Woodmont Country Club: The Decline of a Golf Course

Woodmont Country Club

By: Dick Brown

Woodmont was a magnificent Country Club Community and the jewel of Tamarac. Beautifully landscaped, clean, pristine: a truly magnificent community.  But,  for the past ten years, the City of Tamarac has not done anything to stop the Woodmont Country Club from turning the Woodmont community into one big blighted area. 

Destroying Woodmont wasn’t really an easy task because there was a covenant on the land in perpetuity for 100 years that gave the homeowners a real sense of security.  The covenant stated that the land could only be used as golf course or country club. The golf course was owned and operated by the membership, but as the demographics changed and membership declined, the members found that they really couldn’t run it profitably.  So the equity members of the club, being close to bankruptcy, decided that the only way out was to sell it. Their hero, Mark Schmidt, emerged promising he could certainly run the club profitably and once again make the club profitable. 

Supporters of the Woodmont redevelopment project at the 2013 commission meeting were allegedly employees or were hired by the developer to show up at meetings to show their support and wore green shirts. Photo by George Stroker.

Instead, his company systematically and intentionally went about causing the club to fall into an ugly unkempt blighted area. They closed 18-holes of play, didn’t regularly mow, and caused the hedges and shrubbery to choke and die by not watering, while no attempt was made to fix the broken irrigation system. Instead, the land was left to mother nature.  In the end, they couldn’t run it profitably. 

As the years passed, Woodmont got worse and worse.  The signage and marquees were all damaged in need of repair, and although promises were made by both the city and the property owners that the signage was going to be repaired or replaced, no promise was ever kept.

The once beautiful clubhouse was neglected.  People wanting to rent the club for parties were ignored by the owners which convinced the community that they just didn’t care or want the club to succeed.

Owner Schmidt and his company submitted application after application wanting to develop the property and they were turned down time after time. 

Step by step they continued to wear the City of Tamarac down.  The homeowners tried to get the city to enforce the covenant,  instead, the city did away with it.  In its place, an agreement was now made for a 50-year covenant stating that after building the 152 homes and revamping the 36-hole golf course to 27-holes, they can’t do anymore to the property.  It will have to remain as is. 

And then the city rested, after all, what a great job they did,  but for who?  An ironclad perpetual covenant had been broken, and in its stead a much weaker covenant that certainly can’t be broken – until, that is, they want to.

Now after ten years of plotting and allowing Woodmont to fall into the deplorable condition that it’s now in,  the city just gave up.  The winner, is not the homeowners, but the owners of the club who really only wanted to develop the property. 

This is nothing new as it’s happening all throughout Florida.  Less people are playing golf and the land values are going up.  Who can blame the owners of the property for seeing an opportunity and capitalizing on it?

Now that the city has agreed to all of their conditions, they are going to build a 153,000 square foot industrial warehouse compound right smack dab in the middle of Woodmont. This huge ugly complex will be on 80th Avenue, with an entrance from 82nd Street off of University Drive, the ugliest, most dangerous street in Tamarac.  This is a four block stretch of street that has two bike paths and 14 entrances already onto it now.  Adding to it, Pulte Homes, is creating a whole new community to include 52 new homes, entering and exiting from 82nd Street.  Renaissance Charter School is also fed by this section of 82nd Street.  Children going to and from three different schools and a school bus top also use 82nd Street. It’ll be just a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt or worse, killed.

The question is knowing all this, why would they want to build this monster of a complex in that location?  The answer we think is obvious: looks like the whole process will start all over again.  They are not going to settle with just building on the nine holes.  They want it all.  By creating this eyesore, it’ll be just a short time before the city will want to do something about it.  That won’t take near as long as the ten years. 

That might also explain why a major developer like Pulte would want to put this much effort into building only 152 homes. But, when you look at the rest of the Pines and the Cypress golf courses, then it would make sense.   Considering that they could conceivably be building more than a thousand new homes, maybe even a nice quality hotel along with it.  Looking at that possibility, who could blame them?  The city would have a much bigger tax base and who could blame them for that?  After all, you can’t stop progress.

It would also explain why Vice Mayor Placko, after presenting such an eloquent argument at the Tamarac Commission Meeting on February 22, stated all the reasons she couldn’t possibly allow this maintenance compound to be built in a beautiful quiet neighborhood community and that she couldn’t possibly allow it, No she said… no way.

Then at the end of the day, she voted yes.  

Amazing what can be seen when we take our blinders off.

 

About Dick Brown

avatar Dick Brown is a Resident and Vice President of The Pines at Woodmont III and knows every resident in his development in the Woodmont Country Club where the residents refer to him as the Mayor.

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