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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Apr. 12, 2021 5 months ago

Letter: Snowbird says closure of Riverbend is a lost opportunity

'Riverbend has been a significant reason for me wanting to return to Ormond year after year,' the letter writer states.
by: Guest Writer

Don't close Riverbend

Dear Editor:

As a snowbird regularly coming from Canada to spend the winter months in Ormond Beach, I was saddened to hear of the closing of Riverbend Golf Club. Over the years, playing at Riverbend has been a significant reason for me wanting to return to Ormond year after year. I feel that the commissioners perhaps do not understand the true value of this course. 

In short this course is (or was) a gem, boasting a fantastic layout with no two holes alike, easily much better than any other course in the area, including the LPGA courses. So I think that for Ormond Beach to allow this course to become an overgrown field or whatever is planned for this land would be a huge opportunity lost. Last year during my two-month stay, I played 26 rounds at Riverbend and spent $885 in green fees and this is typical for me for the last eight years that I've been coming to Ormond. This is also typical for many of my snowbird friends who also spend time in the area. Last year there were several occasions where I could not get a start time at Riverbend because the course was booked solid, so don't tell me this course can't be run successfully if managed properly.

In an article published in the Observer, Economic Development Director Brian Rademacher explained the FAA stance that golf courses in proximity to airports could potentially encumber land that would otherwise be used for aeronautical purposes, and that certain hazards could impact airport operations, such as the congregation of people and the attraction of wildlife. The statement regarding the congregation of people is nonsensical. No people are anywhere near the airport's operations and the wildlife safety issues he speaks of are issues every airport has to deal with whether bordered by a golf course or not. Montreal's Trudeau International Airport is bordered by a large golf course which has had no impact whatsoever on airport operations or safety.

As a regular visitor and a regular contributor to your economy, I and a good number of my friends urge the city to consider adopting Riverbend as a municipal golf course. You would be getting a steal. The course doesn't require a large infusion of money to get it back in shape and if managed correctly could be a revenue generating great asset to the city and a draw for visitors and citizens alike.

Paul Denison

St. Lambert, Quebec, Canada

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