In his letter (“Reader offers alternative to watering courses,” Sun City West Independent, July 7, 2021), writer Terry Burks opines on the topic of Sun City West golf courses, our water usage and his idea to shut down one of the courses and sell off the land to developers.
I admire Mr. Burks for his willingness to buck the system while he was on the Finance Committee before he was made persona non grata by the establishment. But any notion of shutting down a golf course and selling off the land has as much value as a ticket for the second voyage of the Titanic. If his suggestions were primarily about saving water, the community needs to know our courses are already in the hands of two highly capable people — Dan Maurer and Todd Patty.
Given the extended drought period we have been in for years, they are both doing an amazing job. Our course conditions are second to none and I speak from first-hand knowledge as an avid golfer.
Mr. Burks is correct that the courses run a deficit. However, the projected “subsidy” amount for the 2020-21 budget year is roughly $32 per resident, assuming 28,000 cardholders, and budgeted at about $59 for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2021 — not nearly the frightening amounts most residents who do not understand golf think they are.
Given management’s continued propensity to grossly over estimate the salaries and wages budget for golf operations — we never do hire all the maintenance workers we “think” we are going to hire — I have no doubt that projected 2021-22 deficit is far too high anyway. Mr. Burks would do far more good if he directed his comments at the bloated staffing within golf operations itself.
We continue to employ six well-paid PGA pros under the guise of them being “instructors,” when I have no doubt we could make do with half that many. As for how many other staffers are employed within golf ops itself, that’s a true mystery, along with how much value add there really is.
The real golden fleece within this community will be uncovered when someone with courage does a deep dive into the “Recreation Division.” Ask why it’s budgeted to show an operating deficit of nearly $6 million in the current fiscal year, why it costs the residents so much to have all this “recreation,” and then starts a genuine rationalization program.
I’m certain my opinion is not highly popular, but until such time as club members are required to cover the cost of their clubs from the club dues they pay, we will continue throwing money down that hole, so maybe 75% of the residents cover the cost of the hobbies and pastimes of 25% of residents — if it’s even that high.
In closing, we should all thank those responsible for bringing the Lizard Acres Pub to Sun City West, and making it even easier for residents in golf cars to drive drunk. If you think that’s not happening all the time, you’re sadly mistaken.
Sun City West