Thursday, April 14, 2005

Column 26: The Golf Course

Recently there has been controversy centering around the golf course – some people seem to think it is unreasonable that they are not allowed to cross-country ski or sled on the course, which was renovated last year. Others seem to think that the process of upgrading the quality of the professional golf staff and some members of that staff leaving are the result of some kind of dirty deeds on the part of IVGID in general and General Manager Bill Horn in particular.
Let’s start with some facts. IVGID, i.e. you and me, has invested nearly $14 million in the new Chateau and rebuilding the Championship Golf Course. Both these facilities belong to all the residents of the village, golfers and non-golfers alike, but both are dedicated facilities. That is, they are designed to be used in specific ways for specific purposes. I think it’s stretching logic to say that owning a property in common with 9,000 other people gives you the right to abuse that property, and anyone who knows anything about golf course maintenance knows that wintertime activities are harmful to the course.
Secondly, it has been the policy at the Incline courses for at least ten years that golf staff either have the “Class A” PGA certification or be actively engaged in getting it. Brian Eilders, Dave LaFata, and Randy Cooper all have Class A status. Last year, all of the junior staff were notified that the policy would be enforced and they would have to show reasonable efforts and progress toward attaining Class A. No one was fired, and nothing new or unreasonable was required – they were simply given the choice of doing what they should have been doing all along or not being rehired for the 05 season.
Head Pro Eilders resigned in February, of his own volition. He was invited to apply for the new Director of Golf position, and he chose not to apply. This new position, by the way was instituted as a result of a recommendation to the IVGID Board by the golf committee as a means of upgrading the golf program. John Nosek, formerly the Golf Manager, was also given the opportunity to interview for the DoG position, and was not hired – he is now the Merchandise Manager, and by all reports is fine with that.
This brings us to Bill Horn. I have made no secret of my regard for Mr. Horn. From conversations I have had with current and former Trustees and from my extensive interactions with him, I consider Bill Horn a gift to this village. No one, in my view, has more dedication to this Village or has greater passion for its success than Bill does. Notwithstanding gossip spread by those who wish him ill, Bill’s behavior is above reproach, and his work is outstanding, as his performance reviews have indicated. The Board knew when they hired him that he did not live in the Village, and did not consider this an issue – he offered to move and the Board quickly declined that offer.
It has been said that there is an endemic condition in Incline Village of unearned and unwarranted, but assumed expertise. Something in the air seems to make many of us who live here think theys are experts on everything including how to run a village and how to run a golf course. My suggestion to these critics and self-appointed experts is that before trying to run anything from a position of no authority and no accountability, they run for the Board and see if anyone agrees that they are experts. Otherwise, try letting those who are charged with the job do the job.

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