A Detroit-based golf management company partnering with Greater Grace Temple Church wants to manage four city-owned golf courses: Palmer Park, Chandler Park, Rackham and Rouge Park.
Lindsey Mason III is president of Detroit Golf, LLC, which represents individuals who have been operating golf courses, landscaping companies and other business ventures in the city.
They more than 30 years in golf management experience and expect to provide at least 100 new jobs.
The four courses had been managed by a company called American Golf, which is now opting out of renewing its agreement with the city. Whomever takes over would have a five-year contract.
Asked why his company should be given the responsibility for the four courses, Mason said that when Greater Grace Temple took over New Rogell Golf Course at Berg and Seven Mile (it has since leased the course to Heavenly Golf Enterprises), business was at a bare minimum.
“Now it’s very vibrant, very active,” said Mason, who manages New Rogell. “It gets great community support.”
New Rogell was slated to be closed in 2007. At the time, it looked like a cow pasture, he said.
“Now the golf course is well defined,” he said. “You can tell the difference between the fairway and the rough.”
He also said there’s been an increase in golf leagues and golf outings. The golf leagues are coming from all over Metro Detroit.
He also believes his being from Detroit (he’s a graduate of Central High School) and having been in the golf business for more than 30 years are additional factors.
Mason started out as a caddy and worked his way up to a golf professional and general manager. He also teaches golf.
“If they are really looking for individuals that have experience— and a minority business — I should get it.”
If Detroit Golf, LLC should get the contract, Mason said one of his main goals would be to focus on Palmer Park because it needs the most work.
“Palmer does not make a lot of revenue, so we have to look at implementing new things to try to generate additional,” he said, adding that Detroit Golf, LLC would install a sprinkler system in the Palmer Park course. That and other upgrades would enhance the course.
Detroit Golf, LLC would bear the cost of such improvements if it ends up leasing the course.
“Palmer Park is — I wouldn’t say it’s a beginner’s golf course — an 18 hole golf course that is basically flat, but it does have some challenges,” Mason said when asked what he’d say to encourage golfers to play that course.
He added that he’s also trying to encourage young people, women and families to get into golf. He sees Palmer Park as an ideal course for that.
He also said he’s worked at all four properties, and while American Golf has done a fairly good job at maintaining the courses, his expertise would help get the maximum resources out of each property.
“Each course is different,” he said.
He pointed out that having the four properties would allow Detroit Golf LLC to do some things interchangeably.
“If one golf course is crowded, you would still be able to move people to different courses that you want them to play on any given day, instead of actually leaving the Metro Detroit area,” he said. “That just comes with setting a price and giving a good product.”
Golfers would be able to sign up for tee times online. They could also obtain memberships, which would give them lower rates than they would get by purchasing green fees on a case-by-case basis.
“We’ll also establish various golf programs, ranging from junior golfers to senior golf program, as well as promoting golf tournaments in the city,” Mason said.
In addition, he wants to start a caddy program with at least 20 caddies at each course.
Mason said the biggest challenge will be to upgrade the four courses to the next level. He reiterated that looking at an irrigation system in Palmer Park will be near the top of the list.
He has a team that will ensure the courses are moving forward from day one. By that he means both maintenance as well as physical improvements to make them more challenging.
He expects to hear within 30 days whether his company’s bid will be accepted.
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