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Flagler Beach Golf Course Struggles On, But City Declares Re-Evaluation Committee Premature

| June 18, 2018

Flagler Beach's nine-hole golf course has been struggling to attract players. (c FlaglerLive)

Flagler Beach’s nine-hole golf course has been struggling to attract players. (c FlaglerLive)

The Flagler Beach City Commission can’t figure out what to do with the city-owned but privately run golf course at the south end of town as the course continues to struggle to attract players. It’s not even clear–to the commission, to the management group or to players–whether the nine-hole course meets playing standards.

For now, the commission has decided to do nothing and hope for the best, a decision that leaves the property in the same sort of uncertain limbo it’s been since last fall, when it was torn up by Hurricane Irma and a major city stormwater project.

The course is lease to Flagler Golf Management, a small organization financed by South Florida realtor Terry McManus and run locally by course manager Duwayne McDaniel and his son Craig McDaniel. The course shut down when Irma struck and remained closed afterward as the city dug through its grounds for a new drainage system. At one point the city threatened to sever its lease with the management group but eventually backed down.

The course’s new, $50,000 sprinkler system the city paid for was completed only last week. Most holes remain unplayable though. One player compared them to playing on concrete. After months of clashing with the city over accusations that it was not meeting its end of the lease, Golf Management has been paying its bills, but the course has remained more dormant than active.

In early May Commissioner Kim Carney proposed invoking a section of the lease that would give the city authority to appoint a “Golf Course Resolution Committee.” The six or seven-member committee would include representatives of the commission, of Golf Management and the community. Its mission would be to “identify the inadequacies” of the operation and develop solutions, with a focus on “reasonably acceptable” standards. Commissioners agreed to go that route.

Last Thursday, commissioners changed their mind.

Commissioner Marshall Shupe said the committee was premature. He favored hiring an independent third party to evaluate “what should the course look like and how should it be functioning. At that time, it may be appropriate to form a committee.” (Shupe was not at last Thursday’s meeting. He submitted his proposal in writing.)

If at first a majority of commissioners seemed to agree, even that proposal was eventually set aside.

“The way the make-up of the committee was described, it does favor one side over the other,” Commissioner Jane Mealy said, rejecting Carney’s approach. “And although we shouldn’t be [taking] sides, we should all be working to the same aim but it doesn’t look like we are. I would rather a professional look at it before we start talking about anything.”

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“My only problem with getting a report from a professional is they don’t know the whole history and what’s reasonable and acceptable” at that particular property, Carney said.

“What if we let this golf course get to the end of the growing season and just table this until fall when the growing season is over and we have a better idea how this course is going to manage it,” Commissioner Eric Cooley said. In May, he’d referred to renewed attempts at looking over the management company’s shoulders as a “witch hunt.”

“They have yet to manage it without disasters on their hand,” Colley continued. “We just recently as a city got their irrigation to 100 percent, so we haven’t given them a growing season yet. We’re at the beginning of it, if we just give them to the end, we can then make a call about forming a committee.”

Mayor Linda Provencher noted the management group is paying the bills, mowing, maintaining the course. ‘If they’re paying their rent and they’re not coming to the city for money and they’re not bugging you,” she told City Manager Larry Newsom, they should be left alone. Commiss Chairman Rick Belhumeur said any movement on the city’s part would be premature without giving the company a chance to make it.

“So if you don’t want to do it through committee,” Carney said, “and you don’t want to take the advice of other golf course management professionals, then I don’t want to hear anymore complaints from the general public, because I’m not going to listen to them, because there’s nothing we can do. Were locked in a lease, we can’t set standards, all they have to do is pay the bills and they’re officially a golf course, is basically we’re saying. I hope they play there, I hope they have a good golf season. The community needs to know that we’re locked. We’re locked, and we’re sorry that we’re locked.”

16 Responses for “Flagler Beach Golf Course Struggles On, But City Declares Re-Evaluation Committee Premature”

  1. Louie knows says:

    nothing new here…. Carney hasn’t a clue and the rest with no guts to make a business decision. disgusting already !

  2. Anonymous says:

    Flagler Beach board is sounding just as disfunctional of that of the county, Bunnell and Palm Coast. What a waste of time and money-money Flagler Beach can’t afford! If the golf courses in the populated areas of the county have failed, why would anyone in their right mind think one in Flagler Beach would be a success??? You can’t fix stupid.

  3. Scott Olsen says:

    Go Dwayne! If anybody can pull it off you can.

  4. Stephen Smith says:

    Having played the course recently. And having played off and on since it was re opened as a golf course. I have to say I have seen steady improvement in the playability of the course. It is unreasonable to expect that a course left fallow and neglected for years could be transformed overnight to top level playing condition in a short period of time without a major influx of capital. Completion of the new sprinkler system is a good step towards the final revival of the course. But it will take additional time to reach fruition. I hope that the city can see that and be patient. When complete the restoration of the course will make it once again a fun course to play and a benefit to the community.

  5. Shark says:

    Spend millions like holland park and create another white elephant like the town center !!!

  6. Mothersworry says:

    Let’s give the folks who lease it a chance to run it. They have had to contend with a hurricane and having the course dug up. Some are screaming for a 5 star course overnight. They have yet to have a growing season to help improve the course. Commissioner’s Cooley and Mealy as well as Mayor Provencher have it right. Leave them alone to run it and judge the results fairly

  7. Anonymous says:

    Stop the insanity——run the city and leave golf courses up to private citizens. The city is in over their head—they know nothing about developing or maintaining a golf course. We need a golf course like we need another bar.

  8. Bob says:

    Look , just shut it down and make it useful as a big retention lake. That place is a dog track not a golf course. Flagler Beach commisioners are sleeping at the wheel. The place is an eyesore like many of the properties at the beach.

  9. Mothersworry says:

    Some may want to get their info correct before they abuse their keyboard.

    The city does not run the golf course. The golf course is leased.

  10. palmcoastpioneer says:

    Flagler Beach OWNS the Golf Club. Consequently as Owners Flagler Beach CAN start the application process for a official State of Florida Historic Heritage MARKER.

    We’re doing it with the Palm Coast Golf Club a.k.a. Palm Harbor Golf Club !

    If APPROVED, Flagler Beach can then applic for Grants $$$ for revenue. If approved they can request that it be included in the State of Florida Historic Golf Trail for increased visibility.

    Contingent upon the results of the above Flagler Beach can also pursue a Historic MARKER for ‘ The Pier’ and seek Grant$$$ as another revenue stream.

  11. Squeakyff says:

    The counsel just wants to see it fail, if the equipment and such is owned by the city then they need to step up and repair or replace the pieces that are junk, you can’t maintain and get a good playing course without the right equipment.

  12. atilla says:

    Speaking of golf courses has anyone heard how Palm Harbor is doing financially since the city took it over?

  13. Shark says:

    Has anything the county or town taken over ever been successful ?????????????????

  14. Anonymous says:

    Golf courses don’t benefit but a handful of people, the city has no business even doing this—this is a waste of our tax dollars!! Let the golf course go and make decisions that will benefit us all!!!

  15. palmcoastpioneers says:

    Flagler Beach – I can’t find out if Flagler Beach is a certified local government; does anyone know if it is?
    If not, every year that passes a lot of additional revenue is being lost because Flagler Beach isn’t.
    Again, even more revenue is being lost.

  16. Anonymous says:

    GRANT MONEY is still tax dollars!! It isn’t money that falls out of the sky! Bottom line is, stop wasting tax dollars on a golf course when there are more golf courses in this county than need be now! If you have money to waste on golf courses city commission, how about clean up the run down little city and make more beach amenities!

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