A Member's Rebuttal

In an effort to promote continued discussion about the future of the Lincoln city golf program, I am posting the rebuttal below, written by LMGA member Tom Nesbitt. 

- Jerry Petersen, LMGA Board President

September 8, 2015
 
I write this rebuttal not to “call out” any elected official or any of their administrator(s) but to act in manner which insures accountability of public funds and resources and, in this instance, the golf enterprise fund and Highlands GC.  It was a difficult decision for me to voice my concerns publicly with the governance of the Lincoln Municipal Golf Program.  I believe in public service.  As a retired Colonel of the Nebraska State Patrol, I know first-hand the difficulties, conflicts, and political pressures that can be placed on an agency, its administration and public resources.  Lincoln’s golf enterprise fund and Highlands GC are just that, public funds and a community recreational resource, both governed by the Lincoln municipal code.
 
However, the public officials who’ve objected with my golf editorial opinion of August 26, 2015, must be held accountable for “staging a fiscal crisis” to justify the possibility of selling Highlands GC.  And with their recent editorial opinion of September 6, 2015, I’ll “substantiate” my concerns by sharing a directive made by Lynn Johnson, director, Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department, to the National Golf Foundation on July 19, 2013.
 
In August 2013, while serving as chairman of the budget committee for the Lincoln Municipal Golf Advisory Committee, I learned Lynn Johnson and his golf manager, Dale Hardy, received an advanced copy of the Lincoln golf sustainability study on July 12, 2013, and they offered critical suggestion(s) and amendment(s) to the NGF study without the knowledge of, nor providing opportunities for members of the LMGAC to review and comment.  I confronted director Johnson with this information and, as result, I received a signed copy of his file memo dated August 25, 2013, and the primary directive made to the National Golf Foundation is: “request that economic analyses be completed of discontinued operation of Highlands Golf Course and of Mahoney Golf Course…”   Since, director Johnson is on record by citing Mahoney Golf Course can’t be sold as it’s designated as city parkland, it’s clear his directive to the NGF is solely for an analysis of the economic impact of selling Highlands GC.  This directive is counter to the recommendation of the NGF where they cite: “Highlands is the premier facility in the City of Lincoln golf system in terms of quality…it’s a destination golf course.”  Why would the mayor and his parks director voluntarily sell the city’s premier golf asset?
 
Fast forward two years, here we are, the mayor proposes “the possibility of selling Highlands GC to avoid a future in which tax-payers subsidize the city golf program.”  A classic strategy of divide and conquer, i.e., Lincoln tax payers vs. Lincoln golf patrons – a rather remarkable political tactic in an attempt to gain public favor to sell Highlands GC. Why would Lincoln’s mayor purposefully place and split its residents against each other?  Is this true leadership? 
 
I and my fellow Lincoln golf patrons wish to underscore a core value of honoring a public trust that must also be shared with, and held by our elected officials and their administrator(s).  Lincoln golf patrons paid 100% of the $7.5 million debt service for Highlands GC – without any tax dollar support.  U.S. court case law and opinions have consistently held local governments accountable for breach of the “public trust doctrine”, i.e., alienation and conversion of public parklands and park facilities – which includes municipal golf courses.  Lincoln’s elected officials should give careful consideration to honor golf patrons’ financial investment – a public trust -- which not only built Highlands GC, a public park and recreational asset, but to operate and maintain it for 20 years. 
 
Tom Nesbitt, Lincoln

August 17, 2015, Meeting Recap

Thank you to all of the members who attended the LMGA Board meeting last night.  As a courtesy to our members, we are providing a copy of the letter that the board signed and approved (with the exception of those board members who abstained) that requested an audit of the Golf Enterprise Fund, as operated by the Golf Division of Lincoln Parks and Recreation A list of concerns submitted by Tom Nesbitt is also provided. Further, we are also providing an an example letter that you may use to voice your concern about a potential sale of Highlands Golf Course.

Youth and Adults Enjoy Golf Together

The Lincoln Municipal Gold Association held its annual Youth Adult Scotch Twosome Golf Tournament on July 25th and 26th at the Jim Ager Junior Golf Course. This tournament has been held annually for over 40 years and this year’s field was larger than past years with 45 teams entered. The unusual format makes for some fun and pressure for the teams consisting of one youth of ages 8 to 17 and one adult. The adult could be a dad, mom, grandparent, older sibling or just a friend. The format is true alternating shot, starting with the first tee shot and ending with the final putt. The teams compete on Saturday for a top 10 spot in their division in order to make the cut for Sunday. The tournament has one big shotgun start on Sunday with the younger divisions playing 9 holes and the older divisions playing 18. Following play all players had lunch, the kids received prizes, and then the medals were awarded to the top 3 teams in each division.

Division I -  Boys 14-15
1st Place – Chase Aldrich & Jeff Borreson:  90
2nd Place – Ryan VanOstrand & Perry VanOstrand: 93
3rd Place – Tanner Rigg & Chuck Lafollette: 99

Division II - Boys 12-13
1st Place – Tanner Lebo & Dave Wattjes: 105
2nd Place – Grady Arndt & Jim Arndt: 108
3rd Place – Jack Hesson & Tammy Hesson: 111

Division III    Boys 10-11
1st Place – Nicholas Essay & Andrew Essay: 74
2nd Place – Mason Arndt & Ty Arndt: 75
3rd Place – Aiden Dolton & Aaron Dolton: 77**

Division IV - Boys 8-9
1st Place – Griffin Semrad & Larry Honeycutt: 67
2nd Place – Braxton Tremain & Myron Tremain: 68
3rd Place – Teddy Pierson & Jay Pierson: 69

Division V - Girls 12-15
1st Place – Neely Adler & Will Adler: 91
2nd Place – Taylor VanOstrand & Lisa VanOstrand: 113
3rd Place – Paige Trutna & Jack Trutna: 114

Division VI - Girls 8-11
1st Place – Ansley Sothan & Herb Amend: 66
2nd Place – Sarah VanOstrand & Lisa VanOstrand: 76
3rd Place – Vedah Henrichs & Jerry Henrichs: 94**

** - denotes won playoff

Check out some pictures of the event here.

 

Individual Stroke Play Recap

Hot and steamy is the only way to describe it as the LMGA held their second annual Club Championship Tournament on July 11th and 12th at Pioneers and Highlands Golf Courses respectively.   A total of 59 players entered the event which was separated into a Scratch Division and a Handicap Division divided into 4 Flights.  58 players showed up and 53 finished the grueling two days as heat indices reached or exceeded 100 degrees both days.  The results are as follows with ties being decided by a card playoff:

Championship Flight-Scratch Division: Club Champion, Alex Svehla who shot a 145; 2nd Place, Kent Kurtzer with a 150; 3rd Place, Mark Miller with a 150 and Steve Stevenson with a 152.

1st Flight-Handicap Division: 1st Place, Spencer Duncan with a 145; 2nd Place, Kent Evans with a 146; 3rd Place, David Dunigan with a 147;  4th Place, Steve Miller with a 150 and Greg Anderson with a 152. 

2nd Flight-Handicap Division: 1st Place, Larry Krebsbach who shot a 137; 2nd Place, Dennis Schmitz with a 138;  3rd Place, Joe Schulz with a 140; 4th place, Daniel Ruth with a 140 and 5th place, Pete Rodriguez with a 140.  

3rd Flight-Handicap Division:  1st Place, Doug Radtke who shot 135; 2nd Place, Mike Smith with a 142; 3rd Place, Bernie Rempe with a 143; 4th place, Mark Blose with 145 and 5th place, Jerry Petersen with a 147. 

4th Flight-Handicap Division: 1st Place, Shane Rhian who shot 135; 2nd Place, Mike Arter with a 141; 3rd Place, Larry Morford with a 143; and 4th Place, Bill Rainey with a 144.  

The LMGA wants to thank Denis Vontz and Tim Rowland and their staffs for helping make the tournament an enjoyable event for everyone that took part.   We especially appreciated the coolers of water on the course.  That was a Godsend.   We also want to compliment them for the excellent condition of their courses.  We heard nothing but compliments about the playing conditions.  Lastly we want to thank all the members that braved the heat to make it an exciting championship.  

The next LMGA event is the ABC tournament on August 8th at Pioneers Golf Course.   Members who sign up will be paired with other golfers to create 3-man teams with similar handicaps.  It should be an excellent opportunity to meet some new playing partners.   Go  to the LMGA website  lmgagolf.org  for details and to enter.  

We also want to remind the young golfers of the upcoming Youth-Adult tournament to be held on July 25th and 26th at the Jim Ager Memorial Golf Course.

Two-Man BBQ Recap

The LMGA held its third event of the year on June 20th, the LMGA Two-Man BBQ at Mahoney Golf Course.  Eighty-six members showed up for the 8:00 a.m. shotgun start on a nice but somewhat steamy day.  The field was divided into 3 flights of 13, 15 and 15 teams with the top 5 teams in the 1st flight and the top 6 teams in each of the other flights placing.  The results are as follows:

1st Flight: 1st with a 59, Shane Rhian-Lee Rhian;  2nd  with 60, Ron Girard and Dan McGerr;  3rd  with 60, Rick Waldrop-Mike Miller;  4th with 60, Jack Crandall-Vance Coatman;  5th with 61, Dick Little-Ron Ross. Ties were decided with a card playoff. 

2nd Flight:  1st with a 63, Rob Weatherly-Mark Miller;  2nd with 63, Adrain Martinez-George Sholy;  3rd with 63, Al Taft-Zach Hall;  4th with 63, Kent Kurtzer-Rodger Johnson;  5th with 63, Jacob Linch-Colbi Ragon;  6th with 64, David Shamblin-Jim Regan.     All ties were decided with a card playoff. 

3rd Flight:  1st with a 67, Ryan Lucero-Mike Halverson;  2nd with 67, Luke Lionberger-Pete Rodriguez; 3rd with 67, Corey Heiden-Tom Nesbitt;  4th with 67, Will Foster-Bill Foster;  5th with 67, Mark Blose-Paul Jensen;  6th with 67, Randy Ware-Don Turek.  All ties were decided with a score card playoff.    

After the round, everyone enjoyed a delicious BBQ meal.  We want to thank John Benson and the staff at Mahoney for having a great venue for the event. The course was in good shape with the rough a bit challenging to test the players' mettle.   

Pictures are available here.

LMGA Ryder Cup Recap

Standing from left to right :  Mark Dunham, Tom Tiedgen, Chris Cole, Ben Svehla, Mike Calvert, Fred Daugherty, Doug Gibbs, Mike Miller, Jack Crandall, Jay Carstens, Dick Little, Tom Nesbitt, Mike Smith Kneeling Front Row Left to Right:  Luke Lionberger, Ron Girard, Terry Smith, William Foster, Jon Benson, Pete Rodriguez, Dan McGerr. Not Pictured:  Rob Alderman, Vance Coatman, Corey Heiden, Larry Lococo, Rick Waldrop, Steve Stevenson, Dave Dunigan.

Standing from left to right :  Mark Dunham, Tom Tiedgen, Chris Cole, Ben Svehla, Mike Calvert, Fred Daugherty, Doug Gibbs, Mike Miller, Jack Crandall, Jay Carstens, Dick Little, Tom Nesbitt, Mike Smith
Kneeling Front Row Left to Right:  Luke Lionberger, Ron Girard, Terry Smith, William Foster, Jon Benson, Pete Rodriguez, Dan McGerr.
Not Pictured:  Rob Alderman, Vance Coatman, Corey Heiden, Larry Lococo, Rick Waldrop, Steve Stevenson, Dave Dunigan.

The LMGA held their 3rd annual Pro/Am Ryder Cup tournament on May 30th and 31st.    One Hundred and three hearty soles showed up at Mahoney Golf Course Saturday, the 30th on a cold, breezy day.  Golf balls felt like you were hitting rocks and the wind knocked down any good shot that got hit.  The team representing Mahoney played the team representing Pioneers while the Holmes and Highlands teams squared off against each other in 9 individual matches and 8 doubles matches.  At the end of the first day Mahoney had a sizeable lead with 13 points to 9 for Highlands, 8 for Holmes and 4 for the Pioneers teams.  


On Sunday the Mahoney team faced the Holmes team and the Highlands team played Pioneers.   Again, the Mahoney team had their way with the competition scoring 11 ½ points to finish with a final score of 24 ½ to win the tournament by 7 ½ points over the 2nd place Highlands team who finished with 17 ½ points.  The Holmes team edged the Pioneers team to finish 3rd with 13 ½ points to 13 points.  So, after spending 2 years at the Pioneers Clubhouse, the trophy will be engraved with a new name and will be moved to the Mahoney Clubhouse where it will reside for the coming year.   


The LMGA would like to thank the Pro’s at each of the courses for being the Captains of the teams and helping to set up matches and scheduling for the event.   We also want to thank John Benson at Mahoney Golf Course and Denis Vontz at the Highlands Golf Course and their staffs for providing a first rate venue on which to play.  The courses were in excellent condition, the greens were smooth and manicured and the pins were in difficult but accessible locations; well, 35 of them were.  They also helped provide a first rate meal at the end of each days round.    We would also be remiss without a special thanks to Denis for ordering the team shirts and along with his people, preparing the food for the pre-tournament reception on Friday night.   We also want to thank Callaway for supporting our opening night reception by setting up a demo day for the members as well as all of the members that came out to play to make it a truly fun event.   


The next LMGA event is the 2-man B-B-Q to be held at Mahoney Golf Course on June 20th.   This is a 2-man best ball tournament with an 8:00am shotgun start and terrific bar-b-que meal to follow.   Members can sign up on-line at  lmgagolf.org   or by picking up an entry blank at any of the public courses.  


One last item that cannot be passed by:   Congratulations to Bill Staehr for making a hole-in-one on #6 at Mahoney on Saturday.   GOOD SHOT!   

 

LMGA Kickoff Scramble Results

A beautiful day greeted 111 golfers who turned out for the annual LMGA Kickoff Scramble on Sunday April 26th.  The 28 teams assembled at Holmes Golf Course and were divided into three flights.  Those placing in the various flights were as follows: 


First Flight: 
•    1st - Jacob Linch, Colbi Ragon, Dillon Ehmen and Larry Morford, who shot a 59.
•    2nd - Tom Huff, Charlie Huff, Chad Hawkins and Travis Rathje, who shot 61.
•    3rd - Ron Ross, Rich Ondrak, Matt Ross and Kirby McDonald, who shot 62.
•    4th - Terry Bock, Casey Bock, Fred Best and tom Nesbitt who shot 63 and won a 2 way card playoff to place. 


Second Flight: 
In a hotly contested flight, with five teams all shooting a 66, a card playoff was needed to determine the order in which they placed.
•    1st - Rich Kuzelka, Ryan Cooper, Doug Radtke, Tom Martin
•    2nd - Ron Girard, Gary Garrett, Mark Dunham and Terry Smith 
•    3rd - Chuck Hoster, John Herrod, Clare Munyon and T. R. Smith
•    4th - Louie Kipper, Morris Hadenfelt, Bill McClure and Bruce Smith 


Third Flight:
•    1st - Bill Adams, Fred Daugherty, Luke Lionberger, Pete Rodriguez
•    2nd - Mike Kluczynski, Mark Kluczynski, Robert Kluczynski and Mark Smith
•    3rd - Larry Lococo, Vance Coatman, Michael Calvert and Russ Gausman


Kudos go out to Casey Crittenden, the Chief Superintendent, and the maintenance staff at Holmes Golf Course.  LMGA members made many complimentary remarks about the overall condition of the golf course and the improved greens.  Scott Wiehe and his staff also deserve a big thank you; they were well prepared and did a great job of assisting the LMGA with the tournament and the meal.  


The annual Spring Meeting was held after the tournament.  Everyone had an enjoyable time.