Municipal golf courses generally face challenges unlike their privately-owned competitors. Government budgets are typically set at least six to eight months in advance, requiring close attention to:
- Short and long-term goals,
- Public scrutiny,
- Competitive utilization, and
- Environmental issues.
International Golf Maintenance has a strong history of building positive relationships with municipal golf course directors and their management teams. In 2020, IGM will have completed 25 years under a maintenance contract with Sandridge Golf Club in Vero Beach, FL. Owned by Indian River County, the club features two 18-hole, Ron Garl-designed championship courses, The Dunes and The Lakes. In collaboration with Sandridge Golf Director Bela Nagy, IGM has planned, budgeted, and achieved continuous improvements for the two courses.
Originally, the outsourced maintenance contract was signed as a cost-cutting measure. IGM Executive Vice-President Greg Plotner said, “They saw a way to improve the property and reduce expenses by outsourcing. However, they also have a commitment to improve their asset for community residents and golfers. They’ve invested in capital improvements that have allowed us to maintain the courses in excellent condition over the years.”
Golf Director Nagy added, “Though Sandridge is owned by the County, we don’t get money from them, so we have to be self-sufficient. Having the courses in good condition is important to attracting golfers.”
Regular planning sessions between Nagy and the IGM team are important to ensuring major maintenance projects are scheduled to accommodate the Club’s higher winter golf population and year-round program of tournaments and events. In addition to routine maintenance, projects have included:
- Lengthening some tees to attract high-end tournaments
- Shortening some tees to attract senior and junior golfers
- Installing new irrigation systems
- Bunker draining and renovations
- Maintaining water features on every hole of The Lakes
- Achieving Certification as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.
Municipal golf courses require year-round planning for optimal success. The IGM team often presents to County and City managers to support budget preparation for course directors. “IGM has been a great partner. We go over projects daily, weekly, yearly, so we can be proactive and not reactive,” said Nagy.