The city of Delray Beach appears hellbent on selling off some of our precious public open space for a quick fix to get some money from developers to repair our historic, albeit neglected, golf course.
The city plan requires the destruction of several holes at the very least and then redesigning a course already designed by two of the foremost golf course architects of the 20th Century.
The southern nine holes were designed in the 1920s by famed course architect Donald Ross. The northern nine were designed in the 1960s by acclaimed golf course architect Dick Wilson.
Will the new course be designed by a world-class golf course designer or an apartment developer? Is the new design required to be designed by renowned golf architects as part of the RFP?
In north Florida, Dunedin is faced with a similar dilemma for its run-down 18-hole Ross-designed course. Yet, their municipal leaders are not selling parts of the golf course to “save it.” Dunedin is seeking state grants of up to $500,000 a cycle for two cycles.
They have reached out to the Donald Ross Society in Pinehurst, North Carolina, for advice. Their budget to restore the entire 18 holes is estimated at $3 million to $4 million.
Why does Delray need $10 million? It is clear their strategy includes more than just a golf course.
Further, it is unclear just how many of our course’s 150 acres are on the block. 10 acres? 15? 20? Between 8% and 24% of precious green space will be lost forever.
About 40 developers, home builders and engineers from approximately 25 companies attended a pre-bid session at the golf clubhouse in mid-September.
While there is clearly commercial interest in building offices, dwellings and even hotels on the property, it is growing increasingly clear that these potential bidders do not have the restoration of a classic golf course in mind.
Regardless, it will no longer be a community-affordable golf course, clubhouse and natural habitat.

Jay Alperin
Former mayor, Delray Beach

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