We should all be thankful for the hard work the Delta City Council has done, and continues to do, to keep the City of Delta growing and progressing in the most responsible manner possible. In an effort to do so, council members must always take into consideration the wishes and desires of the residents and make some tough decisions on what is best.
It is with that in mind that we write this letter in regard to Devil's Thumb Golf Course. It is our feeling the Delta City Council more often hears the down-side where the golf course is concerned and not the many benefits it provides for our community. There has been much printed in the Delta County Independent in opposition to Devil's Thumb's mere existence. There is, and always has been, a major concern over how the golf course is funded. The opinion has also been expressed that the members and other people who play there do so at very little or no cost to them and at the expense of those who pay for city utilities. I can assure you that is not the case. Players pay an ample annual membership fee or competitive green fees to play the course. Most of us would agree that the additional funding of the course is not set up correctly and we would like to see it changed. It has not been a deliberate situation with the "elite" taking advantage of the rest of the community. In fact, the members volunteer their time and money to benefit and improve Devil's Thumb. There are members who volunteer their time to assist with the daily operations of the course. Other volunteer projects include interior painting of the clubhouse, donation of the large emblems on the entrance gates, the starter house, bridges on the ninth hole, tee marker designs, walkway to the ninth green, trees at the club house and parking lot, erecting the new sign at Hwy. 50, and the current project of building water cooler enclosures for the course. There is much being done to assist with the needs and operation of the course with no cost to the community or the city. We know that the city manager and the city council, along with the Golf Advisory Committee and the Citizen Financial Task Force, are currently working on a way to remedy the current funding situation.
Having said all that, let's take a look at the positive aspects of having an outstanding golf facility in our community. There is the obvious, of course, that many of the local residents take advantage of the course merely for the enjoyment of the sport, the physical outdoor experience it provides and for the social benefits it offers. Most of our friends we have either met through playing golf or enjoy the sport with those we already knew. In addition, the course attracts players from throughout the state and the country bringing revenue to, not only the course itself, but the city and the county adding to our growing tourism business. Visitors often spend a night or more in a hotel or campground and purchase food, gas, etc., while visiting here.
There are other advantages to having Devil's Thumb Golf Course in our community that we think are rarely mentioned. Golf is a growing sport among our youth within and outside of the high school golf teams. The Devil's Thumb men's and ladies' clubs do much to assist with the high school level sports by assisting at tournaments and providing needed equipment for the teams. Past purchases have included golf bags, rain suits, refreshments for tournaments, etc., for the high school teams. The course also offers lessons for kids and family night specials to encourage golf as a sport the whole family can enjoy.
Golf has proven to be a tremendous learning experience for young people teaching them not only a sport that can be enjoyed throughout their lives, but responsibility, honesty and integrity, the basis for the well-known First Tee program. The Devil's Thumb Men's Club donated $3,000 to start a First Tee program in our local schools.
Devil's Thumb has been a continuous support to the community as a venue for fundraising tournaments for various community organizations. Delta Rotary Club uses their annual tournament as their main, and sometimes only, fundraiser for the year to raise money for local nursing and high school scholarships which has amounted to $7,500 per year for the past 10 years. Other tournaments have been held by or benefitted the Children's Miracle Network, Hospice, Young Life, the Delta Elks Lodge, Delta Doves, Prison Ministries and others all for fun and funding-raising for their charities. There is no other fundraising event that can benefit these charities as quickly as a golf tournament. In addition, the larger fundraising tournaments bring an income of $5,000 to $10,000 to the course in the matter of a day or two.
Devil's Thumb has also become a popular venue for outdoor weddings, anniversary and birthday celebrations, and company parties.
Having such a facility in our community has proven a definite asset in recruiting companies, professionals, employees and retirees. It, along with our rec center and outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities, offer an unusual combination rarely found in a small town or rural community. The city itself, the hospital and the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce all list Devil's Thumb as one of our major assets.
We hope this information will be useful in weighing decisions regarding the future of Devil's Thumb. We feel the loss of this outstanding facility would be devastating to our community in many ways not usually considered.