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Future of Pines golf course in question

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Whether the Recreation Authority will take over operation of The Pines Golf Course or if Decatur County will continue to finance it was discussed at the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday. — Brandon O’Connor

The future of the Pines Golf Course, a Decatur County funded 18-hole course at the Industrial Park, is in question.

For 12 years, Roland Hebert has managed The Pines, with Decatur County budgeting $104,000 for the golf courses operation costs.

The board made a motion that the Bainbridge-Decatur County Recreation Authority accept the golf course, as the authority is responsible for recreation throughout the entire county.

Commissioner Butch Mosely said the county is funding 1.5 mils to the Recreation Authority for a comprehensive recreation program.

“If they turn it down, then my motion will be to decrease that amount by $104,000 if the majority of you feel like we need to keep it. If we don’t, we’re doomed.”

Despite Mosely’s sentiments, Decatur County cannot legally decrease the funding of the 1.5 mils agreed upon in March 2015 as part of an updated Service Delivery Strategy agreement. However, he was adamant that it improved the quality of life for Decatur County residents.

Decatur County Commission Chairman Dennis Brinson agreed with Mosely.

“Everybody does not go to the country club,” Brinson said. “Those who can afford to go to the Pines, it is an asset to them. On the other side of it, we have to make sure that even though the services are available to all of our citizens, the amount of money being put into it is hard to see.”

Commissioner Pete Stephens and Russell Smith questioned Roland on how many people used the golf course.

“We have no idea,” Hebert said, “and for this reason. Golf is like tennis, or like any other sport. You go for comradeship and to play with your friends. We may have the same foursome on Sunday or the same eight people on Wednesday.”

Stephens asked how much it costs for Decatur County taxpayers for one person to play a round of golf.

“I have no idea,” Hebert said. “I couldn’t tell you.”

“That’s the problem,” Smith said. “Are we paying $104,000 for 50 people to play golf?”

Hebert replied, “We’re not here to make money off this thing. We’re not here to steal off this thing. We’re here to have a good time and stay alive.”

The Pines Golf Course will be on the agenda for the Bainbridge-Decatur County Recreation Authority’s meeting on Thursday, Feb. 12, at the Potter Street Community Center.