Thursday, January 20, 2011

Want to run a golf course? Give the NJDEP a call

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wants to get out of the golf business and is looking for a private company to manage and operate Spring Meadow Golf Course, an 18-hole DEP-owned public facility in Wall Township, Monmouth County.

What? You didn't know that the DEP operates a golf course?  Most people don't.  And, soon the DEP hopes you won't need to, as they seek to get out of that business.

DEP Commissioner Bob Martin says that private management for Spring Meadow is part of  a comprehensive reconsider of how the agency manages and finances its entire State Park system.

"Bringing in a professional golf management company should enhance revenues at Spring Meadow while allowing DEP personnel employed at the golf course to be reassigned to other necessary tasks in our State parks, Martin said. 

"Gov. Christie has made a commitment to keep all of our State's parks open during these tough economic times to ensure a continuation of affordable recreation for all State residents. But it will require some creative re-thinking of how we operate this system, and how we can cut costs, increase revenues and better utilize our DEP personnel and resources."

How the State of  New Jersey got into the golfing business

Spring Meadow Golf Course and driving range was acquired by the DEP in the 1970s through the Green Acres Program and has been operated by the Department since then. Private companies manage the three other golf courses owned by the Department. They are the Centerton Golf Course at Parvin State Park in Pittsgrove, Cream Ridge Golf Course in Upper Freehold Township, and the White Oaks Country Club in Newfield.

The DEP never operated the other three courses. When it purchased the Centerton, Cream Ridge and White Oaks courses, the Green Acres Program negotiated management contracts into the terms of those acquisitions. The sellers were allowed to continue operating those golf courses after DEP took ownership, but for a limited period of time. In the case of Centerton Golf Course, for example, the DEP in 2008 publicly bid the management contract.

What DEP's looking for in a golf course manager

The Department is seeking an operator for Spring Meadow that has experience and knowledge in operating golf courses, is financially stable, and shows strength in customer service commitment and employee performance. 

The winning bidder will enter into a five-year operating agreement with the DEP and will have the potential to renew the operating agreement for an additional five-year term. The successful bidder will pay the State a fixed annual fee, adjusted annually by the Consumer Price Index, plus a percentage of its annual gross revenue earned from course operations.

The winning bidder will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the golf course and will be responsible for its full-time operation, as well as its commercial development.

Bidders meeting set for January 31

A mandatory bidders meeting will be held at Spring Meadow Golf Course at the clubhouse/pro shop on Jan. 31, 2011 at 10 a.m.  The deadline for submitting proposals is Feb. 22, 2011.

Interested?  Here's a copy of the state's RFP.  Good luck!


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