The non-profit, public-private model might be the way forward for most municipalities (this is the approach being used at the restorations of Cobbs Creek in Philadelphia and three historic Washington, D.C., courses operated by National Links Trust). “This doesn’t work if we have to make a profit,” Marty Elgison told me. He was referring to Bobby Jones Golf Course, a remarkable re-imagination of an exhausted and dangerously tight course in Atlanta, where I live. Elgison, a longtime attorney for the Jones family, created the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation with former Georgia State Golf Association president Chuck Palmer a decade ago to elevate the standard of golf that bears the Jones name. It became much more.
Fueled by $28 million in donations and naming rights, Bobby Jones now offers a reversible nine-hole course, elite practice facilities, weekly camps and clinics for kids, instruction and clubfittings and a restaurant with striking skyline views. To see the participation—women and men of all colors, kids and adaptive golfers taking lessons and millennials using robotic caddies—is inspirational. After all, transformations don’t matter much if they don’t fulfill municipal golf ’s ability to expand the dynamics of who plays and how many.
The common thread in these and other successful revivals is support—municipal golf must have it. It can originate organically, later inspiring municipalities to solicit investments in the name of better golf and neighborhood connections, or it is the city or county that initiates improvements through private partnerships and smart management arrangements.
To read the full article, click here or visit golfdigest.com.
The principals of Bobby Jones Links own the company - we are not driven by investor expectations or private equity pressure. The benefit to you is happier associates and long-term thinking.
As a result, we don’t leverage our operational leadership across too many clubs. And unlike many companies in our business, we don’t require long-term management agreements with large breakup fees. If you like what we do, you’ll keep us. For more than two decades our clients have renewed our management services more than any other company.