Members of the Brentwood, Calif. club are being asked to use the neighboring Deer Ridge Golf Club, which some say is not an adequate alternative. Shadow Lakes, which has a larger footprint and uses more water, is being kept open for tournaments, special events and banquets.
Shadow Lakes Golf Club and Deer Ridge Golf Club are both 18-hole golf courses that are adjacent to neighboring residential developments in Brentwood, Calif., the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times reports. The two clubs are owned and managed by the same company, and for several years members have had access to both courses on a daily basis, the Times reports.
But as of December 1, Shadow Lakes Golf Club has eliminated daily play on a temporary basis and players have been asked to use the Deer Ridge course instead, the Times reports. While the closure is based on economics, demand for play and California’s five-year drought, many Shadow Lakes residents are unhappy about the decision and how it impacts their lives, according to the Times.
Charles Fralix, General Manager of both clubs, explained to the Times that the decision was dictated by the fact that two golf courses require a high level of player use and a tremendous amount of water to maintain them to the level expected by members.
“The club began a course rotation schedule during 2015 in order to balance demand with limited resources, and it was met with favorable response,” Fralix said. “Our industry has been hard hit of late. With so many golf course closures nationwide, it is a particularly challenging time in the golf industry nationally and even more so in California, with the increased impact relative to the drought.”
Significant water limitations and cutbacks issued by California Gov. Jerry Brown earlier in 2015 dictated that everyone in the state must reduce water consumption, the Times reports. Because of these cutbacks, and after months of study, the management of Shadow Lakes and Deer Ridge determined that its members and the surrounding communities would be best served by limiting golf play to Deer Ridge Golf Club and eliminating daily play at Shadow Lakes.
The decision over which course should remain open was based on customer demand and play patterns, the Times reports, and it was concluded that it was more viable to offer daily play at Deer Ridge while maintaining Shadow Lakes.
“Shadow Lakes offers a much larger footprint than Deer Ridge and uses more water,” Fralix explained. “A golf course in maintenance mode does not need to be watered as frequently or as deeply, and this is especially true with respect to tees and greens.”
Fralix stressed that Shadow Lakes remains open for tournaments and special events, as well as banquets, and that eliminating daily play at Shadow Ridge was done to maximize the best possible experience across the street at Deer Ridge.
But Christina Bell, a resident of Shadow Lakes, with a house on that course’s eighth green, told the Times that she was unhappy with the decision. “Our family is really devastated. Deer Ridge is not an adequate alternate,” Bell said.
“Shadow Lakes not only has a clubhouse but an event center and a driving range,” Bell added, “while the Deer Ridge side does not have a driving range, a putting green or an event center.”
Bell, a former Homeowners Association Board member for Shadow Lakes, told the Times that she brought up the issue of a possible course closure last year and suggested that membership help to develop a number of plans that would keep the Shadow Lakes course open for daily play.
“I think a better solution would have been that the Homeowners Association worked with the management of the golf course to try and keep the course open—either to subsidize it or add it to our membership in some way or come up with an agreement where each lot pays a certain amount that goes toward golf course maintenance and a membership,” Bell told the Times. “They said at the time that they weren’t interested.”
When contacted by the Times, Melissa Hajostek, Chief Operating Officer of Bay Area Property Services for Shadow Lakes Association, said, “The Association does not have all of the information at this point, as this is such a new issue.”
Fralix told the Times that he expects to communicate with Hajostek in the near future to discuss specifics about Shadow Lakes, and then made a point of reiterating that the course does remains open.
“Again this is not a golf course closure, simply a suspension of daily play at this time,” Fralix stressed. “We are to remain open to working with the community for the best possible outcome going forward. We will be reaching out to the community to initiate some discussions in early 2016.”