On Monday night the City Council voted to schedule a date to hear public comments on the status of The Shores Country Club. The City, which leases a sizable chunk of the land the golf course sits on, has long been concerned about maintenance issues at the facility. Complaints about the condition of the fairways and greens, as well as the tennis courts and clubhouse, have apparently been unresolved by the company which manages the club, I.R.I. Golf Group, LLC.
According to several long-standing club members, the quality of the course has gone steadily downhill over the years. Weeds and native grasses have taken over the grounds, and often go unmowed for weeks. At any given time there is only one working lawn mower, and employees have reported bounced paychecks over the last few months. These are just a few of the complaints coming from members and users of the club. Residents of the neighborhood whose houses line the fairways have issues as well. Reported one homeowner, “Sometimes the weeds are so tall we can’t even see the course.”
I.R.I., which hadn’t returned calls as of this writing, entered into an agreement with the City of Rockwall to lease the portion of the property which abuts Lake Ray Hubbard, known as the “takeline”, and is ultimately owned by the City of Dallas. This property accounts for 11 of the eighteen holes on the course. As part of the agreement, both the City and I.R.I. signed an addendum, Exhibit E, which sets minimum standards for upkeep of the course, such as irrigation and mowing schedules. According to the City’s inspector, who does a monthly check, the standards have not been met for about the last two years.
One option discussed is to have the City take over operation of the club. While this would insure greater control over maintenance and operations, opponents to this plan point out that the City has neither the money nor the expertise to pull it off without significant impact to the taxpayers. Potential buyers have stepped forward, but so far have been unable to negotiate an acceptable agreement. A public forum was scheduled last September, but was postponed pending the outcome of these negotiations. Now that they appear stalled, the Council decided to reschedule it, hoping fresh ideas might emerge from the public.
Council member Glen Farris, while expressing some reservation to holding a public forum as long as there is still a potential buyer out there, agreed that it is time to bring the public into the loop. Council member Margo Nielsen said, “It is in the City’s best interest that we have a first-class golf course on the north side of the city, preserved and maintained in the best shape possible.” The council hopes the forum will be one of ideas, not merely a rehashing of complaints. “We’ve heard all the complaints,” said Nielsen.
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Image of The Shores Country Club – circa 1989