We will be leaving Vail on Monday to return to our Atlanta home for the winter. Every year for the past decade we have arrived in Vail around mid-June and stayed for three months — this place is awesome! New friends here, great weather, world-class entertainment, spectacular natural beauty. And a cool little golf course — Vail Golf Club! Although we are members of one of the very top private clubs in America back in Atlanta, I find that I just have more fun here. Every year I leave having had a wonderful summer of golf and already anticipating my return next summer to play golf with the “locals.”
Not this year though — sad at what will happen on the very day I leave, Sept. 16, as that is the day the bulldozers roll through Hole No. 18, ripping up arguably one of golf’s finest finishing holes and trying to piecemeal a replacement hole. And get this: At a cost by the time it is finished of over $1 million! Can you believe this? In the time of tight budgets and so many needs, $1 million to tear up a hole and replace it. The “red herring” of safety gives the local town of Vail politicians cover. How about this fact: I have played more than 50 rounds of golf at Vail Golf Club this summer; I can count on one hand the number of range balls that have found their way into the 18th fairway (by the way, all of these where the new green will be!). I find hundreds of balls in adjoining fairways all over the course, so the safety factor is a nonissue.
When the vote a few years ago was to use available funds to replace an aging and very inadequate Vail Golf Club clubhouse, I think all of us naively thought that in fact the existing clubhouse would be replaced by something newer and better on the same footprint. How did this morph into new golf holes, monster screens on the range, wedding extravaganzas, on and on! So here we are now, money flowing out everywhere to legal fees, consultants, planners — the list goes on. And no one is happy! What should have been a win-win-win is an all around loser. The new plan is universally despised by the golfers, the local property owners are suing, the town of Vail has a clubhouse that is falling apart. No wonder people everywhere distrust government; just look at this. A total disaster of wasted money and wasted opportunity. These town of Vail decision makers need to be recalled — you have wasted a grand opportunity, and when it is all said and done also wasted millions of dollars.
So I leave with sadness — my friends will be here next summer but our common bond of golf at Vail Golf Club will never be the same! Maybe that is why the aspens are late turning — they are sad as well.
Vail and Atlanta