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Manteca needs new pro within 14 days

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Manteca’s golf course will be without a golf pro on Aug. 1 unless the Manteca City Council makes a decision on who to award a contract to on Tuesday.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED July 17, 2017 12:47 a.m.

Council members Gary Singh and Richard Silverman earlier this month believed the Manteca municipal staff did a solid job screening three competing proposals to take over golf pro services and making a recommendation to go with Jeff and Geanna DeBenedetti — a couple that currently holds a similar position at the City of Livermore’s Las Positas Golf Course.

The rest of the council wanted more time to weigh the proposals. So at the July 5 meeting the council voted 3-2 — with Singh and Silverman dissenting — to revisit the issue this Tuesday by bringing back the two top proposals as rated by city staff. The council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

The council is under pressure to make a decision given Marjie Thomas — who has been overseeing the golf course after her husband Alan’s death earlier this year — has made it clear she wishes to be done as of July 31. That means a golf pro needs to be in place within 14 days of Tuesday’s meeting to avoid disruption of course play.

A recap of the two proposals as rated by staff in the words that Parks & Rcereation Director Kevin Fant provided in the agenda report for this week’s meeting:

uDeBenedetti Golf Shop, Inc.: “ Jeff DeBenedetti is the CEO and Head PGA Golf Professional for his company, DeBenedetti Golf Shop, Inc. Jeff has 26 years of experience in the golf industry and has been employed at Las Positas golf course in Livermore since 1991. Jeff received his PGA credentials in 1997 and has been the head Golf Professional at Las Positas since 2005. He is a class “A” golf professional with the PGA and currently holds the position of President of the NCPGA Bay Area Chapter and is a board member of the NCPGA Junior Golf Committee. In addition to Las Positas, Jeff managed Springtown Golf Course in Livermore during a transitional period from 2007-2009. Jeff’s wife Geanna is a partner and is responsible for management of the Golf Shop staff, merchandising, payroll, inventory, financial reporting, and human resources. She also has over 25 years of experience in management of retail facilities.

“The DeBenedettis’ vision for the golf course is one of a partnership between them and the City. The vision is based off of strong customer service and working with the City and golfing community to close the gap between golf revenues and operating costs. An aggressive marketing strategy will be implemented and annual fee reviews will take place to ensure we are moving in the right direction.”  

uBrent Beck and Wesley Bloodgood: “Mr. Brent Beck and Mr. Wesley Bloodgood have worked at the Manteca Park Golf Course for 15 and 16 years, respectively. If awarded the contract to operate the Pro Shop, they will complete the steps to legally form a General Partnership and obtain the required permits and licenses to operate.  

“The pending General Partnership has maintained the operation of the Pro Shop during former Golf Pro Alan Thomas’ illness and after his untimely passing, and has provided quality customer service. While the golf course continues to struggle financially, they have a strong desire to expand marketing methods through proper promotions, advertising, and strategic-market targeting.

 “While the pending General Partnership does not currently have any PGA credentials, they have a desire to increase lesson activity and continue to support and promote the current youth and senior programs and men’s and women’s clubs.”

The council on Tuesday also will discuss the length of any contract they award.

The revenue terms of the proposed contract are as follows:

uThe golf pro will receive 10 percent of the monthly green fees/pass revenues collected up to $800,000 gross on an annual basis.

uThe golf pro will receive 20 percent of the monthly green fees/pass revenues that are collected over $800,000 gross on an annual basis.

uThe golf pro will pay the city 12 percent of the first $425,000 collected for annual cart rentals.

uThe golf pro will pay the city 20 percent of the amount collected over $425,000 for annual cart rentals.

uThe golf pro will pay the city 10 percent of the monthly driving range fees collected up to $75,000 annually.

uThe golf pro will pay the city 20 percent of the monthly driving range fees collected beyond $75,000 annually.

uThe golf pro will pay the city 5 percent of all monthly revenue from golf merchandise sales and golf lessons.

uThe golf pro will pay the city percent of all other golf pro shop related items that charge a fee such as locker fees and equipment rental.

The course faces two major challenges.

uAn erosion of golf play that reflects national trends going from 74,000 rounds in 2000, to 62,500 rounds in 2010, and 51,800 rounds in 2016.

uSome $3.47 million worth of capital improvement projects have been identified by staff as being needed and/or are a “wish list” of sorts over the next 10 years. The biggest chunk is $1.8 million needed for the clubhouse that is nearing 30 years in age.

A consultant the city hired indicated the city received an average of $12.99 for each of the 51,800 rounds played in 2016 with pass play generating $7.70 a round and regular green fees $16.63 a round.

He said the average fee generated per round by other courses in the region is $18.

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