Fido and the golfers

The Oakcreek Country Club golf course is a wonderful place to stroll in the early

morning hours. It is somewhat unusual, however, in that most golf courses do not allow any other activity, but golf.

It's been a long held tradition here though, even written into policy, that before

golf hours, folks and their dogs are welcome to enjoy the spectacular setting. But along

with this privilege comes the responsibilities to visit the place only when the golfers are

not there, and to be mindful of the sensitive nature of the place.

Unfortunately, a few folks have recently regarded the place as a public park where any

number of activities can occur. Well, it's not a public park, but is private property where

the golf game is in the ascendency. To be on private property is a privilege and not a

right.

At a recent board meeting members complained about folks walking about the course

during play hours and dogs running all over off-leash. Casual strollers were surprised at

seeing white missiles streaking overhead toward them! Sand traps became kiddy play

areas. It had become "circus-circus" time!

There was quite a discussion at the board meeting of what to do about the problem. I

asked our Greens Committee to look into the problem and make a recommendation to

the board to rectify the situation. The Greens Committee considered and debated

several alternatives. Someone suggested hiring a security guard - maybe a big guy with

a broken nose to accost violators. This was dismissed as being too expensive. Another

obvious and easy solution was to ban all outside use of the golf course. This was also

rejected because this would be punishing the vast majority because of a small minority

of thoughtless folks. In the end, the Greens Committee recommended a continuation of

the present policy: before golf hours, strolling along cart paths permitted.

Dogs on leashes also permitted. No bikes, skateboards and such. At the last board

meeting the Greens Committee recommendations were adopted by vote of the board of

directors.

The old liberal policy remains. However, the restrictions will now be actively

enforced. Walkers during golf times will be considered as trespassers. When repeat

offenders, or hostile individuals, are encountered, photos will be taken and the Yavapai

County Sheriff will be contacted to issue citations for trespassing. Citations can result in

court appearances and fines. And of course, dogs off leashes are in violation of the

existing County ordinance.

VOCA homeowners can also file formal complaints with the Yavapai County Sheriff's office, but must include a photo showing the date and time. The homeowner would have

to appear in court with the offender, but a VOCA board member would appear with the

complaining homeowner for support.

Well, we sure don't like being in the role of "golf police!" But we do have a

responsibility for maintaining the integrity of a world class golf operation. We will

continue to do our best to keep on having one of the most liberal policies of outside use

of any golf course in the area. But to be successful, everyone must take the

responsibility to honor the restrictions of outside use of the golf course.

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