The recent history of “Golf in Boca” has taken many twists and turns, not without controversy. There are many issues with the proposed Boca National Golf Course project that folks should be aware of and that need to be resolved by our elected officials. In a very real way, Boca National is at odds with municipal “Golf in Boca”. As a golfing resident taxpayer, this is how I see it:
We already HAD “Golf in Boca”
Boca has a municipal golf course and it’s very similar to what is being proposed for Boca National Golf Course, only different. Yes, it’s outside the city limits, and it loses a small amount of money every year, but it’s worked for a long time. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Increase taxes just to have “Golf in Boca”? Really?
Without funding from the City, the Boca Greater Beach and Parks District (District) is proposing a tax increase to fund the $28 million construction of Boca National. This is ON TOP OF the District and the City paying $24 million for the defunct Ocean Breeze course in the 1960’s era Boca Teeca neighborhood. Golf in Boca is now at $52 million and growing every day!
Increase taxes to buy a shiny object?
We already had golf in Boca. Why are we raising taxes to get something we already have? Ask yourself “What do golf courses cost?” Osprey Point is a 27 hole public course, very similar to what is being proposed for Boca National. Did it cost anywhere near $52 million? I spent some time researching the average cost of golf courses. The answers are astonishing.
You think losing money at Boca Muni is bad? Wait till it’s “World Class”
Over the next 25 years, the Boca National project, as envisioned, will lose $46 million. See the accompanying article Boca National Golf Course Cash Flow Analysis for details. At $52 million in startup costs BNGC is one of the largest, if not the largest project, in our city’s history. We should move with caution. There is no reason to rush. I am happy that our city council is being careful with my (our) tax money.
“World Class” is marketing-speak for “Shut your eyes and buy it”
Boca National is touted as “World Class”. According to businessdictionary.com, The term means it’s “among the ‘best of the best’ … standard setting”. Really? The Bleacher Report ranks only 5 U.S. courses in its Ten Top Courses of the World ranking. Is Boca National better than the likes of Pine Valley, Augusta National, Cypress Point, Shinnecock or Oakmont? The proposed design is excellent, but the “World Class” hyperbole needs to stop. It cannot be both “World Class” and municipal “Golf in Boca”. Boca Ratonians won’t take kindly to funding an extravagant course they are regularly excluded from using for “World Class” tournaments and play. Nor should they. Did the District confirm the PGA would sponsor a major tournament at Boca National before touting it as “World Class”?
Stop calling Boca National a “Park”
I’m sorry, Boca National is not a park, and it should not be compared to a park, as is often stated. The only people who will benefit from BNGC are golfers and Boca Teeca residents who will no longer view a dusty wasteland. Can Boca residents ride their bike on the cart path at BNGC? Do yoga on the 18th fairway? Spread a blanket and have lunch behind the clubhouse? Try stepping off the sidewalk on A1A at Red Reef Golf course and the signs clearly state you are not wanted there. Boca National is a golf course, not a park.
The District isn’t keeping up with Gumbo Limbo and other responsibilities
The relations between the District and the City can best be described as dysfunctional. And it’s not a new problem. Many would place the blame on one or the other, but it doesn’t matter. The plain fact is they haven’t figured out how to work together. Boca National could be the most expensive project ever. Add in its other responsibilities suffering for lack of funding and it’s is a failure ready to happen.
I play golf and would love to continue to have Golf in Boca. But it needs to be done properly and at a reasonable cost to the taxpayers of our city.