"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Friday, April 08, 2016

Golf Clubs and the Law : Pay Up You Hackers! Of Course, We Mean That in Good Fun, Fore!

A great golf club case involving some legal heavyweights (U.S. Senior District Judge Paul Huck and Third District Court of Appeal Judge Frank Shepherd) has surfaced at Above the Law as reported by Kathryn Rubino in Legal Heavyweights Take Their Case To… Small Claims Court.

It seems that the Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables, Florida, has bylaws which provide "seniors" with certain financial privileges, including freezing the amount of dues payable and freeing the seniors from assessments.

Golf clubs have such provisions of course in order to retain older members, who due to their advancing seniority often use less and less of the golf club services offered, so that an "age" discount can make sense in such a context, even if some seniors play more at an advanced age then when they were younger, due to more free time. As Jack Nicklaus said: "The older you get, the stronger the wind gets; and it's always in your face."

The point in dispute is that the golf club is still charging the seniors with a $75 capital fee per month, which the seniors now claim is a violation of the bylaws, and so the case has gone to a small claims court to be resolved in a friendly manner, the claim asking for a declaratory judgment against the fees.

The sport of Golf is in many places going through some hard times as many club memberships are dwindling and younger generations are turning to other athletic activities. For golf clubs and golf courses, every dollar counts as a matter of paying the bills and staying solvent. We refer here to money issues and the renown Wentworth Golf Club in the UK, now in Chinese ownership.

When the already often more cash-heavy seniors begin to rake in the privileges at the cost of the younger membership -- this is an evil that marks much of American society today, the problem of wealth inequality -- then things must be "reassessed". Traditional golf club "assessments", often levied as lump sums for improvements, appear to us to be in a somewhat different category than "recurring fees" so that this is an interesting case legally.

What RESPONSIBILITY should members have viz. pursue? We are reminded here of a quote (via Ron Furlong, Bleacher Report, 50 Greatest Golf Quotes of All Time) by former Masters champion Bernhard Langer that should put a smile on every jurisprudential face: "Man blames fate for other accidents, but feels personally responsible for a hole in one."

On the importance of keeping Golf on top of the world, Robert Lynd stated: "It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place this world is when one is playing golf."

We should try to make golf available to MORE, rather than to less, people.

See in this regard How to Join a Private Club, an article by Brett Avery at GolfDigest which discusses the ins and outs of private golf club financing and the money responsibilities that members face.

Of course, we mean this all in good fun out of love for golf, and, for all we know, perhaps these gentlemen play to a scratch handicap, so that the title "hackers" may not apply literally, and indeed it is merely a golf term often thrown by good players at each other in the "benevolent" spirit of the game.

Nevertheless, Golf's financial considerations remain a serious subject,
almost as serious as the game of golf itself.

to which we close with a quotation from Paul Harvey:
"Golf is a game in which you yell 'fore', shoot six and write down five."
Good Night! (to those who remember, and take a look at that link....)

Astronomia Clarity Watch : Jacob&Co Astronomia Gravitational Triple Axis Tourbillon : RobbReport Features 10 Compelling Timepieces from Baselworld 2016

RobbReport presents the Top 10 Most-Compelling Watches from Baselworld 2016 in an article by Victoria Gomelsky.

The image above is linked from the RobbReport slideshow of those 10 watches and shows the "out of this world" (RobbReport description) Jacob&Co "Astronomia Gravitational Triple Axis Tourbillon", a rose gold timepeace encased in transparent sapphire, with a reported price tag of something like $600,000. See the Jacob&Co home page here for a short, spectacular presentation right at start-up.

New Toyota Research Facility to be Built Near University of Michigan Campus at Ann Arbor

According to a posting by Justin King at LeftLaneNews, Toyota to build third US research facility in Ann Arbor, near the University of Michigan campus.

Crossover SUV Supercars Soon to be in Production? Lamborghini Urus, Aston Martin DBX, Rolls Royce Cullinan

Lindsey Bjerregaard at RobbReport covers three new SUV crossover supercar concepts scheduled for production soon: the Aston Martin DBX Concept Car, the Rolls Royce Cullinan and the Lamborghini Urus.

The image above of the Lamborghini Urus is linked from Robb Report.