In order to present as balanced a view as possible (and a blog allows me to post pretty much everything), I wrote Mystic GC owner Roland Berger a series of questions about the issues at the club. To be clear, I have been contacted by an increasing number of individuals close to the club about the current plight of the staff and am simply trying to report on what is going on at the course. I have no issue with Berger personally — I’ve only met him once.
The following is the e-mail exchange between myself and Mr. Berger. My questions are first:
> Roland: I received your note through my publisher about Mystic. I confirmed the information with a couple of members of your staff and an outsider who was in direct contact with your staff. I also know you were in negotiations with Jack Grant to sell the course, but that those negotiations have fallen through.
For the time being I will remove the post. I don’t wish to damage your business; to the contrary, I’d love to see you succeed. However, those close to the operation and directly involved with it continue to paint a bleak
> In fact, I’m willing to print your remarks on the subject, so if you’d be so kind as to answer these questions, hopefully we can resolve the matter:
> 1) Is your superintendent remaining with Mystic as staff after next week? Is the assistant super retaining his job as well? What about Mr. Wilson?
> 2) Have winter preparations been undertaken? Are they being undertaken?
> 3) Have grounds crew been let go without being paid bonuses they were promised (I’ve had several notes on this from staff reporting this problem)?
> 4) What are your plans for Mystic GC? Are you trying to sell it? Do you plan to continue funding it? How would you characterize the year at the club and how do you explain all of the personnel changes (head pro, GM,
> superintendent, assist. Superintendent)?
> I look forward to your responses and best of luck.
> Robert Thompson
Mr. Berger’s response, in an edited only to remove a potential libel on a former employee (his native language is German):
let’s focus on the part of public interest first:
Mystic is open and will stay open depending on the weather, in fact we had a very busy day yesterday, lots of walk ons.
Mystic has fund its audience during this season:
“the avid golfer who is looking for a real challenge”.
The problem I have with your way of publishing:
You talk to frustrated ex staff member (s) who have done all kind of damages and as a matter of fact: I believe the club would have done better in not having them to begin with.
I have not been in negotiations with John Grant and believe I do not even know John Grant , at least dont recall without more information.
The course is in good shape and will be in even greater shape next year, everything what needs to be done has been done in a professional way.
There is no doubt in my mind: MYSTIC WILL BE RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE GREAT COURSE UP NORTH! I’m talking form a North American point of view.
[Section removed for libel concerns…]
Robert, this is not professional and for me it is not acceptable, if a writer who makes a living in and of the golf business, takes information of such a person and publishes this even before getting confirmation.
After all, Golf is (or has become) a competitive business. It is simply not feasible to have to many staff members om a year around employment in a seasonable business.
Unfortunately, last year Mystic did not adapt its cost structure to reality. The (revised) plan was counting on an opening in June 2005. Staff was hired for this opening and goods ordered and other expenses as the opening would happen in June 05. Again, my advise in this situation was not accepted even by the end of the season.
When I stepped in by end of April 06, as an owner with no previous experience in the golf business, I learned the missing lessons in a crash course and corrected whatever could be done in shortest period of time.
After all: Golf is a business an no secret reserved to those born with a golf ball in their mouth. My corrections were good enough to get Mystic trough the first season and reach an acceptable result. Be ensured, I did not spare any expense to built Mystic to the highest standards in golf and I will continue to get the finished golf course to the best conditions. Saying this, everyone needed to do what needs to be done to accomplish this goal is today working at Mystic. This includes Superintendent Brian Taylor his Assistent and Head Pro and Director of Golf Operations Ryan Wilson. At least to my knowledge, all of this people are comitted to their work. I rely on them and enjoy working with them.
You permitted to published insults and defamation on Ontario Golf, I’m not to familiar yet with Canadian standards, but in some countries this could be a serious problem for the publisher and those associated.
I’m looking forward to a successful season for Mystic in 2007.
Personally I’m a very strong believer on the values of a free press but I dont believe that a serious publisher should supply a plateau for course language, insults and defamation, even more so for unidentified accusers.
Please publish this response in full text on the same publication: OntGolf.
I do not agree to any form of manipulation of this text.
If you have comments wright them in your own article.
Let’s hope this is the last time the business issues of Mystic are discussed. Now back to the golf….