Keep the golf course and history intact | Letter to the editor

My wife and I were thrilled when we bought our home here in Port Townsend last summer and have been very happy here since the day we arrived. The Olympic Peninsula is a beautiful part of the world and Port Townsend is a special place.

One of the many things that make PT special is the gem of a nine-hole golf course that has been home to Port Townsend golfers for more than a hundred years (since 1906). I have been lucky enough to play golf in some spectacular settings around the country. And though there are certainly courses with more resources, grandeur and design, I’ve never come across a track that was so simply enjoyable than the little beauty we have here. The combination of a lovely layout with terrific vistas – and the friendly and welcoming staff and members make a round at the PTGC something to look forward to every time I play it.

The fact that the town is considering repurposing the property is terribly sad. Port Townsend already has an abundance of hiking trails and open spaces. The course is the only park in the town that generates its own income. The group of players that enjoy the course throughout the year are devoted to the course and each other. 

The town government has not proven itself to be effective or competent stewards of public property (the shuttered building brought from Victoria at the cost of millions of dollars being a prime example). Why anyone should expect a better outcome should the town take over the course’s land is a mystery.

As I mentioned, the course is a true gem — and could be even more special if the town would support and promote it. With proper support and advertising, it could attract potentially hundreds of golfers and many thousands of dollars a year to the town and its businesses. Property values could well be enhanced with the course gaining in popularity.

Can we not realize the sparkling opportunity the course offers if only it received the support from those who, instead, wish to squash 100 years of tradition, sportsmanship and community. 

For those willing to think outside the box a bit, there are certainly ways that the land upon which the course sits could be opened up for greater community access and involvement, without impacting the viability of the course as a functioning nine hole layout.

– The restaurant is a prime location for indoor and outdoor dining, and could be a fantastic destination for visitors to the town, and its residents. 

– Popular golf programs for youth could be developed through the First Tee organization, which has had incredible success nationwide. 

– The local high school calls the course its home, promising ongoing, possibly lifetime involvement and participation of the students who grew up playing there.

– Certain areas of the course property might be made available for use as public gardens or a dog park.

I urge town officials to fight to keep the course open and the long tradition of Port Townsend golf alive.

Whit Porter