Pro shop operation up for grabs at Aspen golf course | AspenTimes.com
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Pro shop operation up for grabs at Aspen golf course

ASPEN ” Aspen Sports is swinging for another five-year lease to operate the pro shop at the city-owned golf course.

The city of Aspen has put out a request for proposals to find an independent operator to run the facilities at the Aspen Golf and Tennis Club during the summer, which will require a professional services agreement for five years.

Aspen Sports has run the golf pro shop for about 15 years and plans to bid on securing another lease, said Mitch Osur, regional manager of Aspen Sports. The current lease expires in 2010.

Aspen Sports pays the city $100,000 a season to rent the 1,250-square-foot space. It also pays 16 percent of all gross sales revenues in excess of $625,000, according to the current lease.

The operator is responsible for scheduling tee times, cart and club rentals, managing tournaments and stocking the retail shop with merchandise. Aspen Sports also collects green and tournament fees, as well as revenue from pass sales and other transactions. It also handles all of the lessons given by PGA pros and the range operations.

Per the terms of the lease, Aspen Sports is required by the city to provide a minimum of 20 sets of rental clubs and have an inventory valuing $150,000. The operator also is required to provide bag-drop service, 60 electric carts and a full-time club repair service that can be turned around in 48 hours.

Steve Aitken, director of golf, said the operator provides its own fleet of carts, which are replaced when a new lease is signed.

The only part of the operation Aspen Sports doesn’t handle is the maintenance of the course, which is the city’s responsibility.

“It’s great for the city because we don’t have a huge staff,” Aitken said.

Colorado Ski and Golf is the parent company of Aspen Sports, which allows it to have more buying power than other smaller operators. What that means to the consumer is that all of the items in the pro shop are priced similarly to what can be found in Denver.

“Our prices are as competitive as anywhere,” Osur said.

The goal of having an outside operator run the municipal golf course is to keep the city’s overhead costs low while providing professional golf services.

“The Aspen golf course is one of the nicest municipal golf courses in the United States and we want the customer to feel like it’s seamless,” Osur said.

City financiers predict that revenue will be down 10 percent at the golf course this season as a result of the recession. But Aitken noted last week that the city already had sold one more season pass than last year. However, about 25 fewer 20-punch passes had been purchased as of last week.

The lease also is up for the Nordic operations during the winter, which the Ute Mountaineer currently holds. The current agreement stipulates that the Ute pay the city 6 percent of all gross revenues during the season.

The restaurant operation also is separate from the city-managed golf course. Jamie Ramey and Rich Burbidge, who own the Red Mountain Grille, took the lease over last year from Shlomo Ben-Hamoo. The new proprietors offer extended hours and more service than what was previously available in the clubhouse.

csack@aspentimes.com


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