Now the News Thinks Rich Golfers Will Dream Up Plans for Southern Dallas Between Putts
With the exception of Mike Hashimoto, the Morning News' editorial team has been dutifully lining up behind the idea that a (semi?) private golf course can be "the tipping point" -- their words, not mine or anyone else's -- southern Dallas needs. "A game changer," the paper says.
via Dallas National Golf Club Southern Dallas already has a serene place for rich people to dream up plans for southern Dallas: Dallas National.
Next up: Tod Robberson, who chimed in again yesterday. He opens by dismissing the cynics with that trademark Morning News dickishness, comparing the unnamed people who disagree with him to indestructible varmints. Then he dreams up quite a scenario for how the course will spur development in the area:
Mayor Mike Rawlings suggests the course will have a game-changing economic impact similar to plopping down a Rangers Stadium or Cowboys Stadium on southern Dallas. I disagree. It'll have a bigger and more sustainable impact. Here's why:
Stadiums and sports arenas attract the masses for a single visit. Fans rush to get a good parking spot. They spend their money on concessions inside the venue. When he event is over, they hurry to escape the crowds and get home.
The scene couldn't be any more different from the atmosphere at a golf course. Everything in golf moves slowly. It is designed to be a peaceful, relaxing, leisurely experience amid beautiful, serene surroundings. These are times when the mind is most open to opportunities and possibilities.
He goes on to cite research from small-town Wisconsin that found that golf had a positive impact on the local economy. (You can find it too; it's the first result when you Google "golf course economic impact.") It's a public course with $10 green fees in a seasonal tourist destination for golfers, but hey: It's research!
There seems to be some serious logical kung-fu going on here. The Rangers drew 3 million people last year. The average public golf course sees something like 30,000 rounds per year. At private courses, which are typically closed one day a week and often spread out their tee times more, that number is lower. And most of those rounds are played by the members -- 300 or 400 or 500 people who play twice a week or twice a month.
That's a lot fewer potential dreamers -- even if you believe this course will draw members (golf clubs are losing them), and even if you believe rich folks simply wandering south of the river will ignite their wallets. But contrary to what Robberson is picturing, golfers aren't sketching impromptu shopping malls on the back of their scorecards between shots. Golf doesn't clear your mind; it messes with it.
Actually, counting on those big, harried crowds to spur economic activity, and not a small cadre of members, makes more sense. The annual-economic impact number being thrown around is $35 million. That's obviously based on one tournament, the Byron Nelson, which officials in Irving have estimated brings in around $39 million a year. Grab that and another decent-sized tourney here and there and you might just spur a new Chipotle.
Then again, Dallas National. That pesky Dallas National. A truly championship-level private golf course, designed by one of the game's greats with every intention of hosting majors. It opened 10 years ago in southwestern Dallas, just west of Oak Cliff. It counts 400 members, folks with enough scratch to afford a six-figure initiation fee.
Not a dreamer in the lot, I guess?