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A discussion was opened at the Joint Advisory Committee on Golf last week that may include the entire community. On Wednesday, POA general manager Tom Judson asked the committee to consider closing the nine-hole Brittany golf course.

The course, he said, is not well used and the rounds have dropped since the nine holes at Berksdale opened after the 2017 flooding. Before the flood in April 2017, Berksdale was an 18-hole course but repairing flood damage was considered too expensive and the course was redesigned as a nine-hole course. Judson said he believes some of the nine-hole golfers who would have played Brittany find Berksdale a flatter, easier course.

There are two groups that play exclusively on Brittany, golf operations director Darryl Muldoon said, but they can be scheduled at Berksdale.

Judson presented rounds numbers for the past three years and explained that he's not confident that numbers before 2016 are accurate. He also cautioned the committee that, because of the change to Berksdale in 2017, it's hard to compare the numbers.

The Brittany rounds decreased from 8,346 in 2016 to 5,819 in 2018. The total revenue dropped from $79,533 to $50,154. If the Brittany course became a park, the POA would save $45,800 annually in maintenance fees.

Since Brittany shares a clubhouse and crew with the 18-hole Dogwood Course, no POA employees would lose their jobs.

Judson said he expects to hear members reminisce about good times on the course, but nostalgia isn't a good reason to spend money on a golf course.

Board member David Whelchel, a liaison to the committee, said he lives on what was once the sixth hole of the Branchwood Golf Course. He was not on the board when that course was closed, but he believes it was the best option.

"No one really misses the course," he said of his neighbors. He believes property values in his neighborhood have gone up since the course became a popular walking trail.

Besides consulting the JAC, Judson also plans to hold a public meeting and get the community's opinion. A meeting could be held in mid-May, he suggested. Since the board election will be complete in late May, he expects the current board won't consider the plan. If the new board approves the idea, Brittany would probably stay open this season and close for good in the fall.

During his regular report, Muldoon told the committee that the total number of rounds played was down in March when compared to last year, but rainy weather was part of the problem. While revenue and rounds are both down, merchandise sales are up. He expects more members to buy their annual passes as the season progresses.

Muldoon also announced a new tournament that he described as "a good time." The tournament, called "A Shot in the Dark," will be a fundraiser for local high school golf teams. Bella Vista's first nighttime tournament, it will take place at the Highlands on Friday, April 19, beginning with dinner and music at 6:30.

General News on 04/17/2019

Print Headline: POA discusses closing Brittany course

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