Metro Government reaches agreement for operation of public golf courses

LOUISVILLE, KY (February 6, 2020) – After months of review and discussion designed to maintain municipal golf without negatively impacting the city budget, Louisville Metro Government has reached agreements with six local contractors to operate six of the city’s 10 courses.

  • Charlie Vettiner Golf Course, 10207 Mary Dell Lane, 18 holes: Patrick Vadden
  • Iroquois Golf Course, 1501 Rundill Road, 18 holes: Greg Basham LLC
  • Long Run Golf Course, 1605 Flat Rock Road, 18 holes: T Betz Golf LLC (Tommy Betz)
  • Seneca Golf Course, 2300 Pee Wee Reese Blvd, 18 holes: Kevin Greenwell, dba Seneca Golf Course
  • Shawnee Golf Course, 460 Northwestern Parkway, 18 holes: Youth Golf Coalition Inc., dba The First Tee of Louisville
  • Sun Valley Golf Course, 6505 Bethany Lane, 18 holes: Hummel Golf LLC

The existing contract for 27-hole Quail Chase, 7000 Cooper Chapel Lane, runs through 2024.

The new contracts, approved tonight by Metro Council, mark the close of a process that began last spring, when Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation, working to help address budget constraints caused by the increasing state pension obligation, issued requests for information (RFI) to gauge interest and gather ideas for the golf properties’ use.

In fiscal year 2019, Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation golf operations lost approximately $1.2 million. This past September, the department issued a request for proposals (RFP) for management, operation, and maintenance of the courses with the goal of operational and financial sustainability.  This goal is expected to be achieved for the contracts approved today.

Previously, golf operating contracts were generally structured with 100 percent of greens fees and small percentages of cart fees, concessions, and merchandise going to Louisville Metro Government.  Through negotiations, the new contracts establish agreed-upon annual revenue projections for each course based upon all sources of potential revenue and provides a split of those revenues with 55 percent going to Metro and 45 percent to the contractor to cover expenses.

None of the contractors proposed to assume course maintenance responsibilities, so Louisville Parks and Recreation will continue those duties.  Metro’s share of projected revenue will cover all maintenance and other golf operational expenses, based on FY21 projections.

As an additional incentive designed to encourage more play and activity at Metro golf courses, the contractors’ share will increase to 50 percent of revenues that exceed their courses’ annual base revenue projection.  After expenses are covered, any additional revenue received by Metro will be used for capital investment throughout the system of public courses.

No contract award recommendations have been made for the operation of Bobby Nichols, Crescent Hill and Cherokee golf courses.

Mayor Greg Fischer praised the teams involved in evaluating the RFPs and negotiating contracts, noting they reached the goal to sustainably operate the courses while potentially saving taxpayers approximately $1 million, based on $1.2 million in golf losses in FY19.

“This is a win-win for our city, our employees, our golfers, our pros and the taxpayers,” Mayor Fischer said. “I’m excited about the ideas these pros have offered, and I’m eager to see new partnerships that allow us to drive this sport forward. I appreciate the Metro Council’s commitment and hard work to help see this through.”