New upgrades to the Bellport Golf Club were approved in a Bellport Village trustee meeting Monday, which overtook much of the almost two-hour meeting. Residents and board members clashed on elements of the process, as well as on elements of the plan that would expand the current course to include a practice area.
Residents who live around the golf course expressed concern with adding a driving range, and some suggested adding different non-golf amenities, like a pool or nice restaurant, which mayor Ray Fell agreed would be acceptable.
Officials stressed that the Golf Master Plan that was approved by the board on Jan. 28 is not a license to perform any work. It is an acceptance of the plan presented to the board by the firm Love & Kington Golf Course Design and Land Planning, which was hired to perform a report that outlines any changes that could improve playability and member experience. Those changes, if warranted and suggested by the golf commission, scoped and priced, would need board approval to move forward. Village attorney Dave Moran explained during the meeting that not accepting a plan that was sanctioned by the village could open them up to audit liability.
Officials also explained that any money spent on course improvements comes from the member revenue, where each member pays $250 of their membership fee toward continuous improvements. Five years ago, the amount was $50 per member. This year, the club has $90,000 to spend on upgrades.
Brit Lawlor, chair of the golf commission, said the upgrades this spring would be for three different holes. The first would be hole two, where the club will spend $28,000 to add two bunkers on the right side, in an effort to make it more challenging. On hole three, the club will add one bunker to the left and two to the right, about 70 yards prior to the green. There will also be mounds added as a buffer. Those improvements will cost about $44,000. On the 17th hole, mounding and some bunkers will be added where trees were removed last year. That project will cost about $5,000. The board of trustees approved these suggestions at the meeting Monday.
The golf commission, at the direction of the board of trustees, will spend the next few months prioritizing other improvements suggested in the master plan, to then be brought up for the next time funding is available. Lawlor added that the golf course has made a significant recovery from being in the red five years ago to now being profitable.