The Current Status of the Town-Owned Golf Courses

In 2020, the Town issued an RFP to identify the golf operator for the Town-owned golf courses. That process resulted in Troon Golf being replaced by Indigo Golf Partners, the new operator going forward. The selection of the new company did not come without some controversy, but the transition ultimately proved relatively smooth.

During the RFP process, the appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Arizona as well as the rest of the country, in dramatic ways. Ultimately, the golf industry across the nation appears to have benefited from the existence of the pandemic, which proved to be the case for the Town-owned courses, as well. Getting to that point, however, required significant changes to the sport and the way players were required to approach it. All of those changes, however, ultimately resulted in a substantial improvement in the financial condition of the facility.

The COVID-19 pandemic also had an impact upon the Oro Valley Town Council elections held in August of 2020. The outcome of that election brought changes to the makeup of the Council and the balance of power within that body. In the end, it appeared the Mayor had a “super majority” in support of his agenda.

Early in 2021, the future of the Pusch Ridge Golf Course was addressed by the Mayor and Council. For nearly a year, the Council had delayed making a definitive decision regarding the Course. Initially, the property was allowed to deteriorate, much to the chagrin of the homeowners adjacent to it. Finally, however, the Council acted to move in another direction, by agreeing to continue the facility as a golf course for at least three years, while seeking an entity to lease the facility for its operation.

In an unanticipated move, the Mayor and Vice-Mayor initiated action to modify the Ordinance adopted in 2014 that dedicated the revenues derived from the 0.5% sales tax increase implemented to support the Community Center and the golf courses. This action caused great concern among supporters of the Community Center and golf courses. The outcome, however, appeared to take fiscal support of the property in the direction of bonding for needed capital improvements, a position the Mayor and majority of the Council members had opposed.

By May of 2021, the financial status of the Town-owned golf courses had dramatically improved, due to a number of factors. The “goals” that the Mayor had established for the property as part of the Council discussions in October and November of 2019 were to be met by the end of the 2021- 2022 fiscal year. However, clear evidence existed that the goals had, essentially, already been achieved by May of 2021, a year ahead of the timeline set by the Mayor two years earlier.

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