Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sun City Center willing to open golf course to nonresidents

SUN CITY CENTER — With hopes of drawing more golfers and salvaging what was once the backbone of this retirement community, local leaders this week voted to open the North Course to residents outside Sun City Center.

The board followed a recommendation proposed by a task force formed last year in the wake of the bankruptcy filing of WCI Communities Inc., the developer that built much of Sun City Center and runs its golf courses.

The board must reach an agreement with WCI to change the North Course rules.

With golf course use plummeting, community leaders mobilized to find ways to reverse the slump in golfing and to prevent WCI from closing its courses. The task force recommended a variety of options to encourage more people to golf more frequently at the North Course, including opening it to nonresidents, holding tournaments and providing food vendors.

Ed Barnes, the board's president and leader of the task force, said closing the Sun City Center courses would impact many residents' home values, whether they golf or not.

"We were built as a golfing community," Barnes said, calling the courses an important aesthetic part of Sun City Center as much as recreation.

However, he cautioned that the move to open the North Course to the public does not guarantee its survival, especially if the change fails to attract more golfers. WCI could still decide to close it, he said.

"However, by making these changes, we are trying to eliminate as many WCI excuses as possible," Barnes said.

He said that community association members will receive priority on tee times.

John Luper, WCI's regional general manager of amenities, said a spike in use at the North Course could definitely help its prospects.

Closing the course would be the "last thing we would want to do, but never say never in this economy," Luper said.

In voting to open the North Course to outside residents, the community's board said it will work with WCI to amend a 1984 agreement that restricted use to residents and their guests.

But board member Patrick Long said he worried too much time might pass before the sides hash out the amendment. The North Course needs to open to outsiders and start making money right away, he added, before WCI closes it.

"This has been going on for six months," Long said at the meeting about the task force study and recommendations.

In addition to amending the 1984 agreement, on Long's suggestion the board also voted to enter a temporary agreement with WCI to open the North Course to nonresidents as soon as possible. The temporary agreement would stand through 2010.

Saundra Amrhein can be reached at amrhein@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2441.

Sun City Center willing to open golf course to nonresidents 05/14/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 14, 2009 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy

    Retail

    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. Four questions with Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith before he helps lead the St. Pete Pride parade

    Human Interest

    A decade ago, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith was afraid to tell his friends and family he was gay.

    Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith will serve as a grand marshal at the St. Pete Pride parade on Saturday. [City of Largo]
  3. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. What you need to know for Friday, June 23

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Graffiti butts are everywhere in downtown St. Pete. What's going on? [CHRISTOPHER SPATA | Times]
  5. Owners to level Port Richey flea market but may rebuild

    Public Safety

    PORT RICHEY — The owners of the recently shuttered USA Flea Market have agreed to demolish all structures on the property, leaving open the possibility of rebuilding the weekend shopping attraction, according to Pasco County officials.

    Pasco County officials shut down the USA Flea Market after it received hundreds of citations for health and code violations.