There are some positive signs for members of The Links golf course following a meeting last week at the SafeHaven golf facilities.
Davey Ebanks, general manager of the golf course, together with Bob Cooke, director of club operations, and Bruce Tucker, golf course superintendent, announced that the driving range and putting greens will be open from Friday, 1 December 2006. However, the facilities will be strictly for members until further notice and charging facilities will also be available.
The range will only be open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10am to 5pm and the putting area until darkness on the same days. Lessons from the golf pro, Bob Cooke, will also be available at $75 per hour. No one will be allowed on the rest of the course pending the results of an insurance appeal which has been lodged in the Jamaican courts. The appeal is expected to be heard sometime in December and if successful will result in the release of US$2.5 million held in escrow following the insurance claim.
Davey Ebanks admitted that some $3.5 million had already been spent on the irrigation system, totally new grass and various improvements to a variety of the holes following the devastation of Hurricane Ivan.
If the appeal is upheld and the escrow money released then the course will be opened as soon as practical. There are golf carts to be delivered, staff to hire and cart paths around the entire course to be constructed which is estimated to take about three months. If all goes according to plan the opening is envisaged to occur no earlier than the end of March 2007.
The Links are endeavoring to keep membership dues as before but green fees will have to be increased as the course was losing a large amount of operating money prior to the hurricane.
Members present appreciated the update even if the news was not what they were looking for, but were frustrated at the length of time it was taking to get the only 18 hole championship golf course on the island into an operational state.