Monday, September 19, 2005

Challenge TPC San Antonio's No-Locals Policy

Two days ago I headlined a post this way: "TPC San Antonio Closed to Locals?"

Within that post, I wrote this: "I've been a supporter of this project all along, and if the courses are difficult for us regular people to get onto, that won't alter my support. But it sure takes away most of the anticipation."

After checking with the reporter who wrote the original article in the Austin American-Statesman, I think we can remove the question mark from that headline.

And after a couple days thinking about this, it's more than a matter of having my anticipation lessened. I'm pissed!

Let's review: The Austin American-Statesman runs an article that is a good recap of and update about the TPC San Antonio project. It includes the following sentence:

His (Dye's) and Norman's courses in Bexar County will be open to guests of the resort, an arrangement similar to the one at the Four Seasons Resort in suburban Dallas.

Can this be true, I wonder? After the long struggle to get the courses built in San Antonio, after all the giveaways the resort developer received from San Antonio, would the resort truly be open only to resort guests, and not to the general San Antonio golfing public?

I checked with Kevin Robbins, who wrote the article for the Statesman. Am I interpreting this correctly? I asked. He replied that it was his understanding that only resort guests would be able to play the two TPC San Antonio courses (and said he'd look into it further). So yes, unfortunately, I interpreted that paragraph correctly.

Let's restate it clearly: The two TPC San Antonio courses will be open only to resort guests. San Antonio golfers? Hey, you want to play, get a room.

Have I mentioned I'm pissed?

Was this the plan all along? Is this only coming to light now because the resort principals knew all along this would be the case but hid it until well after they had sucked all the goodies out of the city and county that were available? (And is that why the resort principals admitted it to the Austin paper, but apparently have never mentioned this to the San Antonio paper?)

San Antonio promises not to annex the property for 25 years, saving the principals tens of millions of dollars in taxes. The Texas Legislature passes a bill that grants the developer a special taxing district, so the developer can raise money by levying taxes. And these things happen after the City of San Antonio bypasses public sentiment against the original project with an end-run around its concerned citizens.

The response of TPC San Antonio to all this largesse? Thanks, San Antonio; oh, and by the way, you can't play out here.

I don't think the PGA Tour is to blame; it will manage the golf courses, but the owner of the resort - the JW Marriot Corp. - sets resort policy. And Marriott's resorts are swanky, and many of them have the same policy: only guests can play the golf courses.

After all that San Antonio has done for this project, after all the support of local golfers, you can bet that San Antonio golfers will feel angry, betrayed, screwed when they hear this information.

Is there anything that can be done about it? Yes: Mayor Hardberger, County Judge Wolff, we are looking to you to raise some hell. Put on the pressure. Remind these greedy bastards that they pledged - as they took our handouts - to be good citizens of San Antonio. But you can't be a good citizen of San Antonio if you won't speak to your neighbors.

Hey, it's not like the TPC courses would be crawling with local golfers anyway. Ninety-percent of locals would probably not even consider playing those courses because the greens fees will be so high. The Four Seasons Resort in Dallas charges guests more than $150; guests of the guests are charged more. That's the neighorhood the TPC San Antonio courses are likely to be in. That's a damn ritzy neighborhood, and many of the neighbors won't do anything more than drive by to check out the property.

But San Antonio golfers who want to play should have that option. (The Hyatt Hill Country Resort and the Westin LaCantera Resort don't just allow locals to play, they encourage us to play.)

There may be nothing the city or county can do, even if they are so inclined, to legally challenge (as in threatening to rescind certain tax giveaways) a guest policy that says San Antonio's golfers aren't welcome.

But there is something else we can all do: Raise some hell.

Raise some hell. Protest the restrictive policies that appear to be in place at TPC San Antonio. Call the mayor. Call Judge Wolff. Call the sports talks shows on the radio. Put public pressure on. Embarrass Marriott; embarrass the PGA Tour. It might be Marriott's policy, but you can bet the PGA Tour can influence it, if they are forced.

Let's force them. They took our handouts. San Antonio golfers gave them a hand in getting this thing built; now, apparently, they're giving us the back of their hand. So let's give them the finger.

Raise some hell, and force TPC San Antonio to let locals play.

1 comment:

  1. Bubba Tex5:46 AM

    No play for locals...What a scam on us San Antonio taxpayers. Maybe the green fee would be high, but I'll pay it 1-2 times a year to play a TPC course.
    Tell the Marriot- I'll even wear a collar and socks.


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