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Holmes Harbor Golf Course slated for Aug.1 opening

Don Wood, chairman of the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District board, discusses a potential levy for the district to operate the Holmes Harbor Golf Course on Wednesday. Parks director Jim Porter is next to him.  - Celeste Erickson / The Record
Don Wood, chairman of the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District board, discusses a potential levy for the district to operate the Holmes Harbor Golf Course on Wednesday. Parks director Jim Porter is next to him.
— image credit: Celeste Erickson / The Record

Golfers will be able to tee off at Holmes Harbor Golf Course for the first time in years this weekend as new operator Craig Moore prepares to open.

The golf course will be in full operation by Aug. 1 after a contract was signed for the Langley resident to be the new operator.

Moore signed an interim contract with the Holmes Harbor Water and Sewer District to temporarily maintain and operate the 18-hole golf course for $1 a year Thursday. The contract includes provisions for 30-day extension periods through the end of the year, said Stan Walker, president of the sewer board.

“We’re entering into this understanding that there’s details to work out in the contract and a lot of work to get done. I’m optimistic that the details will get ironed out,” he said.

Moore, owner of First Carriage House Realty in Freeland, said he was tired of seeing person after person failing at operating the course.

The course has a long history of misses. Most recently when Patrick Kent of Seattle backed out of his operating deal in May.

“I’m not looking at this to make money, I’m trying not to lose money,” he said. “If the parks district wanted to take over operations, I would consider it. If they never come into it, I am prepared to run the course as long as necessary.”

The South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District board decided to hold off adding a levy for the November ballot for maintenance and operation of the Holmes Harbor Golf Course during their monthly meeting Wednesday.

The district would potentially seek a $0.09 levy on property taxes to generate the estimated $360,000 to operate the golf course.

For the area to be operated as a general park, the district would need a $0.04 levy generating $160,000. For a home with an assessed value of $300,000 the levy would add $27 for a golf course and $16 for a park.

Don Wood, board chairman, expressed his concern about pursuing the issue too quickly.

“It’s unfortunate we weren’t able to move quick enough,” he said. “But we still want to understand the plan better and what our next steps should be.”

The board decided to form a committee to look into the impacts of maintaining and operating the golf course for the district.

Board member Joel Gerlach suggested the committee survey the community to receive input before putting the issue to the public. He said running the area as a golf course is not for a single-interest group.

“We’re doing what the community would want,” Gerlach said.

A committee could be used to take the pulse of the public and facilitate open communication beyond the potential levy, Wood said. The course is in the district’s comprehensive plan.

“Ultimately if parks is interested in taking it over we’re happy to see that partnership,” Walker said. “I think this is the beginning of the resurrection of golfing on South Whidbey.”

The Roaming Radish, a Freeland business, has also made plans to move into the clubhouse and kitchen, owned by Kevin Hanchett, for special events.

The owner of the Roaming Radish could not be contacted by the time of publication.

Walker said the partnership with Moore is a good fit with his golfing background. Moore used to be a professional golfer and knows his way around the course, Walker said.

“He’s an energetic young man. If anyone can do it, he can,” he said.

Moore said he will do a little bit of everything when it comes to operating the course for the first year. He said one of his goals is for the course to be in better shape every time a person plays, but he still has a lot of work ahead.

“At the end of the day the community needs a golf course,” Moore said. “It isn’t my golf course, it’s the community’s course.”

 

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