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The Villages
Thursday, March 16, 2023

District official takes over responsibility for executive golf courses as complaints grow louder

When Villager Tom Novak spoke out about the poor condition of executive golf courses in The Villages, he appeared to be speaking for a large number of golfers in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.

Novak’s comments last week before the Village Center Community Development District Board of Supervisors spurred plenty of discussion about one of the hottest topics, and sorest points, in The Villages.

“I play on the executive courses and some are better than others, but they all need better care. The tee boxes, greens, the fairways, are bad,” said Dorian Godtfedsen of the Village of Orange Blossom Gardens.

He said he played the Palmetto Executive Golf Course recently and the greens and tee boxes were “absolutely terrible.”

Godtfedsen first came to The Villages 15 years ago as the guest of a resident. And he was impressed with the golf courses.

“So when I retired, I bought here and moved here. It’s been almost four years and they are getting worse not better,” he said.

Audrey White of the Village of Tall Trees agrees.

“Our amenity fee keeps increasing and the quality of the executive golf courses has deteriorated significantly. Most of the greens that I have putted on in the last several months have numerous bare spots and weeds. Putting on these greens is a joke,” White said.

Tom Connolley of the Village of Palo Alto said he believes golfers bear some responsibility for the condition of the courses.

I agree with Tom Novak about the condition of the executive golf courses in The Villages. But some, not all of the blame, must go to the people who play the courses. Many of the greens look like they have been under a mortar attack because inconsiderate slob golfers fail to, or refuse to, fix ball marks. After a while, those damaged points can lead to the deterioration of the  green. In addition, the sand traps get worse and worse when players refuse to rake them,” Connolley said.

He also said golf personnel should have greater authority in ensuring that golfers follow the rules.

“Once we do our part, then The Villages needs to step up with their maintenance procedures and enforcement of proper etiquette,” Connelley added.

Last week, it was announced that Assistant District Manager Bruce Brown will have two new areas of responsibility added to his portfolio – oversight of the executive golf courses, as well as The Villages Public Safety Department.

Brown joined The Villages District office as assistant director of District Property Management. Five months later, he was named head of District Property Management, when the director stepped down.

Brown has earned high marks for his performance. He added the title of assistant district manager in 2022. Brown will keep District Property Management in his area of responsibility, but a new director will be hired and will report to Brown. Director of Executive Golf Mitch Leininger will also report to Brown.

Before joining The Villages District Office, Brown spent more than three decades in the Coast Guard.

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