To the Editor:
The NJDEP is considering the proposal submitted by Liberty National Golf Course to lease the
Caven Point natural area and wildlife habitat at LSP. A recent nj.com editorial stated: “Liberty National’s owner believes the expansion would attract more high-profile golf tournaments, boosting the regional economy…” This “belief” is pure speculation. The “expansion” would merely involve relocating 3 golf holes. The actual size of the 18 holes of play would not really increase. Liberty National already has a 25-year deal with the PGA, agreed to in 2014, to host “up to” 10 PGA tournaments through 2039.
That’s about one tournament every 2-3 years. The PGA is not likely to reorganize their tournament schedule simply because Liberty National reorganized 3 of their golf holes. It’s also unlikely that Liberty National can ever host one of the “majors” like the U.S. Open because it’s a very small venue by PGA standards. For the recent President’s Cup held at Liberty National, the PGA limited the TOTAL on-site occupancy to 25,000 persons per day.
Only about half of that number represented tickets available for sale to the public. Why would the PGA ever consider putting the U.S. Open at a venue where they could only sell 12,500 tickets per day, when daily attendance at a major is typically 4 times that amount or more?
The impact of the recent President’s Cup on the regional economy was probably not impressive. The tickets sold for that entire week wouldn’t sell out MetLife Stadium for 1 game. And Liberty National will be hosting maybe one PGA tournament like that every 2-3 years? That doesn’t really add up to a big boost for the regional economy.
And that definitely does not justify the loss of the Caven Point natural area to a private golf course. Liberty National also speculates that acquiring Caven Point would allow them to “serve underprivileged children through the First Tee.” They can serve the First Tee quite well on the many acres of underdeveloped property they already own at Liberty National. The idea of “attracting more high-profile golf tournaments” is just another excuse for this proposed land grab. The only reason why Liberty National wants Caven Point is to provide 3 holes worth of eye candy for the private enjoyment of the wealthy members.