Juneau should have a golf course

Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2001

I hate golf, as do most folks, especially avid golfers after a tough round. My mother's major disappointment with me has to do with the fact that I never took up golf, a game that was and remains her passion.

My aversion to golf probably has more to do with my inability to get beyond the stereotyped images I associate with golf than the game itself. Personally, when it comes to golf, I never got beyond the country club swell set or the image of George Meany playing golf at the AFL-CIO convention in Florida during the winter. For me, time spent on links caddying or playing were boring or wasted, except for moments of enjoyment associated with grand trees lining the fairways or the song of birds inhabiting the courses.

My own personal deficiencies as a duffer and non-golf devotee aside, golf is without question a big favorite with many folks. Initiated historically by a bunch of Scots on wind swept pastures, the game undoubtedly was a challenge, particularly when played on links adjacent to the ocean and fueled by a peat flavored libation. Somehow golf jumped the Atlantic and became popular in the United States and other parts of the world. Even ice hockey players get in a round or two when the skating season is over. Tiger Woods ascendancy has increased interest in this already popular activity. All of which brings me to the perhaps ironic conclusion that Juneau really should have a golf course.

Don Smith got it right the other day in his editorial about building a golf course. The folks that have worked for years to bring a genuine golf course to Juneau have been confronted with shifting standards and changing requirements necessary to build a course. If the City and Borough of Juneau has legitimate concerns about anadromous fish streams or the use of persistent organic pollutants at the proposed golf course, then city staff should outline those concerns. Everyone expects the City and Borough of Juneau take appropriate steps to insure that public health and safety concerns are addressed. Everyone wants to wildlife concerns to be addressed in an acceptable manner. The problem is that the dialogue between the city and those seeking to build the course has gone on for far too long. The City and Borough should lay out the minimum necessary standards, step aside and let the golfers tee up this project.

Joe Geldhof


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