Muirfield Village Residents Fight Golf Club Fence Plan

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Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Kent Mercker removed several trees from his backyard and installed new windows in his home to improve his view of the golf course. Now a four-foot fence installed by the golf course could be part of the landscape.(Photo: Mandie Trimble, WOSU News Reporter)
Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Kent Mercker removed several trees from his backyard and installed new windows in his home to improve his view of the golf course. Now a four-foot fence installed by the golf course could be part of the landscape.(Photo: Mandie Trimble, WOSU News Reporter)

“Good fences make good neighbors.” That’s what Robert Frost said in his poem “Mending Wall.”

But the Muirfield Village Golf Club may have some “mending” of its own to do if it puts up a fence separating million dollar homes from the rolling fairways.

The golf club recently notified its neighbors it’s considering installing a four-foot wrought iron fence around the course.

Since learning of the proposal, some 500 people have signed an online petition opposing the fence.

Muirfield resident Mike Bickley spearheaded the grassroots opposition effort when he created the petition and Keep Muirfield Beautiful Facebook page.

“We just want to keep what we have,” he said.

Bickley’s home doesn’t overlook a fairway, but he’s just as passionate about the cause.

“This is our neighborhood, our property values. We have 2,400 homes which are worth a lot of money. We pay a lot of taxes. We want to protect and enjoy what we have,” Bickley said.

The proposed fence wouldn’t necessarily obstruct the view of the golf course; but the view certainly wouldn’t be as pretty.

“The houses flow down to the golf course. The windows were placed to get views of the golf course,” Bickley said. “It really was built as a golf course community. It was built that way for a purpose.”

What annoys Muirfield residents is the two sets of design standards. Homeowners have to have a specific kind of shingle and shade of paint. Their kids’ backyard trampoline cannot be blue; it must be green. The club does not face the same rules, and it appears there is no deed restriction barring the club from installing the fence.

Kent Mercker’s house overlooks the 13th fairway. The former Cincinnati Reds pitcher and his wife, Julie, renovated their yard and house to improve their view of the fairway, abiding by community design standards. They’re both disappointed about the prospect of a fence.

“I just wonder, as nice as the fence may look if they do it, as well done as it is, I don’t know how it’s going to adversely affect property value which trickles down into the school systems for tax dollars,” Mercker said. “I mean, there’s a lot of things that I think you would have to look at. And I’m sure they’ve done that. I’m just not sure it matters.”

Mercker, who is a member of the golf club, said he was told the fence is for the President’s Cup tournament, scheduled at the course this fall.

“I understand that side of it. You don’t want anyone to get hurt or some horrible act to happen. But it’s going to be here one week,” he said.

The fence, though, would likely be permanent. The golf club declined to comment for this story.

Muirfield Village Golf Club was designed by Jack Nicklaus. The club and Nicklaus seem to carry a lot of weight in the community.

Some neighbors opposed to the plan declined to speak publicly, fearing retaliation from the golf club. One woman worried the club would reject her husband’s club membership if she openly complained. Another woman said her non-profit work could be jeopardized if she talked.

Many residents suspect Nicklaus is the driving force behind the fence, and if he wants a fence around the course, there will be a fence.

We reached out to Nicklaus ’spokeswoman, but we have been unable to confirm whether Nicklaus is behind the fence proposal.

Nevertheless, if a fence goes up in backyards, for sale signs could pop up in front yards. At least one man said he would sell. He also declined to be recorded.

The City of Dublin said the club has not submitted any proposal for review.

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