Paul Hornby of Newberry has been playing the course for 30 years and he helps get the next generation involved in the sport.
“It’s a quicker round, a shorter course, has a great driving range, and it hones your short game,” Hornby said about why he misses playing at West End Golf Club.
Hornby helps out with the Gator Junior Golf Association which is made up of players from kindergarten to high school ages. There are 200 kids enrolled in the program and Hornby said that when they start up again in two weeks they’ll miss being able to use the West End location.
Retired teacher and counselor Debbie Pelosi said she has lived at West End for more than 20 years on the 7th fairway. Two weeks ago the engineering firm hired by the potential developer Sayed Moukhtara planted stakes throughout the course marking where the property for 487 residential units would begin.
“When I saw the survey stakes it’s very disturbing,” said Pelosi who pointed to the edge of the parking lot to show that the distance was about the same, 30 feet from her house. Pelosi said Moukhtara’s argument that the course was under-utilized was not accurate. Her nephew and father played there because it was the only night course around.
Other residents say the last course manager let it run down and failed to maintain the property, which forced players to look for better course experiences. Peter Min, the current owner of the parcels and a realtor with Pepine Realty, has left the course unmanicured since it shut down in 2019.
The weeds have grown up to 8 feet tall and have led to calls to Alachua County code enforcement by people living along the course.
Nicole Bodlak lives across the street from the course in Tioga and stood holding a “Honk For The Green” sign. Cars and trucks passing by did just that.
“There’s too much development going on in our neighborhood,” she said. “It needs to stop. We need green space.”