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Letter: Hudson Golf Club members thrown under the bus?

Dear Editor,

After reading the Star-Observer article about the Hudson Golf Club and having been a member for over 40 years, I feel there needs to be some rebuttal to Mr. Hanson's statements.

First of all, we members were elated when the Hansons stepped to the plate to purchase our club and the River Falls Club. The purchase price of the two would be, in an appraiser's view, a steal.

No one anticipated several new buildings at both clubs, a complete remodel of the upper dining facilities at Hudson and doing an expansion of the pro shop, grill and the Hazeltine-style locker rooms/lounges. The dining facility, at one time, contrary to Mr. Hanson's statement about only golfers coming to the club to eat, is totally bogus. At one time, before the service, quality of the food and friendly atmosphere declined and before the termination of the Friday night fish fry, the place was booming and fun to go to. Our original chef was great, obviously, as he is now the chef at Minneapolis Golf Club, but he was gone in a heartbeat.

Everyone must remember the Hansons had completed a highly successful and profitable sale of their company in Hammond and then made these purchase of both the River Falls and Hudson Golf clubs. I would assume that the purchases of both clubs was including a 1031 exchange which, after netting millions on the sale of their factory, saved them tens of thousands of dollars of capital gains tax.

The only problem is that a manufacturing firm requires no day-to-day, hands-on customer service to the general public as a retail operation does (such as a golf club), and the attitude towards customers, banquet opportunities, major events such as the Hospital Foundation and Chamber events, demised quickly.

Lastly, when the Hansons notified that there would be no memberships this year, it was the icing on the cake. If my calculations are correct, they gave up over $300,000 of operating capital from dues-paying members, and the only benefits of being a member were establishing a tee time in advance of the public and having a feeling of being a member of a club. We paid extra for club storage/lockers, handicaps and events, but we all did it.

If you ask members from other clubs they all feel the article was a case of Mr. Hanson throwing the members under the bus instead of admitting to poor operational skills, temperaments and an unfriendly atmosphere.