(Pictured: Candler Park GC)
When American Golf Corporation ended its arrangement to operate the city’s courses three years ago, it took its alcohol license with it, requiring the Parks and Recreation Department to get the city to grant an exemption from existing distance prohibitions for selling alcohol near private residences, places of worship and schools. The Parks and Recreation Commissioner estimates that selling alcohol again at the city’s four courses will bring in between $100,000 and $200,000 of additional revenue annually.
Golfers on the four courses owned by the City of Atlanta, Ga. will once again be able to buy alcoholic beverages after they tee up, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported.
The Atlanta City Council paved the way for the courses to get those licenses on January 6th, when it unanimously approved an ordinance that grants the city an exemption from existing distance prohibitions for selling alcohol (300 feet from private residences, 500 feet from a place of worship, and 600 feet from a school).
C+RB reported at the end of December (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/atlanta-parks-department-seeks-to-end-golf-course-alcohol-restrictions/) that the city’s Parks and Recreation Department had proposed the change, and after it was passed, Parks and Recreation Commissioner John Dargle Jr. told the AJC, “We think that this is just going to add value to the [golfing] experience [at the city courses].”
The change will provide between $100,000 and $200,000 in additional revenue for the city, Dargle estimated. The total budget for the city’s golf courses is about $3 million, the AJC reported, and the courses make about $200,000 to $300,000 annually, according to Dargle.
About 120,000 golfers use the city’s courses each year, according to Dargle, with city residents paying $23.50 a round Monday through Thursday and $26.50 a round Friday through Sunday. Non-residents pay $28 and $32 for those periods.
Atlanta has made multiple investments in the courses over the last few years, including improvements to restrooms, bunkers, club houses and equipment, the AJC reported.
In its 2020 budget, the Parks and Recreation Department said it is working on a long-term business plan for its golf operations and that it has set a goal of “securing employees and optimizing staff levels to meet operational and customer needs, and also securing equipment and contracts necessary to run quality youth and senior programming at facilities.”
In addition to selling alcohol at its snack bars, Dargle said the city will now plan to offer alcohol from beverage carts on its three 18-hole courses—Browns Mill, Chastain Park and Tup Holmes, the AJC reported.
But the city has no plans to have a beverage cart at its nine-hole course, Candler Park, because it doesn’t have a cart path.
The change came after the Parks and Recreation Department took over management of the city’s courses three years ago, after a dispute with Los Angeles-based American Golf Corporation, while had operated the facilities for 30 years, the AJC reported. While American Golf had a license to sell alcohol on the courses, the city did not.
The city also used to own the Bobby Jones Golf Course, but that property was traded to the state of Georgia in 2016, as part of a deal to sell the city’s Underground Atlanta entertainment and shopping district to a private developer. At the time, the deal caused angst among regular players of the course, as well as some residents, the AJC reported.
And the land swap prompted American Golf to not bid on a new contract, with the management firm saying that “the removal of Bobby Jones from the city lease removed a key economic driver, with the remaining group of courses not providing a viable economic option for a lessee and the City.”