Rooney wants a mulliganby John Kennedy | March 11th, 2011
Palm Beach Gardens Rep. Pat Rooney said Friday he’s dropping his House sponsorship of legislation that would have required at least five state parks to have Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses.
Florida already has more than 1,000 golf courses –tops in the nation. And Rooney, a Republican, acknowledged he’s seeking a do-over after drawing heat from critics of the legislation.
Many say the proposal would prove a waste of dwindling state cash. Environmentalists filled websites and chatboards saying golf courses don’t belong in state parks.
“Floridians spoke very clearly over the past several days on this proposal and they are the reason I’m in office,” Rooney said. “I appreciate their concerns and hope this decision allays some of their fears.”
Rooney had insisted the bill was designed to promote tourism. It emerged from discussions between Rooney, Nicklaus, a longtime Palm Beach County resident, and Gov. Rick Scott.
The only park specified in the bill to receive a Nicklaus golf course was Jonathan Dickinson State Park, not far from the golfer’s North Palm Beach home.