PGA Professional Scott Karabin plans to invest at least $200,000 in 2019 to improve the golf course and increase play at the city-owned Warren, Ohio property. He will have to lease golf carts and purchase mowers needed for the fairways, tees and greens.
The new manager of the Old Avalon Golf Course in Warren, Ohio expects to invest at least $200,000 in 2019 to get the course in the proper condition needed to make significant strides towards increasing the level of play at the city-owned public course, the Tribune Chronicle of Warren reported.
Scott Karabin, a PGA golf professional, told the Tribune Chronicle that he knows improving word-of-mouth about the condition and quality of play at the course is important to bringing people back to Old Avalon.
Karabin first set his sights on managing the golf course in 2013, the Tribune Chronicle reported, but was outbid for the project by Larry Petrozzi of Old Avalon South Management Co. LLC.
Two years later, Karabin, 52, said he began talking on and off with Petrozzi about the golf course when it became evident it was not earning the projected income, the Tribune Chronicle reported.
The Youngstown State University graduate started M2 Golf Management LLC in 2017 in preparing to win the right to manage Old Avalon Golf Course, the Tribune Chronicle reported. He also identified several potential financial partners to back the project if it once again became available.
Now that he has secured his position, Karabin plans to be a hands-on, day-to-day manager, the Tribune Chronicle reported.
“The last two managers were not golfers,” Karabin said. “I am a golf professional. This will be my livelihood. It is something I’ve always wanted to do. It is a dream come true.”
Karabin told the Tribune Chronicle he has known he wanted to be in the golfing industry since he was a teenager. Through the years, he has worked on both private and public courses, most recently as a golf pro at Tam O’Shanter Golf Course in Hermitage, Pa.
“I’ve learned a lot about operating a public course during my time [at Tam O’Shanter],” he said. “They, for example, sponsor quite a few events to draw people.”
Bringing Warren’s public golf course back to a time when there were droves of residents from Trumbull County and the surrounding area hitting the links is a challenge Karabin said he is ready to undertake. He said he knows it will take a lot of work, the Tribune Chronicle reported.
“We are going to have to do a general cleanup,” Karabin said.
Karabin’s immediate goal is to improve the turf on the fairways, the tees and the bunkers. Shortly after the first of the year, he also will eliminate and trim some trees that have been allowed to grow, taking away from the golfing experience.
“This course can be very wet, so we have to address that,” he added.
Although the city owns the course, it does not own any equipment needed to operate a golf course, the Tribune Chronicle reported. Karabin will have to lease golf carts and purchase the specialized mowers needed for the fairways, tees and greens.
He also plans to reopen Old Avalon’s clubhouse, which will have expanded choices of foods and snacks available, and he said he eventually would like to get a license to sell beer and wine, the Tribune Chronicle reported.
Karabin will look to attract new golfers, as well. “We will develop a quality instructional program,” he said. “We want to bring in a lot of younger people and some older people who may not have played or have very little experience.”
He told the Warren city council last week that he intends to look at possibly providing lower greens fees for city residents, the Tribune Chronicle reported.
“It will not be a large discount,” Karabin said. “We’re planning to have outings and host tournaments of our own. I am hoping to start a high school invitational.”
Both Councilman Dan Sferra and Council President Jim Graham expressed confidence that Karabin will be able to turn around the course and make it profitable, the Tribune Chronicle reported.
“I know Scott will do whatever is necessary to make this work,” Sferra said. “It is his passion. The idea of selling the course, in my opinion, is ridiculous. It is an asset to the city.”
Recognizing there are some who believe the city should get out of the golf course ownership business, most council members expressed their full support for the course, the Tribune Chronicle reported. Councilman Eddie Colbert said discussions about selling the property should not take place unless Karabin fails in the management of the course.
The city hired Karabin because its current manager, Petrozzi, announced in October he did not plan to operate it in 2019 and the five-year contract he signed provided an end-of-the-year, 60-day window in which he could walk away, the Tribune Chronicle reported.
The contract with Karabin has the same basic framework given to Petrozzi in 2014, the Tribune Chronicle reported. It allows him to pay a management fee that equals the amount of property taxes the city owes to Trumbull County for the golf course property. He will not have to pay the management fees during the first six months to give him time to get the course operating.
Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said the amount of time the management company can provide written notification for when it plans to walk away from the contract will be extended from 60 to 120 days, so the city will not have to scramble to find a replacement operator, as was done this time, the Tribune Chronicle reported.