Airport says golf course flag pole is out of bounds

April 28, 2017 11:27 PM

GHENT – Hazards are a common sight on golf courses, but pilots say it’s what a golf course put up that’s causing a hazard for them. This is just the latest shot in an ongoing battle between the course and the Columbia County Airport. The airport says the flag pole is a danger to pilots, the golf course says it’s not coming down.

“I’ve put the flag up in protest,” says Carmen Nero, President of the Meadowgreens Restaurant and Golf Course.

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It’s not often that a flag pole causes this much controversy. But it’s not the pole itself, rather the placement that has pilots yelling, “Fore!” “It’s legally on my land and within the air rights that were given back in 1960 to the airport,” says Nero.

The two-story tall flag pole on the Meadowgreens Golf Course is dead in the center of a runway at the Columbia County Airport, about a football field’s length away. It went up last Sunday. The airport say it is too close, and is working with the FAA to see if the pole is out of bounds.

Nero says planes are coming into the airport so low that it is posing a danger to his customers, and the golfers agree. “The planes do come in pretty low and actually we kind of joke all the time as the planes come in that actually there’s a possibility that the planes could be hit by golf balls, no question about it,” said Bryan Smith, who was golfing at Meadowgreens on Friday.

Nero says it is not just a possibility; it’s actually happened. “Planes fly into the airport here low through the golf course. Planes have been hit by golf balls,” said Nero. “The pilots come running over here jumping up and down like it’s Meadowgreens’ fault.”

Nero says that Columbia County has tried to buy his land, and when he refused, rezoned it to make it residential instead of commercial, which limits what he can do with it. He says unless the county changes the zoning of his land, the potential hazard will stay in play.

“The flag stays,” said Nero defiantly.

Nero and other golfers also complained about a jet that takes off and lands at the airport, saying the jet wash can push things back onto the course. Nero also pointed out the airport does not have a completed fence running around it.


Ben Amey

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