OB Sports will manage the municipal Mt. Graham Golf Course in Safford, Ariz., under a short-term, five-month contract as the city determines what direction it wants to take the property. In Michigan City, Ind., KemperSports has been retained to manage Pottawattomie Country Club, which includes an 18-hole golf course, pool with snack bar, and newly built clubhouse.
The city of Safford, Ariz., continues to rehabilitate its municipal Mt. Graham Golf Course after the departure of Springbok Development LLC, and will have the assistance of Scottsdale-headquartered OB Sports in the interim, the Safford-based Eastern Arizona Courier reported.
At its January 11 meeting, the Safford City Council unanimously voted to approve a five-month contract with OB Sports to provide consulting services on the golf operations and maintenance of the golf course, the Courier reported.
According to Mayor Chris Gibbs, the consultant will help the city continue to operate and improve conditions at the course during the interim as it decides on the best management possibility for the long term, whether that be city managed, joint managed with other municipalities and the county, privately managed or a public/private solution.
Safford’s Interim Financial Services Director Alma Flores has been assigned as the golf course’s interim manager and gave a report to the council on the course’s rehabilitation progress, operations and budget, as well as her recommendation to approve the contract with OB Sports. “They’re very well known,” Flores said. “They’re very good at what they do.”
Some of the benefits from hiring OB Sports include assistance with budgeting and the course’s fee schedule, maintenance and provide options on what to do with the golf course in the long term, the Courier reported.
According to the contract, OB Sports will assist in a number of aspects of the golf shop operations, including recommendations related to provide golfers with minimal food/beverage service, will work with golf course staff and make recommendations on all golf course maintenance activities, and will provide Safford with its national account buying power for all departments at the course, the Courier reported.
For its services, OB Sports will be paid $2,000 per month and will have a representative perform visits every two weeks. In addition, OB Sports will provide Safford with a written progress report every other Friday and, as part of its contract, will allow Safford golf course members to receive “traveling privileges” at all participating OB-managed facilities, the Courier reported.
Springbok signed a 50-year lease April 26, 2010, but after the subsidy ended in October 2015, Springbok LLC CEO Jeffery Holt approached the city and requested a buyout. The city eventually agreed to pay Holt $97,177 for personal property, equipment and the course’s liquor license. The city then took over administration of the course November 29, 2015, the Courier reported.
Since taking the course’s management back from Springbok, the city has weeded extensively, sprayed the greens with a green dying pigment because they were not seeded for winter, repaired golf cart paths and increased its golf cart fleet from 15 in working order to 30, fixed multiple sprinklers, changed every cup, flag and flagpole and cleaned up the range so it is usable once again. The city bought 56 new batteries for the carts at a cost of $6,000 and utilized a $5,000 donation from the town of Thatcher to help with the purchase, the Courier reported.
The improvements seemed to have enticed players back to the course as Flores reported the course received $8,379 in new membership fees in December 2015 alone.
Gibbs said the partnership with OB Sports will be beneficial as the council decides the course’s long-term future. “I believe that that’s a good way to go, spend the next five months figuring out exactly where we need to be,” he said.
In Michigan City, Ind., KemperSports will manage Pottawattomie Country Club, located an hour from downtown Chicago.
The 18-hole, par-72 championship golf course was designed by Tom Bendelow and opened in 1909. In addition to golf, the club includes a family-friendly pool with adjacent snack bar, pro shop and a newly-built clubhouse with multiple dining options as well as ample space for private events and weddings.
“KemperSports is the right partner to lead our club in to the next generation,” said board president Kevin Martin. “As a fellow Midwest company, they share in the similar values of exceptional service and experience that have been instilled at Pottawattomie Country Club.”
KemperSports will be tasked with delivering innovative membership retention and sales programs while leveraging clubhouse utilization for additional social events, weddings and member programming.
“Pottawattomie Country Club is widely recognized as one of the finest family-friendly private clubs in the region,” said KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner. “We look forward to working with membership to ensure the highest levels of service are maintained at their historic club.”