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Chicopee golf instructor confused about ouster
Says, 'I will not give up my passion'
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Jeff Frasier, instruction director, works with Joseph McClure during McClure's first golf lesson Friday at Chicopee Woods Golf Course in Gainesville. Although Frasier was recently let go, he is still pulling in new clients in his last few weeks at the golf course. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Jeff Frasier, director of instruction at the Chicopee Woods Golf Course on Atlanta Highway in Gainesville, is on his way out after more than a decade on the job.

“I will continue teaching,” he said. “I will not give up my passion.”

The real problem is that Frasier can’t figure out why he’s been let go.

“I had no plans to leave,” he said. “I was quite shocked that they never sat down with me and tried to work something out.”

It is unclear why Frasier was axed and whether his position will be filled.

Members of the Chicopee Greens Committee, and officials with the Parks Commission that oversees finances at the course, either declined to comment or could not be reached by The Times.

Among Frasier’s many clients — he estimates teaching more than 1,500 students during his tenure — speculation is rampant that his ouster is tied to the course’s previous financial troubles.

In emails obtained by The Times, Frasier’s clients uniformly expressed frustration and confusion about his pending departure. And dozens of them showed up for a customer appreciation night Frasier sponsored last week to tell their golf instructor how much he would be missed.

Frasier said he intends to leave in mid-October.

Last year, course officials dismissed the director of golf, Jim Arendt, and took ownership of the pro shop. The Greens Committee and Parks Commission were reconstituted at that time, as well.

The moves were prompted by poor conditions and slipping revenues at the 600-acre course.

Course officials said the change would help provide greater transparency and efficiency.

The trouble at Chicopee sparked fears that the course would be unable to pay off debt on capital improvements, potentially leaving taxpayers on the hook for these costs.

In 2013, Hall County agreed to back more than $3 million in bonds on capital improvements at the golf course, with the debt to be paid off with course revenues.

The course still owes millions on this debt.

Arendt hired Frasier, who works as an independent contractor and pays a monthly rent of $850 to the course.

“My business is and always has been my business,” Frasier said, adding that he also sells tens of thousands of dollars in pro shop equipment annually, revenues that go directly to the course’s coffers.

Frasier said he doesn’t know whether his ouster is tied to Arendt, but said he never moved to Hall County from Athens because he never felt the full support of top course officials.

“I’ve been here a long time,” Frasier said. “I have put a lot of time and effort to feel like my business was a part of Chicopee’s business. If I had success, I figured they had success.”