The town’s lease with Billy Casper Golf as operator of the Falmouth Country Club expires December 31, but both the firm and members of Falmouth’s golf advisory committee hope to renew the agreement.
“It’s been a successful public/private partnership,” said Robert C. Young, chairman of the Golf Advisory Committee.
During the public forum on Tuesday, June 17, Mr. Young said the 10-year partnership yielded a course in “top-notch” condition, affordable rates aimed at Falmouth and Mashpee residents, and well-maintained open space. A handful of golfers in attendance registered a few minor complaints on the condition of the course this year and offered a few suggestions on tee height, but no one objected to continuing with Virginia-based golf management firm.
Now that the lease is expiring, the town is required to send out for bid this fall a request for proposals seeking a management company. Billy Casper Golf will be submitting a proposal to continue on as the day-to-day managers and operators of the town-owned course and clubhouse.
Ryan Phelps, regional director of operations, noted the capital improvements the company has paid for in the last 10 years, including installing air conditioning to the clubhouse and renovating the driving range, but said there is much more work to be done.
“Now that we have 10 years under our belt here, we can identify each deficiency and how to best address it,” he said.
If his firm remains at the country club, Mr. Phelps said they would look at redesigning or building a new clubhouse with a full kitchen capable of in-house catering. Other priorities include replacing all the golf carts, resurfacing the parking lot and purchasing a new irrigation system that costs $600,000 to $1 million. Assistant town manager Heather Harper said the longer the term of the lease, the more willing the company is to invest in the property and share the cost for these upgrades. Billy Casper would pay for new equipment, including golf carts.
In 2005 Falmouth purchased the Falmouth Country Club property with 27 holes and nearby open space for $15.8 million, with a $11.4 million dollar 30-year bond to be repaid with golf revenues. The 300 Committee contributed $3 million.
The lease with Billy Casper stipulates a base rent that increases by 10 percent each year be paid to tSShe town, and revenue sharing on earnings over the projected revenue. Any money earned above that amount is split 60/40, with 60 percent going to the town. The rent paid this year to Falmouth is $392,000.
In return for paying the town rent and partial revenues, Billy Casper provides what they call full-service turn-key management including marketing, public relations, accounting and auditing, programming, IT support and human resources. All employees at the course work for and are paid for by Billy Casper.
There will be another opportunity for public comment when the Golf Advisory Committee goes in front of the board of selectmen with its recommendation on June 23.