Out of the rough

Posted 12/20/23

Both of us have stood at tee boxes, looked eagerly down a green fairway, and risen to the challenge by hitting golf balls straight and far – but in the absolute wrong direction.   In these …

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Out of the rough


Both of us have stood at tee boxes, looked eagerly down a green fairway, and risen to the challenge by hitting golf balls straight and far – but in the absolute wrong direction.  In these cases, we pondered whether to go searching, to tee it up again, or to just turn around and call it a day.  Each of those is usually a viable option. But, as has been the case during these past few months of hard work and negotiations around the golf park, took the tough path: we’ve gone looking.

Looking for a tiny ball in the deep rough, across a road, in the woods, or in a pond is a test of mettle. In these cases, doubt readily creeps in: will we really find it?  How many penalty strokes again? Why are our feet so wet?  And why the heck are we playing this game in the first place? 

Taking thousands of opinions from an opinionated town, integrating a beloved long-term use with beloved new ones in a limited space, and doing so under the veil of well-founded skepticism is not a simple task.  But you never find if you never look. These last few months, the odds haven’t necessarily been in our favor, but we have known what we’ve been looking for. We’ve been looking for ways to find common ground, looking for ways to move beyond past skirmishes, looking for ways forward together. 

Positive change a team sport too and that’s another reason how we arrived here, with dedicated volunteers, dedicated community members, dedicated City staff. Thank you all. We couldn’t have gotten to today without you. We’d like to particularly thank Carrie Hite and Christina Albrecht for their heroic efforts. 

As we sign this historic agreement for the Port Townsend Golf Park, we are eager to get right to it: to enliven our golf offering that’s suffered from underinvestment for decades, to bring our entire community in to enjoy new trails and public space, to preserve our remarkable native prairie, to add disc golf and foot golf and mini golf, to bolster food and beverage offerings and create an all-ages destination with special events and so much more.

We need you to make this a true success. We welcome you to the space and to become engaged as an active participant. There’s something for everyone. Join us and let’s truly make this community space our space.

Signing the agreement, we are also eager to usher in a new era of collaboration, innovation, and celebration for all in our community. It’s a fresh signal that we can work out differences, use our collective creativity, and get big things done. Let’s use and practice these new skills – maybe hitting it a bit straighter next time – so we continue to work together in the best long-term interest of our community.

After all, we may have hit it a bit long and a bit wide at first, but we kept our eye on the ball, worked together, and eventually found what we were looking for.

Written by Bob Wheeler, President of the Port Townsend Golf Park and John Mauro, Port Townsend City Manager