VALPARAISO | The contract with American Golf Management LLC to lease Creekside Golf Course is still pending, but the city's Park Board approved an agreement with the company to provide golf instruction.
Parks Director John Seibert said the board has had a contract with Nancy Bender for several years to provide golf instruction, the latest of which calls for her to pay $25,000 to use the golf course facilities and the board then paid her $5,000 to provide the instruction.
The new agreement with Matt Blair, head of American Golf Management, calls for Blair to pay $30,000 to provide a team of instructors, which is expected to include Bender. In return, the board will split the cost of a greens fees card for students to play one round at Creekside, with the board paying 60 percent.
"We hope the students will then continue to play at the regular rate," Seibert said.
The board is seeking a 10-year lease of the golf course, but the contract for instruction is a one-year deal. If the full lease contract is finally approved, the instruction portion will be a part of it, and Seibert said it was the most important part. It will start Jan. 1.
The full lease is awaiting Blair arranging to purchase the golf course's equipment, including the carts, the golf simulators and the maintenance equipment. Blair, the women's golf coach at Valparaiso University, would take over Creekside operations and would invest in needed improvements at the course.
Seibert said the carts and equipment are worth about $200,000. Under the proposed lease, Blair would pay the board $70,000 the first year plus 4 percent of the gross revenue. The flat payment increases by $10,000 a year up to the maximum of $100,000 in the fourth year.
Seibert said Blair has until the board's January meeting to arrange the financing in order to have the lease approved. If he is unable to do so, the instructional contract will continue and the parks department will run the course for another year and rebid the lease proposal in midyear for 2015.
This is the first time the parks department has considered leasing one of its golf courses. The revenue would be used to pay off the annual loan payments for Creekside's construction. The original payments were set up based on expected revenue, which has been lower than projected because of a national trend of reduced play.