Rackham Golf Course is proudly managed for the Detroit Parks and Recreation Department by Golf Detroit. We will strive to offer the best in customer service to our guests and place a high priority on golf course conditions at our facilities. Watch our short video as we make Golf Detroit a source of pride for the Greater Detroit golfing community.
The municipal course has been managed by Golf Detroit since late March.
Article by Kat Stafford, Detroit Free Press FREEP.COM (April 2, 2018)
A new two-year operating contract approved by City Council last month may have staved off the closure of Detroit’s golf courses, but one lingering question remains: Is there a long-term future for golf in the city?
All four courses are in need of significant repairs — with estimates of between $5.9 million and $8.6 million for basic repairs at just Chandler Park, Rackham and Rouge Park. The fourth course, Palmer Park, is in much steeper decline and could be turned into a driving range.
On the high end, up to $18 million is needed to do comprehensive upgrades, according to a 152-page report completed late last year for the city by the National Golf Foundation. The suggested upgrades included a complete renovation of Rackham’s clubhouse, demolishing Rouge’s existing clubhouse to build a new one overlooking the river, a basic fix-up at Chandler and building a new golf learning support building at Palmer Park. The city for now is focused on only bringing the courses up to industry standards with basic repairs.
A chief concern also is whether the city might sell some of the courses, specifically Rackham, which is located in Huntington Woods and is one of the most popular courses in metro Detroit. The lingering concern stems from a previous attempt by the city to sell the course in 2006 to a private developer.
The city says it remains committed.
“Does golf have a future past this contract? I would say yes,” said Brad Dick, Detroit’s General Services Department director. “The future is good. People are there and want to play.”
Rackham Golf Course accounts for a little more than $1 million, or about 49%, of total revenue for all four courses and essentially supports the other three, according to the National Golf Foundation report.
Designed by famed golf architect Donald Ross, the course includes a historic clubhouse building that is currently in disrepair and mostly unused. Despite its condition, the course, according to the report, is among metro Detroit’s market leaders in terms of rounds, ranking slightly behind Troy’s Sylvan Glen golf course, with a reported 42,000 rounds in 2016. Sylvan had 44,000 rounds in 2016.
The potential of Rackham Golf Course closing down because of a lack of a management contract has been avoided.
Article by Mike Koury, Woodward Talk (March 28, 2018)
At its March 20 meeting, the Detroit City Council held another vote on a contract with Signet Golf Associates II Inc. to manage, operate and maintain the services of the Rackham, Chandler Park and Rouge Park golf courses, and this time passed with on a 5-4 vote.
Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield said she submitted the reconsideration for the vote, as they had one member absent at the last meeting, Scott Benson, and she felt that the whole body should have the opportunity to vote. Benson voted to approve the contract, along with Sheffield, James Tate, Andre Spivey and Raquel Castañeda-López.
“I do support a long-term contract and I believe … before us is a bridge contract, and the city is investing capital dollars into the courses as well,” she said. “It’s not the best contract. I also have to echo the sentiments of my colleagues about the (selection) process, but at the end of the day, we do have a situation right now where we can see golfers not being able to golf this season. And so for me, it’s important to get the golf courses open to continue to work with the administration to figure out how, moving forward, we can have that 10- to 12- to 15-year contract.”
The contract’s terms are a two-year deal for $180,000 total. There was concern that if a contract wasn’t approved before the deal with previous site manager Vargo Golf Co. expired on March 22, the golf courses would have to be closed.
Detroit Chief Procurement Officer Boysie Jackson said in an email that Signet was chosen based on several criteria that were evaluated by a large evaluation committee, and the city doesn’t have any concerns with Signet’s qualifications to manage the courses.
“The process of selection was criticized by City Council from bad and erroneous information (fed) to them from outsiders who did not have all the facts,” he said. “The Office of Contracting & Procurement and Law Department reviewed all protest questions and found absolutely no issues with the selection process.”
Huntington Woods City Manager Amy Sullivan said the city is pleased that the Detroit City Council was able to come to an agreement on a contractor to open Rackham on time.
“We look forward to the investment into the golf course that the bid company has promised,” she said.