Florida-based Rabito Golf has operated the municipal’s instruction facility for the past three years and will still be considered for a possible return, city officials say, despite a falloff in “consistency and interest” in the past year.
The Aspen (Colo.) Golf Club is considering bids for a new golf school, following three years with Florida-based Rabito Golf, The Aspen Times reported. The possibility of Rabito returning to run the school will still be considered, the Times reported, despite a falloff in consistency and interest during the last year, according to officials involved with the operation of the municipal course for the city of Aspen.
Jeff Woods, a manager with the Aspen Parks system, said that the city’s Golf Board will work with David DiMartino, Aspen Golf Club’s Head Golf Professional, to review new bids while also considering the possibility of Rabito returning. Companies from Arizona, Florida and Mexico have shown interest, DiMartino said, and a decision is expected before March 1.
The Golf Board plans to hold a conference call with prospective candidates in the coming weeks and then follow up with interviews in February, the Times reported.
The first two years under Rabito were strong, Woods told the Times, with instructors regularly booked from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., six days a week. But with a different instructor in Aspen each year, consistency has been lacking, and interest has tapered off, Woods added.
“Last year, we had a teaching pro who, while very good, just didn’t seem to have the same connection with our community,” Woods said.
Hourly instruction rates under Rabito ranged from $125 an hour for locals to $165 for visitors, the Times reported. If Rabito is replaced, Woods said, rates would not change much, if at all.
The Golf Board is looking for instructors who will maintain a presence on the driving range, offering minor tips and engaging golfers, Woods added. “We’re looking for someone who can offer reasonably priced clinics and have a personality where the public enjoys stopping by,” he said.
The rebidding process should not be seen as anything personal against owner Carl Rabito or his philosophy in teaching golf, DiMartino told the Times. “I just thought it was in our best interest to see what’s out there,” he said. “Carl certainly has the right or ability as anyone else out there … to submit a (bid).”
In 2011, the Times reported, the Golf Board reviewed about 15 bids before narrowing the search to three and opting for Rabito. This time around, Woods said, the Board will be looking for someone who employs the latest technology in golf instruction, while also offering the right personality for Aspen.
“We’ll interview the companies or persons who have the best skills we’re looking for,” he said.
Golf is similar to skiing, DiMartino noted, in the fact that people like to see the same instructors from year to year. He attributed the success of the club’s pro shop success to a consistent staff that provides a level of service that people have come to know and expect.
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