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Enumclaw Mens Club raises concerns about golf course maintenance

Members of the Enumclaw Mens Club have gone public with their concerns about the day-to-day upkeep at the city-owned golf course.

For its part, the city disputes many of the recent criticisms while drafting a plan that would seek an outside vendor to manage the 18-hole course.

Mens Club complaints came to a head the evening of March 26, when club member Brandon Chevalier addressed the Enumclaw City Council. While acknowledging the city is in a precarious financial position, Chevalier said club members were compelled to attend the council meeting "to voice some concerns we have with the playability of the community golf course."

Reading from a prepared statement, Chevalier complained about course issues ranging from tee box mowing and spraying weeds to the frequency with which cups are changed on the greens.

"There's nothing more frustrating or discouraging that playing from a dandelion patch or truing to find your ball in a hundred-foot-wide plot of chickweed," Chevalier said.

Regarding general maintenance issues, he noted, "These tasks are minimal in expense and should not even have to be discussed."

Club members also have concerns about larger issues like drainage, Chevalier said, noting that golfers shouldn't have to trudge through "ankle-deep mud and water."

A couple of years ago, the golf course was moved from the city's Parks and Recreation Department to Public Works, where Chris Searcy runs the operation.

While acknowledging some of the Mens Club issues had merit, Searcy said other complaints stem simply from a differing philosophy. While the city intentionally mows fairways in a particular manner, he said, others might see it as a lack of effort.

"It all depends upon what a golfer is looking for," Searcy said.

Admitting the city's management style doesn't suit everyone's tastes, Searcy dismisses the notion that the course is going downhill.

"We don't think anything has been neglected," he said.

While the city enters a third season as a golf course manager, the process moves forward to find an outside agency to take over the operation. A private vendor had all responsibility for the course until Jan. 1, 2010, but  departed when his contract expired.

The city previously looked to hand the operation to an outside firm, but was not satisfied with any of the proposals received.

Searcy said the effort to get out of the golf business will continue through this year, with the hope of an outside vendor taking over in 2013.

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