Prom Management Group has been selected to manage Phalen and Como golf courses, with a five-year agreement under which Prom would assume responsibility for all financial losses and gains, and introduce its own staffing model. The company is better known for food service at sporting events than golf course management, and currently manages concessions at three local golf courses.
St. Paul has chosen concessions company Prom Management Group Inc. to manage its Phalen and Como golf courses, the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press reported.
The city has written up a draft of a five-year agreement with the company, with a goal of making the city’s public courses—which have been losing thousands of dollars per year—profitable again, the Press reported.
The St. Paul Parks and Recreation Commission will hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. today, and then vote on whether to recommend the agreement to St. Paul City Council. The council will likely review the deal the following week, the Press reported.
The company would take over management of two of the city’s four courses this year, with the expectation of generating a net benefit to the city “in the range of $400,000” annually, Parks and Rec Director Mike Hahm said.
Prom was among six vendors interested in a contract, and graded the best, Hahm said. Prom Management would reap efficiencies of scale from its various food operations and introduce its own staffing model, the Press reported.
“Their team has significant local management experience, and they’re internationally known as a food and beverage service,” Hahm said.
The company is better known today for its food service at golf events than for course management. Prom Catering got its start in 1957 with the St. Paul Open at Keller Golf Club in Maplewood. It currently caters to more than 30 golf tournaments nationwide, many of them in the Twin Cities, as well as professional tennis events and Formula 1 races throughout the U.S. and Canada, the Press reported.
Under the proposed contract, the two golf courses would continue to be city-owned and offer winter ski or sledding programs, as well as senior passes and other existing benefits. Hahm said the rate structure for golfers would not change as a direct result of the contract, although all city golf fees are set annually and some changes are likely, anyway. The city would retain the final decision over greens fees, the Press reported.
Under the deal, Prom Management would assume responsibility for all financial losses and gains. The company would pay the city 4 percent of its gross revenues, and at a minimum, guarantee the city $65,000 annually ($35,000 from Phalen and $30,000 from Como), the Press reported.
“They may have new proposals that we haven’t thought of,” such as special season passes, said Brad Meyer, a Parks and Rec spokesman.
In addition, the two courses will each benefit from $40,000 to $50,000 in capital improvements annually, with costs split between the city and the vendor, the Press reported.
City officials said the city’s four golf courses have lost $7 million in recent years, and changes are essential. The city recently addressed the loss in a note to leading credit-rating agencies, with assurances that steps were being taken to rectify the problems, the Press reported.
St. Paul isn’t alone in weighing the benefits of private managers. Ramsey County and other municipalities have found private vendors to manage their golf courses. Nevertheless, the approach remains controversial with some members of the city council and the city’s labor unions, the Press reported.
C&RB reported on the city’s search for a private company to take over the golf courses in November 2013 (“City Seeks Private Partner for Phalen, Como Golf Courses”).
Prom Management Group currently manages concessions at three local courses—Theo Wirth and Columbia in Minneapolis, and Tartan Park in Lake Elmo. They previously provided concessions at Keller Golf Course from 1978 to 2006, the Press reported.