North Hempstead, Harbor Links shortchange golfers

North Hempstead, Harbor Links shortchange golfers

On the afternoon of Feb. 27, 2023, I received an email that the Town of North Hempstead had “fast tracked” an important piece of legislation that would affect all golfers who play at Harbor Links.  In June and July last year, several of my fellow golfers addressed the Town of North Hempstead Council members with our concerns about the excessive number of outings that closed the golf course to the public.  In addition to every Monday, almost all weeks had a second outing, many had a third, and a few weeks even had four and five outings (yes, Monday through Friday; the golf course was closed for a full week).

The Town Board promised to look into this and in December voted on a resolution to restrict outings to Mondays only.  This welcomed resolution was to be short-lived, as there was soon talk that golf course management was going to petition the Town Board to allow for additional outings. The now infamous email then arrives on Feb. 27, stating that the Town Board is being asked to approve 26 additional outings (Tuesdays through Fridays), in addition to the already agreed upon 20-22 Monday outings.

This vote had been originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 14, at the Town’s regularly scheduled meeting.  Mysteriously, however, this topic was moved as part of another agenda, to Wednesday morning, March 1, at 10 a.m., when most residents would be unable to attend. This matter was also never posted on the Town website as an item on the meeting’s agenda.

In 2022, golf outings occurred from April through the end of October.  In 2023, outings begin May 1 and continue through the first week of October.  Every week except two have two outings occurring and during five weeks there are three outings scheduled.

What will happen if and when an outing gets rained out?  Will another weekday disappear from public access at a later date?  The Town claims that on many of these outing days the golf course will be open to the public prior to the outing.  That is wishful thinking.  If a round of golf takes 4 1/2 hours and an outing begins at 12, you would have to start play no later than 7.30 am.  And if the round runs late, will you be asked to leave the course early to accommodate the outing?  This early morning option would allow maybe 16-20 golfers to play before the course is closed for its private event.  Not exactly a generous policy for the public access.  

The Town Board did not afford its residents the chance to be properly heard on this matter; in fact they buried it so as to discourage debate and discussion.  The Council members believe the approved resolution is a fair compromise.  Fair for what and whom? For there to be a compromise, two sides should be participating. What was not a fair compromise was shutting out the residents from allowing them to be properly heard. 

Jack Genicoff

Port Washington

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