Simpson on Brigantine Golf Course & FEMA

On Wednesday night, about 200 gathered for a State of the 1st Ward. Brigantine Republican councilman; Andy Simpson, invited residents, friends and neighbors to the clubhouse at our city golf course. It was an important update on 2 key issues: the new FEMA flood maps & the future of ‘The Links’ golf course.

Here’s a sample of topics discussed:

  • City engineer; Ed Stinson, updated attendees on newly revised FEMA flood maps and answered audience questions. Many were pleased at these maps & V-Zones.

Next up, The Golf Course. Hot topic of the night.

  • Course lost $42,000 last year. Golf course revenue has continued to suffer due to lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy on north end of Island. The Links was out of commission for a time, a fact that many other NJ courses in the area had to deal with during storm clean-up period.
  • In 5 years, City of Brigantine will have paid off debt, and will take full ownership of ‘The Links’ golf course.
  • Residents of 1st ward, and those in attendance were unanimous: they want golf course to stay in City hands, for the City to keep fixing it up, and for the City to ramp up plans to use it as potentially large source of retail tax revenue in future.
  • 1st ward citizens believe golf course has direct, positive impact on property values.
  • Gary Shea, (part-time resident who rents in 4th ward & sells Links golf packages) thought course needed lot’s of work. Local residents didn’t agree. They believe course condition is making come back, even though reports suggest City hasn’t invested to maintain this municipal asset since Hurricane Sandy.
  • Councilman Simpson asked: Would you consider long term deal with company to lease, repair and improve course? Not easy question to answer.
  • Drainage has been north end issue long before golf course existed, and well before most development in the area. Since Brigantine is built on a sand bar, there’s always drainage issues in the area. Residents know risk/reward of living in this beautiful section of Island.
  • Citizens from 1st ward want golf course maintained, and this City asset improved, without delay.
  • Clubhouse has some roof leaks which everyone believed should be corrected asap. Ernie Purdy; Director of Public Works, is working with The Links to correct issues, however, more City Council cooperation is necessary.
  • Mike Lange Sr., (owned course in 70’s) said his ownership group invested substantial funds to improve course. When he sold to American Golf, new owners put almost 4 million into improvements.
  • Mayor Guenther addressed audience. Together with Councilman Simpson, they’re working on plan to get state grant for course upgrades. Seems this wasn’t already applied for. They made call to office of Congressman LoBiondo. Application paperwork now getting started.
  • Democratic council members Pullella, Kern and McClay popped in for a look-see. Pretty sure it wasn’t for the yummy appetizers.

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6 thoughts on “Simpson on Brigantine Golf Course & FEMA”

  1. STOP the insanity!

    Golf course is nice asset for the Island and those that live in that area… BUT only IF it’s properly marketed to golfers and properly maintained.

    It should be SOLD or LEASED at a profit. I don’t want my TAXES going for a golf course, especially in these fiscally strained times. Plans should be made to contact similar courses in other states- and actively market it.

    OR how about this- SPORTS figures like to buy such investments…. How about contacting Phillies, Flyers, Sixers?

    C’mon folks- let’s make this course something to write about! but NOT as a city holding…. The city has PROVED that they aren’t in the golf business (thru the losses and failure to properly maintain) and WE do not want to be in the golf business either.

    SELL it to someone that knows how to do that. Put stipulation in the Sale that it MUST remain a golf course….. OH, and collect TAXES on it….

  2. Most of South Jersey and especially Atlantic City visitors don’t know Brigantine has a golf course. Most Brigantiners don’t know there’s a restaurant on the course (at the clubhouse) Pathetic!

  3. If you want people to play there, you have to invest in the course.

    I came to play there on Memorial Day weekend and the course was in bad shape. We had a group of 18 play there and the consensus afterwards was to pick a different course for next year (these guys do an overnight golf trip every year to AC). We rented a house in Brigantine overnight and spent money there.

    If it’s not maintained you will feel it. Fix it up. Advertise the hell out of the thing. Have someone else run and maintain it. It needs works and isn’t as nice as a lot of the other courses in the area.

  4. There should be proforma done on the golf course from the time City has owned it, and look at bottom line for that time period.

    An analysis should be completed and see how much of the $42,000 annual loss last year came from the inability to use the course in November and December. I’ve asked this question at a City Council meeting and the numbers were not available at the time.

    Then, an analysis should be done to determine potential performance Golf course when city owns it outright in 4-5 years, with no obligation other than maintenance and annual improvements.

    The statistics should be shared with the citizens. In the meantime improve the asset as necessary and market it accordingly. This is a unique course and should be marketed as such.

    I understand that there may be someone interested in leasing it on a long term lease for $150,000 per year. That sounds pretty cheap considering that the golf course can generate a profit of $400,000 annually based on current revenue if nothing else was done. So that does not sound like a solution to me. There is a concern if someone comes in and leases it, that the course fees will be substantially higher. Would we lease out the management of the beach and have a company charge dramatically higher fees?

    We should wait and see how much grant money is available from the state to address the golf course issues after Sandy. There was talk that several million dollars may be available from the state to improve the asset since it is owned by the City. There should be much more information gathered and research done before a decision is made rashly.

    Don’t give away the store. If Golf course is leased to an outside company, they should be paying more like $400K annually.

  5. If leased to an outside company, a clause can be put in for preferential rates for residents.

  6. Has anyone ever seen a certified financial statement on the golf course? If it does not exist then bring in a CPA to do a complete review of the books including debt service for the time period the city has owned it. That is the only way anyone can make an informed decision.

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