When you think of Winter Park, a few things may come to mind – shopping along Park Avenue, Rollins College, the Morse Museum, and the Winter Park 9 golf course.
At Wednesday's Commission meeting, the City Commission of Winter Park approved staff to move forward with the contract to acquire Winter Pines Golf Course, a 93 acre, 18 hole golf course. A committee will be formed to assist in the transition.
Winter Park Mayor Phil Anderson says first and foremost the golf course will remain a golf course and that by purchasing the property, that means no developers can come in to knock it down and build on the active recreation space within the city limits.
For 41 years, Vince Cali has had a corner office at "The Pines."
“Hasn’t changed much," the PGA Professional says. "Some of the trees have gotten bigger, thats for sure.”
You can’t miss Vince even if you tried. His director chair with his name on the back can be found at the end of the driving range. It's also right next to the first tee box. He's seen his fair share of good swings and bad ones.
“I hate to calculate that out,” Cali says chuckling.
The city of Winter Park calculated a purchase price of the municipal golf course at $7.4 million –a purchase that many view as an investment.
“It pays for itself," Winter Park Mayor Phil Anderson states. "There is no impact to our residents taxes or anything like that. In fact, it is just the opposite. Over time, it probably contributes to our top line as a pure business investment.”
When the purchase becomes final, the course will remain exactly that.
“It will remain a golf course," Anderson assures nearby residents. "It will also be an additional area of green space really for all of our residents to enjoy.”
Meaning, Vince can likely keep his day job.
“There’s a good chance over 41 years I’ve probably given probably 3,000 different people lessons,” Cali says, with the hope to add more to the tally.
The city of Winter Park feels the same way.
The American Society of Appraisers reports the average golf course does less than 30,000 rounds of golf a year. The last two years the Winter Pines Golf Course has done more than double that number.