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GRF Board stays course with hours for golfers and walkers

By Cathy Tallyn

Staff writer


Residents can continue to walk the Creekside Golf Course during twilight hours, at least for the time being.

After reviewing hundreds of emails and listening to residents’ comments, the GRF Board decided last Thursday to allow walkers to remain on the nine-hole course after 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. (With golf usually closed on Mondays, walkers are allowed on both courses that day.) But the Board will revisit the issue at its July 30 meeting.

The Board weighed the loss of golf revenue with residents’ need to exercise, especially since the Fitness Center is still closed during this pandemic.

As much as $7,680 or as little as $1,500 a week in revenue could be lost with Creekside play ending at 2 p.m.

“We’re not getting the numbers of walkers we got early on and we could fill the course with golfers,” said Director of Golf Mark Heptig. “They are part of the community.”

Golfers enjoy the sport for the same reasons residents enjoy walking the Creekside course cart paths — they’re flat and people like the fresh air and exercise, he said.

Director Kathleen Stumpfel suggested a compromise, to allow walkers to stay on the Creekside Course until the Fitness Center reopens. “It looks like it could be open in early July,” said Jeff Matheson, director of Residents Services. “It should happen fairly soon.”

Director Sue Adams emphasized the need to restore full golf play as soon as possible.

“A lot of people buy property in here because the golf course is in it,” she said. “What are we going to do, turn it into a park?”

Board members Dale Harrington and Carl Brown advocated for leaving the current temporary walking schedule in place.

“There are so many unknowns,” Brown said. “It (walking) should continue and we make a decision later.”

Relaxing some golf rules

In other action, the Board decided to allow guests to play golf, as long as they are accompanied by a resident. (Currently, sporting activities, such as golf, are limited to residents only.)

Board member Dwight Walker was concerned that residents might not be able to get tee times if they have to compete with guest golfers. “That will not be a problem,” said John McDonnell, chairman of the Golf Advisory Committee, which recommended the Board approve guests.

Guest golf fees generate approximately $240,000 in annual revenue, which represents about 25% of golf revenue.

The Board also decided to allow five tournaments sponsored by outside groups to use the 18-hole Dollar Ranch Golf Course on certain Mondays this year. Those tournaments generate $25,000 in revenue.

Reopening Rossmoor

In other business, the Board decided Rossmoor should have more stringent rules than county health officials have when reopening facilities and amenities.

So far, Rossmoor has no known infections.

“Do you want us to be more careful or strict?” said CEO Tim O’Keefe. “Keep in mind that protocols aren’t fail safe. Every resident has to determine their risk tolerance.”

Stumpfel also noted that the GRF should be mindful about following county guidelines for reopening.

“We can make individual decisions about what we are going to do, but just like a drivers’ license, what you do affects other people,” she said, “so I think we have to be very careful with this population.”

The Board nixed the idea of GRF staff screening visitors entering Rossmoor facilities, taking their temperatures or having them sign a waiver because this would require extra staff. They agreed they could revisit the idea once big events are allowed to restart.

Directors also decided Rossmoor can delay openings for up to 10 days after health officials say they can reopen to allow for guidelines to be drawn up, staff trained and residents notified.

Other business

The Board considered spending $175,000 from the Trust Estate Fund for the next phase of a four-year plan to build a water reclamation plant to supply water to the golf courses. Directors decided to briefly hold off on a decision.

They also delayed discussion of the Board’s goals until next month because Thursday’s meeting was already a long one.

Directors also approved spending $615,000 on the Gateway HVAC system, $6,000 for a canopy to be used for resident events and $2,000 to hire a forester to help with a forest improvement program grant.

The Board approved various three-year committee appointments: Aquatics Advisory, Richard Glessner, Daryl Svoboda and Lisa Hirsch, who fills the one-year remainder of Dale Reynold’s term; Audit, Susan Hildreth, Glenn Orren and Deborah Thomas; Finance, Thomas and Gery Yearout; Fitness Center Advisory, Harriet Crosby, James Grizzell, Catherine Hedering and Virginia Rapp; and Golf Advisory, Michael Wener.