SANFORD: Five firms show interest in managing city golf course

Oct. 02, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

The future of the Sanford Municipal Golf Course is, quite literally, in the hands of the Sanford City Council members.

Five national firms, all interested in managing or leasing the local golf course, returned proposals to the city of Sanford that were then given to city council members during last week’s Law and Finance Committee meeting. The next steps for the golf course are up to the council, according to City Manager Hal Hegwer.

“There is a significant amount of information, and what we do next will be up to them,” he said.

The proposals stemmed from a city Request for Information, which Councilman Charles Taylor requested this summer; responses were due back in early September. Taylor requested that the manager and his fellow council members review the solicited information and possibly schedule meetings to gather more information.

The following companies submitted information packets:

• Billy Casper Golf: Based in Vienna, Va., this company manages more than 130 facilities, including golf courses in Asheville, Charlotte, New Bern and Huntersville. According to its proposal, BCG would would increase promotion and thus increase golfer usage, re-energize the program, revitalize the golf-business group and increase resources. Costs of its services were not included.

• International Golf Services, LLC: This Quitman, Ga.-based company has a variety of managing operations — including golf — in the United States and across the globe. Its services include financial management, golf operations and merchandising, among others, and cost of its services was not included.

• Pope Golf: This company operates multiple private, public and municipal golf facilities, including one municipal golf course in North Carolina. Based in Sarasota, Fla., the company’s plan for the operation of the golf course would include a review of the operations and maintenance, develop strategic tasks to increase revenues and control expenses, identify performance indicators and monitor those indicators. The cost and terms of the lease could be drafted after more information is submitted to the company, according to the RFI.

• Trademark Golf Management LLC: Based in Marietta, Ga., this company is proposing a three-year lease with the city and says it could lower annual operating expenses by six to nine percent per year “by labor scheduling, establishing a capital reserve fund and effective purchasing and relationships with golf-related vendors and manufacturers.”

• Warrior Asset Management: This California-based company manages four North Carolina golf courses near Sanford and said its regional knowledge would be an asset. A monthly fee of $8,500 would include “complete property management, including marketing, accounting, managing food and beverage, human resources, auditing tee sales and personnel management.”

The object of the city’s Request for Information was to gather information from qualified firms about operating the Sanford course, and the information could be used to “develop future solicitation(s) to seek a firm to manage the golf course operations.”

The city’s goals for the municipal golf course are, as stated in the original RFI:

• Achieve revenue growth.

• Contain expenditure growth by “incentivizing efficient golf course management and operations.”

• Eliminate general fund subsidies for the course.

• Construct needed capital improvements.

• Provide the “community with affordable recreational golfing opportunities.”

David Von Canon, Sanford’s golf manager and PGA golf pro, directed questions to Hegwer.  The golf course’s total expense budget is more than $700,000 this year, including a $49,000 subsidy from the city’s general fund.