Golf management firm overseeing Tucson municipal golf courses - Tucson News Now

Golf management firm overseeing Tucson courses

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tucson's struggling municipal golf courses will not be closed, altered or placed under private control as a way to save revenue, according to the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

Instead, the city has hired Scottsdale-based golf management company OB Sports to oversee course operations as a way to increase revenue, streamline costs and get the city's golf enterprises out of the red.

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild presented a citywide overview of current golf operations before the Greens Committee at the Randolph Golf Complex Thursday.

Tucson Parks and Recreation Director Fred Gray said the city has been looking at different approaches to get its golf operation numbers back in the black.

Gray said some courses were not making enough revenue to cover its expenses in the past several years. While some courses were making money, others were losing money.

Two courses in particular, Fred Enke and El Rio, were struggling to get out of debt but closing them was not an option.

"From the city manager's perspective and others and the direction we received was if we could keep all five golf courses operating in the best way we could, that would be the goal," Gray said.

The city put out a request for proposal and by January, signed a contract with OB Sports. The firm began overseeing operations in February 1, according to Gray.

Gray said the city pays a fee of $240,000 a year for OB Sports to manage the city's five golf courses. They were previously operated by city staff.

"They're still owned by the City of Tucson. It's still an enterprise fund, it's just a difference in management structure. OB sports is paid a management fee to manage the courses and will hopefully produce results that are more favorable than what we were able to do," Gray said.

Gray reported a $200,000 increase in the city's golf revenue for fiscal year 2013, citing the year's early warm weather as a possible reason for the positive figures.

The Parks and Recreations Department is now working with OB Sports in adopting a new budget and develop a five-year plan for future projections, Gray said.

The next Greens Committee meeting is scheduled on April 17.

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