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Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 42 posts ] 
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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:55 am 
I saw in the Silver City Press that Western is going to take over management of the Silver City Golf Course on March 1. Western is taking over because the group that had been managing the course lost so much money on the course they went broke.

I can see why President Shepard would want to take the role of the white knight and rescue the course from closing. It’s unclear who is going to cover the losses while Western manages the course. But then no one in the Western administration is risking their own money. The golf coach is taking over as manager.

You’d think that Western’s administration would have enough on its plate with declining enrollment, cuts in state funding for next year, decline in the Nursing program, unknown problems with the University and the Foundation’s audit, ect. The State Auditor has been reviewing both audits for the past 3 months usual time about 3 weeks and the discussion of the audit was tabled at the last Regents meets.

I must be getting old, because I don’t understand why the City can’t manage their own course. Why do they need to get an outside agency to manage the course and lose the money?


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 Author: sh1
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:25 am 
I for one wish Western well in their effort to turn the golf course around. I'm not sure what caused the reduced revenues at the course in recent years, although it's pretty likely management can be improved. Due to an injury I haven't been out there for about a year, so haven't even seen the inside of the new club house. I've read that golfing revenues have also declined nationwide -- in part no doubt a reflection of the Great Recession, and maybe there's been a general reduction in interest in the game since the heady Tiger Woods days. Whatever the case, kudos to Joe Shepard for taking the job on. WNMU's golf team (along with tennis) is one of the real bright spots in its sports endeavors, so they really can't afford to have the course fall apart underneath them. And the course is a real asset for the town, both for those of us who live here and for visitors. Let's all hope they make a go of it, for everyone's sake.

Shelby


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 Author: bdlb
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:07 am 
President Shepard might consider a plan for the golf course that other communities have adopted -- opening it up to walkers during off hours. This would make the property more useful and important to the general public. Might also increase revenues for the restaurant with minimal financial cost to the operation.


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 Author: sh1
PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:49 am 
I think that's a good idea, bdlb. As far as I know there's no stopping people from walking on the course at night now, but it's likely not encouraged. Vandalism is a problem for golf courses, and encouraging people to walk around on them is a good way to discourage vandals, who never like to have their activities observed. I don't know that the restaurant stays open at night though.

Shelby


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:19 am 
A few random items about the golf course:

President Shepard says the golf course is going to be a “a separate self-sustaining operation”. I don’t know how it’s going to be a self-sustaining operation when it’s known to be a money losing operation. This may be a ploy to keep the employees from becoming university employees with all the benefits that would result.

The group running the golf course said that rounds of golf decreased from 22,000 a year to 16,000 a year. It appears that they could make money at 22,000, but lose money at 16,000. No word on what the breakeven point might be.

The latest cost for green fees at the course was $23 a round. I suppose the University could raise the greens fee and hope that usage doesn’t drop. The University could also increase student fees and move some of that to the golf course. A number of years ago student fees transferred, if I remember correctly, $1 per hour to the golf course.

There are some fees the golf course charges on a yearly basis. Were these fees expended by the management company as they went “broke” or is there a pro-rata amount to transfer to the University?

The golf course web site went down about the middle of February.

Allowing people to walk on the course is not a good idea. Golfers don’t want people wandering around when they’re playing and “after hours” in the summer is after dark. There are no lights on the course.


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:17 am 
The temporary agreement between the city and WNMU has been extended until Sept 30, 2016.

WNMU does not operate either the grill or the bar.


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:12 am 
I recently got a copy of the sublease agreement between Silver Fairways, WNMU and the City. One thing doesn't make sense to me maybe someone can clear it up.

In a news story on the golf course Karl Halzwarth President of the Board of Directors of Silver Fairways said the Board of Directors dissolved the Silver Fairways organization on Feb 12. The sublease agreement states that Silver Fairways is operating the bar and grill until Sept 30. Did Silver Fairways un-dissolve?

A minor point WNMU now refers to the golf course as The University Course at Scott Park. Nowhere in the sublease agreement does WNMU get the right to change the name of the golf course. All the paperwork refers to the course as the Silver City Golf Course.


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:06 pm 
Looks like the University is getting serious about taking over the whole golf course, the University is advertising for a bartender and a cook.

I didn’t think it was good business for the University taking over a losing business like the golf course. But President Shepard spends over $50,000 a year from the Foundation’s President Contingency Fund. I’m told nearly all on entertainment. If the President moves his entertaining to the bar and grill at the golf course the golf course may show a profit.


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 Author: samarpan
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:11 am 
How does taking over the golf course further the WNMU Mission to "engage and empower learners in a multicultural, inclusive, creative, and caring community of teaching, scholarship/research, and service"?


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:35 pm 
Good news for Western: According to figures from Western they turned a $25,590.52 profit from the golf course from March 1 to June 30.

Revenue: $194,069.39
Expenses: $168,478.89

As a Silver City tax payer my question is why doesn’t the city operate its own golf course and put that $25,000 in the city coffers? Why does the city need an outside agency to operate the golf course? Is the city subsidizing the University by letting the University use all the course equipment free? I understand some of the equipment from Silver Fairways had money owing on it, who is going to pay the outstanding?

The present sublease agreement expires on Sept 30, 2016. There are a lot of questions to be answered about the relationship between the city and the University with respect to the golf course, especially with the liquor license.

I hope these discussions take place in public and not behind closed doors.


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 Author: samarpan
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:38 pm 
"Good news for Western: According to figures from Western they turned a $25,590.52 profit."

How is this good news if running a golf course does not support the WNMU mission? Is it good news to turn a profit engaging in any type of activity? Maybe WNMU could run a bowling alley, or a pool hall, or a strip club, or a sports bar (they have experience hiring a bartender for the golf course already). Is anything that "turns a profit" necessarily "good news" for the university?

Aren't students and student learning supposed to be the focus, at least according to the WNMU mission?


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 Author: elektron
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:04 am 
I don't play golf. Don't really care for it. That said, NMSU has a golf course, yet their mission statements don't seem to include golf. UNM has a golf course, and so apparently do NM Tech and NM Highlands. Or, at least, they are affiliated with courses. I didn't look at their mission statements. Yes, it seems odd for schools to have involvement with golf. Can't argue that.


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 Author: samarpan
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:40 am 
Yes, other universities have a focus on students that a golf course supports. For example, NMSU has "a 4½-year PGA Golf Management Program which leads to a BBA with a major in Marketing and a specialization in Golf Management ... [to] prepare graduates for careers as PGA members at various golf facilities and golf industry positions." The NMSU golf course appears to be integral to their curriculum and NMSU's student-centered mission.


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 Author: samarpan
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:48 am 
We have not even touched on the ethics of WNMU supporting a golf course in a semi-arid region. How much water is being consumed daily by the WNMU golf course? How can environmental costs be compared to a $25,590.52 financial profit?

"Audubon International estimates that the average American course uses 312,000 gallons per day. In a place like Palm Springs, where 57 golf courses challenge the desert, each course eats up a million gallons a day. That is, each course each day in Palm Springs consumes as much water as an American family of four uses in four years."

"Water-Thirsty Golf Courses Need to Go Green" NPR, June 11, 2008


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 Author: bdlb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:40 am 
It's my understanding that the course is watered with gray water from wastewater treatment plant.


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 Author: samarpan
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:53 pm 
I read an article which talks about using reclaimed water on golf courses (see reference below). Not all golf course areas/functions can utilize gray water. Cleaning of carts, clubs, balls, drinking water, catering/restaurant food prep, (or any part of the facility with direct human contact) cannot use gray water.

On golf courses themselves, in the use of gray water there is risk for the build-up of pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals, as well as pathogenic microorganisms that can create problems for grass, ranging from eutrophication to toxicity affecting plants and wildlife.

There may also be a polluting effect of salinity in soil and groundwater when reclaimed water is used for golf course irrigation. Existing wastewater reuse regulations have been based traditionally on microbiological quality considerations, and it is only in recent years that chemical and toxicological concerns have appeared on the scene.

Are all the relevant chemical, toxicological, microbiological data being collected? Who is monitoring? Who is verifying? Who is responsible for interpreting the data and translating the calculations into a lay language?

SOURCE; Golf Course Irrigation with Reclaimed Water in the Mediterranean: A Risk Management Matter by Miquel Salgot,, Gerda K. Priestley and Montserrat Folch. Water 2012, 4, 389-429


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 Author: elektron
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:22 pm 
So, samarpan, what should be done with the wastewater from the treatment plant? I'm not making accusations, just want your thoughts on this if it is not good for a golf course.


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 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:15 pm 
I don't think the University should be a profit center, but I don't mind them making a small profit (as opposed to a loss) on the theater, the golf course, or the swimming pool/gym. However, they should use any profits on their most important mission: education. Based on what I hear from students and professors, they are spending too much on the extras (sports and entertainment) and not enough on the essentials.

Bruce


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 Author: samarpan
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:11 pm 
Here is what I recommend: WNMU should use UAV and IPM to achieve sustainable PTM.

WNMU has expressed two interests recently: managing the golf course and developing a drone program (UAV). I think WNMU should combine those two interests to achieve the goal of precision turf management (PTM). WNMU could use UAV imagery to provide information that can be used to apply appropriate inputs like gray water and fertilizer strictly where, when, and in the amounts needed by plants. Also, using integrated pest management (IPM) instead of pesticides would produce both economic and environmental benefits. UAV imagery can provide real-time information on many aspects of turf quality important to turf managers, for example to determine just the right amount of gray water and fertilizer needed on each square foot of managed turf, thereby reducing negative watershed impacts and providing other environmental benefits.

My main concerns with the golf course are these:

1) Will the irrigation requirements of the golf course lead to the reduction or depletion of water supplies in Grant County?

2) Do golf course gray water supplies, as currently managed, meet target quality criteria recommendations for water intended for recreational use, or are additional treatment steps needed to provide safe reuse of reclaimed wastewater for golf course irrigation.

3) How do we reduce the long-term application of chemicals for turfgrass management (primarily fertilizers and pesticides) to minimize water pollution from surface runoff or infiltration into the ground.

If WNMU is going to manage a golf course, what I want is for WNMU to provide healthy turf that safeguards environmental quality, uses a minimal amount of water, and provides a toxin-free environment. By using drones, integrated pest management, and water supply analysis WNMU could achieve precision turf management that minimizes impact on our local ecosystem.

In a nutshell, that’s what I recommend.


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:14 am 
The golf course only gets part of the waste water from the sewer treatment plant, the rest is piped to San Vicente Creek to recharge the aquifer. I also have read studies showing the presences of medicines (both legal and illegal) and analogs of medicines like the synthetic opioids, antibiotics, uppers, downers, beta blockers etc that aren't or can't be filtered out of the wastewater. Like Flint it is claimed that this water is potable.

So the majority of the sewer treatment water is dumped in the creek in the hopes of getting "Water Credits". To prove benefits to the aquifer the Grant County Water Association drilled a "test well" near GC Airport for the dual purpose of "water credits" and providing water to the residents of Hurley. I've always wanted to test the water from the sewer treatment plant and the water from the well near the airport for drugs but it is expensive and neither I nor Gila Community News can afford it.

Despite or because of the water from the sewer treatment plant the grass at the golf course usually looks bad. I've always advocate that if there must be a golf course than it should be in a wild place as were the original courses in Scotland.


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 Author: samarpan
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:55 pm 
Crow, you have raised an important point. Pharmaceuticals are contaminants found in aquatic ecosystems and monitoring for them, based on mass spectrometry and selected reaction monitoring, is often insufficient to definitely assess water quality, according to research published in Environmental Chemistry Letters (March 2016). Does anyone know if "non-target pollutants" (pesticides, pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs) are being monitored for in the golf course's use of recycled wastewater and what specific screening methods are being used?

Here is what the article recommends:

"...potentially harmful non-target pollutants simultaneously present must be taken into account. Liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry is suitable to obtain complete information on water composition. Hybrid mass spectrometers such as triple quadrupole/linear ion trap, hybrid quadrupole/time-of-flight and linear ion trap/orbitrap analyzers should be used. Here, we review ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry methods developed for post-target and non-target screening analysis of water emerging contaminants, such as pesticides and their degradation products, pharmaceuticals and drug side-reaction products, surfactants and illicit drugs." SOURCE: Gosetti, Fabio. "Contaminants in water: non-target UHPLC/MS analysis." Environmental Chemistry Letters. Mar2016, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p51-65.


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:13 pm 
The document (linked below) by the NMED specify's the test requirements of waste water used anywhere; it seems the state only requires 4 different tests: Biochemical (biological) oxygen demand (BOD5); TSS, Total suspended solids; TRC, Total Residual Chlorine or UV Transmissivity; and Fecal Coliform. The disinfectant used here is ultraviolet light so at least we don't have those chemicals. Seems that they don't test for nitrogen compounds.

The document is ABOVE GROUND USE OF RECLAIMED DOMESTIC WASTEWATER, click on it to read.


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:00 pm 
Here are a couple of quotes from Western administrators with respect to the golf course:

President Shepard: “there may be some opportunities to use the golf course to assist in attracting and retaining students, faculty and staff”.

Mr. Beatty: “the facility can become more like a community center rather than just a golf course, he envisions hoisting weddings, creating walking paths or providing classrooms”.

The golf course, restaurant and bar are not University facilities open to the public they are facilities catering to the general public in competition with all the privately owned restaurants and bars in the Silver City area.

When people said they wanted more participation by the University in the community did they envision direct competition from the University in various businesses with all the advantages that a state agency has in taxes and other advantages?


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 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:33 pm 
There's no competition if there's only one provider. If some other private or public entity announced their desire to manage the golf course, we might have an issue. But as far as I can tell nobody else wants to do it. The University has a golf sports program, and they need the course for it. They're willing to provide access for the other golfers that want it. What's the problem if it's not costing anything? Do you really want to deprive the golfers in our community (of which I am not one) of a place to play?

If I were starting a futile one-person campaign to rationalize university sports, I would try to replace inter-university sports with intramural sports so that I could concentrate the university's financial resources on education. But I'd start with football, not golf. I'm concerned about many issues at the university, but the golf controversy seems trivial next to others.

Bruce


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 Author: samarpan
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:30 pm 
"The University has a golf sports program, and they need the course for it." (Bruce)

Bruce, in the 2016-2017 WNMU Catalog, the only evidence I can find that WNMU has anything to do with golf is this:

1 credit … PE 118 ... Beginning Golf
1 credit … PE 119 ... Intermediate Golf
Opportunities for participation in intercollegiate competition are provided in the following sports: women's basketball, volleyball, golf, tennis, softball, and cross country; men's basketball, football, golf, tennis, and cross country.


In my opinion, offering two one-credit courses does not constitute a "golf sports program."


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:31 pm 
President Shepard: “there may be some opportunities to use the golf course to assist in attracting and retaining students, faculty and staff”. This quote is from Feb. 18, 2016 right when the University agreed to take over the course. You can see that there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of thought or planning by the University administration in taking over the golf course.


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:56 pm 
I can no longer resist saying this and the older readers will get the implications: The university could make golf a requirement for an undergraduate business degree, like Golf For Business 101 and 102 with 3 credit hours each, Then for an MBA, required classes would be "The Art Of Deal Making On The Golf Course" 201 and 202. If the golf source still doesn't pay its own way in spite of using Work Study slaves for maintenance then student fees could be raised say $50 a credit hour.

This harkens back to those, you know, those good old days when many high level business deals were consummated on golf courses at exclusive country clubs among the elite white men.

I'm also glad times have at least sort of changed.


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 Author: samarpan
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:54 pm 
Crow, making golf classes a requirement might cause problems for the increasing number of distance students who are in online degree programs and are taking 100% online classes.

Unless... unless virtual golf could be substituted for face-to-face golf, as in the free "OGC Open - The Online Golf Challenge!" https://www.ogcopen.com

Of course, the students in real life, face-to-face, courses would be required to invest in a set of clubs, and that doesn't seem fair.

But making golf a requirement would avoid the "old boy network" developing on the green. There would probably be more women students/golfers than men. The university could offer discount rates to student spouses/significant others to further gender parity on the golf course.

/sarcasm off

I really don't know why academic credit should be offered for playing golf, or why WNMU needs a golf course. I am not convinced by President Shepherd's rationalization that “there may be some opportunities to use the golf course to assist in attracting and retaining students, faculty and staff”. I still do not see how the golf course fits into the stated mission of the university.

WNMU MISSION
"WNMU engages and empowers learners in a multicultural, inclusive, creative, and caring community of teaching, scholarship/research, and service."


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 Author: curious2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:50 am 
Adding a new course to the existing requirements will increase the time to graduation. In addition, it makes the degree plan less attractive, and will make it difficult to recruit new students. Besides, a three credit hour course currently cost ( Tuition and fees ) more than $700. It just does not make business sense, and goes against the current university goal to decrease the number of credit hours students need to take to graduate.


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:15 pm 
This is Appendix B from the proposed contract between the Town of Silver City and Western for operation of the Golf Course.


..........................................................APPENDIX B


Western New Mexico University will maintain and operate the Town of Silver City Governmental Liquor License in accordance with state law. The license will be used to serve alcohol in the Club House as well as on the Golf Course. The Town of Silver City will compensate WNMU for the operation of the Liquor license a sum equal to $1,000 per month.


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:40 pm 
At next Tuesday's, Sept 27 Town Council meeting there is this: "Section 11, F. Approval / Disapproval of Notice of Intent Ordinance No. 1252: an Ordinance to approve a long- term lease for the management of the Silver City Municipal Golf Course, also known as Scott Memorial Park Golf Course, under the provisions of Chapter 48, Section 48-24 of the Town of Silver City Municipal Code." I assume this is the formal contract with WNMU. For the complete agenda see our calendar to your right for that day.


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:44 am 
If Ordinance 1252 is approved today, the city will transfer over $500,000 worth of golf course equipment to Western at no cost.


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:47 pm 
The new rate schedule is out for the golf course, most rates have been increased some as high as 33%.


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 Author: timmatthes
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:54 pm 
I guess a rate increase shouldn't come as a big surprise since the previous management company wasn't able to make it at the old rates.


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:02 pm 
Remember supply and demand, as the price of a service goes up the demand goes down.

The only way Western will keep the golf course open is by using student activity fees to subsidize the course.


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 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:08 pm 
Does anybody on the forum play golf? It might be interesting to hear from a golfer instead of from people like me (and other non-golfers (you know who you are)) who know nothing about the subject.

Bruce


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 Author: samarpan
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:21 pm 
To receive $500,000 of free golf course equipment, then turn around and increase rates (up to 33%) ... that seems to qualify as an example of "hutzpah," or perhaps "shooting oneself in the foot." Time will tell.


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:30 pm 
A public records request produced the following statement from the University: $100,000 from the Student Life Fee will be transferred to the golf course on Dec 1, 2016, might be more if revenues are lower than expected.

$100,000 is the equivalent of nearly 4,400 rounds of golf.

Students pay $10 per credit in student life fees; a student taking 15 credits will pay $270 a year in student life fees. This will generate a little over $500,000 a year.

You see it’s not hard to run a golf course if you have access to almost unlimited student fees.


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 Author: samarpan
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 8:31 pm 
Al, it is difficult for me to believe that $100,000 of student fees will go to the golf course.

Given the university mission statement regarding its academic aims; given the breadth of activities student fees have to cover; given the absence of any academic golf program at WNMU: The diversion of $100,000 of student fees to the golf course should be considered misfeasance.

Misfeasance describes an affirmative act (in this case the willful diversion of student fees) that, though legal, causes harm (in this case to all student services dependent on said student fees).

Does the university have shared governance? Were students consulted about this decision?


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:16 pm 
A list of WNMU employees at the golf course

Beyale, Faylyn………Asst Golf Professional…$24,500
Chacon, Carmen………….Course Maint. Super……$36,000
Chavez, Eric…….Head golf Professional………$36,500
Law, Jeffrey….Food/Beverage Manager…….$45,000
Maldonado, Guillermo……Course Irrigation Tech……..$12.50 per hour equivalent $26,000
Ortega,Steven…………..Course grounds Super……..$28,080

Western also had job announcements for a cook and a barkeeper.

The University also said the golf coach Kent Beatty would be managing the course, but on the list I have he’s listed as an Assistant Athletics Director at $50,444

No information on the golf pros giving lessons during work hours and keeping the fee.


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:25 pm 
This is from Appendix A of the lease agreement between the Town of Silver City and WNMU for operation of the golf course.

“9.3 Advertisement. All audible or visible advertising by WNMU concerning the Premises must state that the Premises are a Town Public Golf Course.”

There are a number of signs leading to and around the golf course all of them say that the course is the “University Course at Scott Park” but none of them have the required statement that the course is a “Town Public Golf Course”. In addition neither the web page for the golf course nor it facebook page have the required statement.

This statement must have some importance to the Town because they went to the trouble to put it in the written agreement. Perhaps they want everyone to know the course is public and not a private university course.

Now this is a minor thing but it shows that either the university doesn’t know the agreement they signed or they don’t consider it important to abide by the terms of the agreement.


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 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:07 pm 
Neither the men's golf team nor women's golf team play any matches at the University Course at Scott Park.


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