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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Blame sport — not town

Winters Quarters Golf Course, a staple of the Pocomoke City landscape for more than 80 years, hasn’t failed the city and neither has the city failed the golf course.
The sport’s lackluster growth in recent years along with the inevitable increase in expenses is the biggest problem here and in hundreds of other locations across the country.
While the question of whether to continue to operate Winter Quarters and absorb some level of losses is a purely local matter, a multitude of cities, communities and private club owners have found themselves facing that same dilemma.
“America’s Golf Courses are Burning” was the headline of an article last year by Bloomberg, which reported that more than 800 golf courses have closed in the last decade because of declining interest in the game and an eruption of competition in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
That’s when golf seemingly hit its peak. As of 2005, for instance, golfers from or visiting Worcester County could choose from dozens of courses. That number has since declined, with the possibility of other closings in the offing— the Carl M. Freeman Companies, which owns the Bay Club near Berlin, is considering redeveloping that property into a high-end campground.
As Bloomberg also reported, participation in the game is down 20 percent since 2003, which means, of course, the Winter Quarters situation is no one’s fault. It’s just how things are.
No matter what the City Council decides to do, it’s going to be difficult. It’s a matter of the cold numbers of a spreadsheet versus a fondness for maintaining a city tradition of many, many years.