Whether it was an intentionally cagey move or just appears that way because of its implications, OPA General Manager Bob Thompson’s suggestion that the needed golf course repairs be covered by selling lifetime memberships was a masterstroke. Whether it is a good or even practical idea to try and get 40 people to commit to spending $25,000 all in one chunk is not even the real point.
What is the point, and an important one, is the first public admission that the more than 8,000 OPA property owners who do not hold golf memberships are getting tired of signing off on a course that has been a money pit for the last decade or so.
The community goes around and around every now and again over what will be done to cut costs or drive revenue to make the golf course a little more self-sustaining. There is no question that the playing experience has to be improved, but as memberships fall off all over the region, outside play income cannot be expected to be sufficient to pay for an overhaul.
By signaling that management is considering finding a way to get the needed work done without tapping the general membership, the focus can be directed at the possibilities rather than the problems. Who pays how much to keep the golf course afloat is an argument that has long been in need of reframing and the new direction may have just come in the nick of time.