Bobby Jones Golf Course under new management for the first time since 1926 | sarasota

For the first time since before Bobby Jones the golfer even baptized it with an exhibition round of 73 in 1927, Bobby Jones the golf course will not be operated by the city of Sarasota.

On Monday, the city commission unanimously approved a management contract with Indigo Golf Partners for the golf course being redeveloped along Fruitville Road. The five-year deal is worth approximately $123,697 per year.

Reston, Virginia-based Indigo, which was acquired in January 2021 by Troon of Scottsdale, Arizona, will provide onsite management of the facility and use its proprietary IT and marketing platforms for operations.

Indigo will leverage Troon’s assets and experience in providing management services to more than 585 locations worldwide, including more than 630 18-hole equivalent golf courses.

Golf course workers will be municipal employees. All operating expenses and revenues remain with the City, paid and received by Indigo in accordance with the annual budget. The city will establish two designated bank accounts into which Indigo will deposit revenues and withdraw operating expenses. The city’s finance department will receive a monthly and annual report from both accounts.

Troon Vice President Joe Goodrich told commissioners on Monday that the golf course should work well in the dark.

“For the operating pro forma on an annualized basis is for the asset, positive cash is over $900,000 for a full year of operation,” Goodrich said.

Under the terms of the contract, Indigo will consult on ongoing renovations to the golf course, oversee the course’s turf growth, prepare for reopening and provide management services. The initial cost of the five-year agreement is $618,484. The contract may be renewed by mutual agreement for two periods of two years.

Commissioner Hagen Brody said he was concerned that Indigo, as a for-profit company, might be able to take shortcuts to improve its bottom line. Goodrich responded that the work the company has done so far, without being under contract, demonstrates its commitment to the success of the golf course.

“We have more to lose as an organization from a profit perspective if we don’t do a good job,” Goodrich said. “If for some reason the city of Sarasota is not happy with us, it will have more of an impact on our business. … Our goal is to do a good job for our customers. We have been working for the past two months without being paid, attending agronomic meetings and meetings with the architects to help them design the clubhouse without any prompting.

Closed for more than two years, the Bobby Jones Golf Course is set to reopen this fall as the original Donald Ross 18-hole course. The facility had been expanded to 36 holes over the years, incorporating nine of the original holes into each of the two courses. The new facility will feature a par-3 “adjustable” nine-hole course. The rest of the property – 153 of the 261 acres – will be redeveloped as a public park and wetland conservation area.

Funded by city bonds, the entire project, including park and wetland work, is expected to cost $18.8 million. The golf course redesign is overseen by Richard Mandell Golf Architecture of Pinehurst, North Carolina.

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