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Golf coursenot a bad choice

Orchards are no longer the best use of farmland in every situation

In the best of all possible worlds, the Rogue Valley's orchard industry would be thriving and no one would think of using orchard land for anything else.

But things are seldom as we might wish them to be. Orchards ' especially older orchards ' are no longer the economic engine they once were. International competition, falling prices and rising costs have made fruit growing less profitable than in the past.

That being the case, land once covered with pear trees will be used for something else. In the case of former orchard land adjacent to the Rogue Valley Manor, that something will be golf. In our view, that's not a bad thing.

After years of battling land-use groups in the courts, the manor has submitted plans to add nine holes to its existing 9-hole Quail Point Golf Course on land previously owned by Naumes Inc.

Naumes removed orchard trees from some of its land in response to changing market conditions and new growing techniques. At the same time, the company planted many new trees on its remaining land,and produces more fruit per acre than before through intensive growing methods.

— The company deeded 375 acres of former orchard land to the manor. Of that land, 240 acres will be used for the new golf holes.

This makes sense both economically and esthetically.

Golf is growing in popularity, and it is no longer an elite activity pursued only by the country-club set. The valley's climate allows virtually year-round golf (when it's not raining), and is home to a grwoing number of retirees, for whom golf is a popular pastime. The availability of golf courses also contributes to the tourism industry.

In addition, golf courses are attractive and preserve open space. In the case of Quail Point, building an additional nine holes south and east of the manor will enhance the appearance of Medford as visitors enter from the south on Interstate 5.

Together with the Greenway to the west and the planned sports park between Highway 99 and the freeway, this project will be an attractive addition.