eatthekidsI don’t live in Somersett.  I don’t golf.  But I appreciate the community for what it is and am intrigued by the current angst over the Golf Course Lease Agreement. The $107 Bucket of Balls set the record for comments on this blog.   In reviewing the situation as a curious bystander and a business person, I go into this proposal with the following tenets:

–        Everyone benefits if the golf course stays green.

–        The Somersett Golf and Country Club (SGCC) currently needs the cash infusion from the Lease Agreement to maintain financial stability and viability.

–        The current Lease Agreement is a salable asset for SGCC.

–        Somersett property owners represented by the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) recognize the value of keeping the gold course as a golf course, and can be convinced to dedicate a portion of their assessments to maintain the status qua

.-        If SOA is going to “subsidize” SGCC, they have the fiduciary responsibility to their membership to protect their investment.

Amenities Under the Current Lease Agreement

 In my analysis, most of the amenities the SOA receives from the current Lease Agreement (and fronts the money for) are actually revenue generating for SGCC.  No one polled the membership on what amenities if any should be “purchased” with the SOA surplus funds (nice work to run in the black, by the way).

–         SOA funds paid for the driving range expansion to allow SOA members to use it.  There is still a bucket fee charges which generates revenue for SGCC.-        Opening the Sunsett Grille to SOA members generates significant additional revenue for the SGCC owned facility

.-        Bocce Ball is free.

–        Golf Privileges – These do not seem to be significantly better than the previous promo rates offered by SGCC.  And in any case, a revenue generator for SGCC

–        Catch and Release Fishing – Come on, what’s the added cost and value of some minnows?

I won’t deny that the “amenities” in the current Lease Agreement are utilized by some SOA members and have a certain value.  But not $500,000 a year’s worth, and not when most of the amenities add to the SGCCs bottom line.

My Modest Proposal

 

Somersett homeowners can probably be convinced to vote to subsidize the SGCC – it is in their best interests to keep SGCC green.  But I do not believe they can be convinced to subsidize the SGCC in a multimillion dollar commitment they have no control over.  SGCC could still go brown at any time even with ongoing the cash commitment from SOA, and a sale of the facility is much more likely with the current Agreement in place – the lease payments are a salable asset potentially worth much more than the appraised value of the SGCC assets.  Here would be my deal points:

–        SOA needs to control their investment, and so needs to take ownership of the golf properties.  Probably a sale backed by the revenue stream of the $15 per month per lot going to the current Lease Agreement.

–        SGCC should be offered an exclusive lease agreement to these properties.

–        SGCC should be allowed to use these properties to their best financial advantage.  If they want to stay private and can within their financial means, great.  If they need to open up their amenities for pay to SOA members, so be it.  If they have to open up their amenities to the general population, so be it.

–        SOA should subsidize SGCC to insure their viability – it is in the best interest of the community.  Say up to $250,000 annually – half the current payment, with the other half going towards the purchase of SGCC assets.

I know I’m being a bit naive believing that this could be a win-win for everyone involved.  You have some SGCC equity members dead set against any change.  You have some Sierra Canyon residents who use the “back door” and never even see the golf course bristling about having ANY payments going to maintain SGCC.  There are SOA members who are mystified what the big deal is about, and others who rage against any dues going towards a private entity.  The way I see it, a sale to SOA would let SGCC equity members get to cash out at fair market value.  SGCC could continue to operate as an exclusive club, or open it up as required to meet their financial goals.  SOA control would guarantee that green will always stay green, or at least they would be able to make the brown out decision on their own in the best interest of their membership.

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