Still No Plan for Declining Brigantine Golf Course

Letter to the Editor, from Gary Shea of Brigantine > Now that summer is over, I would imagine that the residents of Brigantine will start thinking about the upcoming Eagles season and of course, the upcoming local elections.  I hope our local candidates will not turn this year’s ‘silly season’ into the ‘food fight’ that we have been seeing on a national level.

There are many important issues to worked out locally with none being as important as the situation with the golf course. Despite the best efforts of the people who work for the County, the City and those who work at the golf course on a daily basis, it continues to flounder in both play and revenue and the number of people requesting it as part of a golf trip to the area has dipped to an after thought. Any attempt on the part of any current member of city council or the city administration to paint a different picture, is either disingenuous or simply ignorant.

Why is the Links at Brigantine Golf course an important issue?

Because it is one of the top attractions on the island but at the same time, it is also becoming a dead weight on the municipal budget.  There is a very good chance that when all is said and done, it will be the citizens of Brigantine that will have paid the entire $4 million dollar plus price tag for the golf course … not exactly what they were promised when the golf course was purchased.

For those who are involved in Brigantine Real Estate, a ‘quality’ golf course is a great attraction which invites qualified prospective home buyers and renters to not only play golf but to take a literal tour of the island on the way to the golf course.  For those who live on the golf course, having a better golf course can only increase the value of their homes.

Brigantine Residents should demand that each party have a long term plan for the golf course and it should be a little more than “Let’s pay it off first and then we’ll see” or “Vote for me and I’ll make it great again.”

The golf course still needs a large investment to remain competitive and work its way back to some sort of profitability.  The irrigation system still needs a large investment to replace the pump controllers and the thousands of feet of old PVC pipe that run under the ground.  Golf course drainage issues still exist that limit the amount of potential play and revenue for the golf course.  An expanded club house could draw larger outings and the issues with the F&B contractors has to be worked out so that a smoother transition from contractor to contractor exists. This year’s contractor did not even get a liquor license until I believe, June.

Of most importance, a competitive marketing budget must be established and continued.

If you make the major improvements necessary to keep the golf course competitive within the market and an attraction to those visiting the area, you need to let everyone know and that costs money.

In addition, with the option of a long term lease pretty much off the table, the city should consider bringing in a professional golf course management company to oversee the improvements, upgrades and marketing.

But of most importance, the people running for office in Brigantine should be able to tell you all of this before you consider voting for them.  It is the least that they as candidates should give you and you as residents should demand.

Gary Shea

Brigantine