True, False, or a Little of Both


The recent article in the Rancho Santa Fe Post “Non-Golfers Don’t Get A Vote” is deeply inaccurate. While there are some true statements made, many do not provide the entire picture or are blatantly false. The following is an accurate recount of the claims in the article, which I classify as true, false or a little of both.

Let’s start with the article’s first line: “Non-Golf HOA members are subsidizing our Golf Club” – False.  The Golf Club is actually quite profitable and is running 100% on dues collected from Association members that are also Golf members.

Golf Restaurant Subsidy Program – A little of both. It is true that the Association did not get a vote on a share of the run-loss of the Clubhouse Restaurant. But the author’s claim that non-golfers are paying for half of it – False.  Golf members are also Association members who make up almost 30% of the RSFA. These Golf/Association members are paying half from their golf dues and then 30% of the other half. So, the actual amount that non-golfers are paying for the run-loss on the Clubhouse Restaurant – a community asset – is closer to 35%.

Community Asset

The Clubhouse Restaurant is an amenity for the entire community, much like the trails, open spaces, and fields we all enjoy. These resources all cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain each year. We all love these amenities, as they enhance the experience of living in Rancho Santa Fe and being an Association member.  That being said, this Board (of which I’m currently a Director) is working with RSFA staff to develop an operational plan for the Clubhouse that will eliminate or limit the Association loss exposure, because we also believe that there needs to be better controls as well as a better experience.

Golf Restaurant and Snack Bar Planning Subsidy – A little of both. The Association Board did not put this to a vote of the community; but if you are comparing the amount of the Clubhouse Restaurant and Snack Bar Feasibility Plan with the amount voted for on the “Covenant Club” planning (which was passed because the community believes in enhancing our amenities), our Board agreed to spend half of the $450K, as the Golf Club will be paying the other half.

You Will Get a Vote

Nine million dollar Golf Restaurant and Snack Bar Renovation – False.  Allow me to review the claims made regarding this topic on a point-by-point basis:

  • You will not get a vote – yes you will. When the Board of Directors approved the investment in planning, we all agreed that there would be a community-input period to review the plans and costs and then a community-wide vote.
  • How many non-golfers eat at the Clubhouse Restaurant – In FY 2022-2023, 40% of all restaurant revenue was from non-golf members. The Clubhouse Restaurant sends out a daily email to all Association members, with daily specials and a link to the menu.  The Divot Newsletter is sent out to all members, and has the upcoming events hosted at the Clubhouse Restaurant. There is outreach to the community to utilize the Clubhouse Restaurant.
  • Not one cent of HOA dues goes to golf dues. Not one cent!
  • The Golf Club paid for the renovation of our golf course with its money. The result is incredible, and all this has done is add value to our entire community.
  • All Golf Club debt is paid for by Golf Club members only – not HOA dues.

Non-Golfer’s Six Pack – True.  In 2018 The Association Board approved elimination of limited playing privileges. Whether the Board’s action was breaking the law, I have no idea and such an accusation appears to be conjecture.

Players Clubhouse – False.  Women have never been excluded from the Players Clubhouse.  In fact, the women’s locker room is in the Players Clubhouse and adjoins the Veranda Bar, where many women enjoy a game of cards, Mahjong, and an occasional adult beverage.

Members need to know the truth, or else claims can too easily be considered fact. It’s important to set the record straight with the entire picture.

Mr. Thurman is a long-time Ranch resident, current Association Director, and a proud member of the Association and the Golf Club.