Last December my husband, Dennis Phillips, made a presentation at a city council meeting in regard to Devil's Thumb Golf Course. At that time we were led to believe the city council was considering closing the course.
Here we are again, less than a year later, defending its existence again, and again explaining the many benefits of the course.
• There are many local residents and players from near and far who take advantage of the course for the enjoyment of the sport of golf and the outstanding outdoor experience it offers.
• It is the facility used for the high school boys' and girls' golf teams and for many families learning the sport.
• It brings tourists to the area who spend money in the community.
• It is the venue for tournaments that benefit charities that support our community and provide scholarships for our students.
• It is a definite asset used in recruiting companies, professionals, employees and retirees to our community.
In addition, Devil's Thumb has provided a unique social community that binds the residents of the area and creates life-long friendships. We have developed many close friendships with the people we have met playing golf. We now have friends in Hotchkiss, Paonia, Cedaredge, Montrose, Grand Junction and as far away as Oregon who we met at Devil's Thumb. These are people, like us, who not only enjoy golf but enjoy physical activity and the outdoors. Though we share other interests, we would probably have never met any of them doing other activities. Golf is unique in its ability to blend people who may have never crossed paths otherwise, giving them an opportunity to get acquainted over the span of a few hours in a fun, relaxing and wholesome atmosphere. When many of our local residents are widowed, divorced or separated by great distances from family, this provides a community, a place to belong, a bond that would otherwise be lost. It also brings together people from outlying areas with the local residents expanding our sense of community.
The Devil's Thumb golf community has also been very proactive in helping the course progress through donations of time, money and ideas. There are members who have helped with the daily operations of the course.Other volunteer projects include interior painting of the clubhouse, donation of the large emblems on the entrance gates, the starter house, bridges on the ninth hole, tee markers, walkway to the ninth green, trees at the clubhouse and parking lot, erecting the new sign at Highway 50, and the construction of water cooler enclosures for the course. The clubhouse itself is there due in large part to donations and volunteers. There is much being done to assist with the needs and operation of the course with no cost to the outside community or the city. We have asked for very little from the city, no major improvements, no expensive expansion, just its support. We are well aware of the financial issues in supporting the course and do all we can to alleviate that as much as possible.
My husband has said many times that if the city closes the course we will sell our home and leave the area. We would truly hate to have to make that decision and leave a place we enjoy living, our beautiful home. Additionally, the best potential buyer for our home would be someone much like ourselves, either retired or moving toward retirement, looking for an area that has all the recreational opportunities Delta now has, and a community that is considerate of the wants and needs of the residents. The sad truth is, the loss of Devil's Thumb would adversely affect the market value of our home and that of the entire community.
So here is our challenge to the city council and the city manager.
• Accept Devil's Thumb as the outstanding asset it is to the City of Delta, not an expendable line item on the city budget. Put it on the same level with the rec center in its importance.
• Work with the Golf Advisory Committee and the Citizens Financial Task Force to create an acceptable means of financing the golf course operations.
• Adopt a program to promote the course to the greatest degree possible. A good start would be completion of the park area around the sign on Highway 50. The sign was erected one year ago this month and the surrounding grounds are still a mess, distracting from the sign itself.
• Support the course and Rob Sanders, the general manager, and allow him time to do his job in operating and promoting the course.
We sincerely hope the city will consider what we have had to say in making decisions regarding the future of Devil's Thumb. We feel the loss of this outstanding facility would be devastating to our community.