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Manteca golf course: Nobody does it better
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On February 16 of this year, a presentation was made to our Manteca City Council and staff by Gene Krekorian of Economic Research Associates, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm, concerning the operation of our Manteca Park Golf Course.

At that meeting, Councilman Steve DeBrum stated this study was long overdue as it provided valuable information about the golf course and if it’s being operated properly and efficiently.

Golf course operating options for the future were an important part of the study and I’m pleased to say that this very reputable consultant found that we are not only doing it right but are doing it better than any other municipal golf course in the area.

When it was announced in June of last year that this study was to be done, I was more than pleased as I was confident of its outcome. In the past, many in-house studies were performed by our city concerning the golf course due to a few critics who stated the golf course was a loser and that specifically the golf professional (me) had a so-called sweetheart contract.

Well, once again as is consistent with every previous study, the findings showed that the golf course has been operated very efficiently, revenues have paid 100% of all operation and maintenance costs along with 90% of land and building investments, and the golf professional services contract is very much in line compared with other contracts.

Now the purpose of this column is to make an important point. It has been reported that the city of Stockton is considering selling both of their municipal golf courses and the city of Modesto is considering closing down one of theirs permanently. Obviously revenues are not covering expenses and they determined general fund money is better spent on keeping as many policemen and firemen on the job as possible. Why are their golf course revenues down? Simply stated, it is because their annual rounds of golf have fallen year after year, even before this recession. Why? Simply due to poor management decisions on the part of their city leaders to cut costs on maintenance and professional services while increasing fees charged to customers.

Our golf course, on the other hand, has experienced increases in play and revenue several years running, even during this recession. Levels of maintenance have been consistently good and we have a proven promotional program second to none. Our rates are very reasonable compared to other courses and our city leaders realize that success comes in finding ways to promote play, therefore increasing annual rounds and revenue.

At the conclusion of the presentation at the February 16, 2010 City Council meeting, every council member praised our golf course operation. City staff was directed to negotiate a new contract with the golf professional (me) so that it will be possible to continue to improve on what has worked well in the past. I am looking forward to continuing to work as a part of the team in keeping our golf course the best in the valley for many years to come.