Golf course project shows great potential

In my opinion, the Heart of Texas Golf Association made the city of Brady an offer they couldn’t refuse. The association has done the research, the design work, the land acquisition and a host of other things to get this project organized. They are taking it upon themselves to make this project happen. All the city had to do was make a commitment to support it, and they did. In essence, what was proposed to the city was a way to bring people to Brady to spend time and money, all the while providing more jobs and recreational activities for a growing number of people in the area. Over the past several months, it is obvious that many people have been putting in many hours talking, researching and in general doing their homework about how to make a project like this work. (The research part I could handle, traveling to different golf courses that have done what ours hopes to do, playing them, and while there getting details on how they got where they are today. That is my kind of research.) In a nutshell, the golf association has come up with a plan that will rebuild virtually the entire Brady golf course and make it comparable to if not better than any area course. To do this is no small feat. To pay for it is even more of a challenge. With the research and efforts thus far, it’s quite possible that the city can do this for virtually no out of pocket expense. In a perfect world, everything would work smoothly, people would donate land (it seems as if everyone wants money for land these days) and state and government agencies would throw money at the project all in the name of economic growth. In the real world, it is going to take a concerted effort by the entire town to make this happen. Everyone knows that water and money are the two key ingredients to making this happen. I can hear it already’why put out so much time and effort for something that only a few people in Brady do’ How about these numbers. The golf association has 150 members. There are over 120 junior high and high school kids currently active in golf; at the annual Memorial Day Tournament, 128 golfers show up and usually bring friends and family with them, and compete for money. And that is only one tournament on a nine hole course!) And of the recurring annual tournaments that are held at the golf course, approximately 60 percent of those entries come from out of town. Last year, the tiny municipal nine-hole course on the San Angelo highway brought in over $200,000 in revenue and was the only city entity to make a profit. The total number of rounds of golf played at the course last year is over 17,000. Conservative estimates indicate that a new course with slightly higher green fees could increase the net revenue of the course to over $800,000. Not bad for one year’s worth of time and effort. For those of you out there who don’t golf, the talent of course superintendent J.T. Epley is evident in what he has done with the local course over the past few years. The greens on the Brady course rival the greens of any public course within a 500-mile radius. I personally have spoken with people who play the Brady course simply because we have nine of the best greens in the region (the fairways are the problem, but without water, there is not much hope) Just think what J.T. could do with a full 18-hole course that has a complete irrigation system! Most of the people in Brady know that this town’s economy needs a boost. The possibility of several new businesses at the airport is a recent development that has great potential. My prediction is that if this golf course project comes to fruition, there will be few individuals, especially business owners, who don’t benefit in one way or another from the increased recreational traffic the course will generate. The major driving forces and players behind this project are doing their best to finalize land deals and organize paperwork even as this paper goes to press. The next steps revolve around finalizing a course design, getting the irrigation design and estimates and taking the entire grant package and application to Texas Parks and Wildlife by the end of next month. It seems as if TPWD is nearing the end of its fiscal year and still has money to distribute. If it all goes smoothly, construction could begin as early as November. Providing water for the irrigation is surely going to be a sticky point throughout the process of making this happen. The association as well as the City Council knows this as does any individual informed on the current status of water projects in McCulloch County. There will never be a plan that will satisfy every person. What we need to do is find a solution that everyone can live with. A give-and-take mentality will go a long way toward making positive things happen in McCulloch County. If something doesn’t come your way today, stick around, get involved and work to get something accomplished tomorrow. I would be willing to bet that every citizen in this county wants positive things to happen for this area. Who doesn’t want to live in a place that looks nice, has great stores, has great recreation and is the envy of every city dweller in the state’ We already have some of the best citizens in the state, let’s see if we can work together to make this the best city/county in the state.’JS

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