf Foundation which represents 4,000 golf courses throughout the U.S..
     The average club membership for Metropolitan Gold Association’s courses is just under $50,000 with annual dues of $10,500. 

 “I had to make a choice between paying my church tithe, which we pay right off the top and which comes out to about 1% of our annual family income after taxes and expenses,” said Mrs. Monica Constantine Pope, an avid woman’s golf enthusiast from Dominion, Florida.

     In 2000, the National Golf Foundation estimated that 518.4 million rounds of golf were played.  In eight years that number was down to 489.1 million.  In 2005 there were 30 million golfers and by 2008 just 28.6 million.
     Meanwhile local public golf courses have experienced a type of Renaissance as former private club members have moved to the public courses to avoid losing their beloved golf altogether.

    "Golf is too important to be left to the private sector,” said Howard Baines Trump of Trump, Trump and Folder, a West Coast golf consultant.  “There are some things that big government can do that cannot be done by the private sector,” said Trump.  “When you think of the incredible land masses needed for golf clubs and the upkeep needed through water, fertilizers, electricity, mowers, maintenance people and the like, these are things best left, like NASA’s taking us to the moon and beyond, to a collective governmental effort,” said Trump.
     Meanwhile, leaders of several Indian Nations and their reservation's spokespersons are looking into seeking from the federal government funding for new mixed-market golf clubs where the courses are kept in perpetuity by contributions of each of the clubhouses that are adjacent to the common courses and charge a range of membership fees and dues according to the services provided and perquisites of the individual club houses.  One Indian golf club in the Northwest offers memberships at a fourth of the cost of their privatized neighbors, but all clubs must bear tribal names according to Little Johnny Falcon Talon of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Indians of Vancouver.

    In Southern Idaho the Sioux Nation has offered a similar proposal at its Little Big Horn Country Club where Fortune 500's leading executives are offered a buy-one-get-one-free membership at the Sitting Bull Club.  "We shoot the bull on the course and sit in the club and shoot the bull some more," said Little Big Horn's director of development, John Custer "Rising Red Feathers" Cushing, who traces his lineage to both George Armstrong Custer and Sitting Bull.

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