Bennett Valley Golf Course

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Update 9.12.22

Restaurant Update: Bennett Valley Grille

Touchstone Golf and the City of Santa Rosa are pleased to announce that following a two-year closure, the Bennett Valley Grille at the Golf Course is scheduled to reopen on Saturday October 1, 2022. Thank you for your patience as we work to complete significant upgrades and enhancements designed to the restaurant and event facility. To review the menu visit Bennett Valley Grille website.

Update 8.23.22

Golf Course and Restaurant Operations

The transition to our new golf course operations team, Touchstone Golf, LLC, in July went smoothly and without any interruption in play. Touchstone has made some updates in operations that allow for better tee times, which is working well and feedback on golf has been extremely positive. There have been some setbacks in getting the restaurant operations up and running and additional time is needed to address items for correction received from a recent required County Health Department Inspection.

Touchstone is already moving forward to correct all of these items, with the goal of opening the restaurant as soon as possible, and over half of the listed items have already been addressed. The restaurant was originally expected to be open between mid-July and mid-August, and the operator is currently targeting October 1 for a grand opening. Both the City of Santa Rosa and Touchstone have experienced delays with the availability of materials and labor which is driving the October 1 date to open the restaurant.

Touchstone is using their expertise to complete minor modifications at the restaurant building, hire restaurant staff, create contractual agreements with vendors, and make additional repairs using their experience with previous golf course restaurants. The event center may be booked for special events for the fall and into next year. The restaurant has been preliminarily named, the Bennett Valley Grille, and Touchstone welcomes any recommendations to the name or the menu, which can be found here.

Visit this web page, or the BVGC website, operated by Touchstone, for future updates regarding the golf course and restaurant.

Update 6.28.22

BVGC Open for Golf  Under New Management July 1, 2022!

Golfers won't miss a day on the green during the Bennett Valley Golf Course operator transition. Tee times are available Friday morning July 1! The new BVGC website will go live Friday morning as well.

The restaurant at the golf course is anticipated to open sometime between July 15 and August 15. The restaurant was originally expected to open by July 15, however necessary repairs and inspections have delayed the opening a bit longer.

Update 6.8.22

City Council Approves New Operator for Bennett Valley Golf Course and Event Facility

Santa Rosa City Council voted (6-1) on Tuesday (6/7/22) to approve a management agreement with Touchstone Golf, LLC (Touchstone) for the operation and maintenance of the Bennett Valley Golf Course (BVGC) Enterprise which includes the restaurant and event center. Touchstone is based in Berkeley, California and has experience working with existing municipal golf course operations all over the country, including 20 municipal golf courses in California. BVGC will be the first golf course Touchstone has operated in the North Bay Area.

Touchstone’s extensive transition plan includes achieving continuity of golf operations to restore golf tee times to within three to five days of the current golf operator’s agreement that expires on June 30, 2022, and to open the restaurant facility by mid-July 2022. The transition plan also includes professional and fully integrated marketing and outreach services, golf course facility and equipment maintenance, and all the support services necessary for operating the BVGC enterprise.

During the three-year management agreement, Touchstone will receive a base monthly management fee of $8,000 with an option to extend the agreement up to two-years. The agreement also includes annual incentive fees for reaching targeted revenue goals.

Based on National Golf Foundation’s (NGF) analysis and Touchstone’s experience, the new BVGC management structure, where the City will receive all revenue and fund all expenditures, indicates a projected year one gross revenue of $3.4 million and $4.6 million in year three. Expenses in year one are projected upwards of $2.9 million and $3.8 million in year three, in addition to the City’s existing debt service and transition plan expenditures.

To offset the first-year start-up capital needs of the golf course, City Council approved the transfer of $345,000 from BVGC Capital Fund to the Golf Course Operating Fund and $351,225 from the General Fund to increase anticipated reserves.

Capital Improvement Process

Touchstone has committed $50,000 of its own funds, with no city obligation, towards immediate capital repairs to the landscaping and irrigation around the restaurant and front entry to the golf course for an immediate positive impact.

NGF presented BVGC large-scale capital upgrades needs to City Council in February 2022. The capital upgrades totaling approximately $6.8 million were presented in two phases. Phase One involves completion of a full site Master Plan, and with community input, create a priority ranking for capital investments. Phase two is the undertaking of the improvements that may result in the temporary closure of golf operations to complete the improvements.

City staff will return to City Council prior to the mid-year budget cycle with updated revenue and expenditure funds, to review strategies proposed by Touchstone and NGF for funding the high priority capital needs. 

Update 4.19.22

RFP and Management Agreement Process

To bring in an experienced management organization to operate and maintain the Bennett Valley Golf Course and Restaurant/Event Facility, the City developed a Request for Proposal (RFP) and accepted proposals from qualified organizations through planet bids from March 1 – 24, 2022. The city received five (5) proposals from qualified organizations. The review committee, consisting of  one councilmember, one citizen of the golf community and three staff members with experience regarding management and maintenance of the golf course, reviewed all five proposals and interviewed the top three highest ranked organizations. After the interviews, the review committee selected the overall highest ranked management firm and recommended city staff negotiate a management agreement to operate and maintain BVGC and restaurant/event facility. 

Next Steps: City staff will prepare a management agreement with the selected firm to present to City Council for review and approval during the City Council meeting on June 7, 2022. 

Update: 3.10.22

Request For Proposals

The City of Santa Rosa is seeking proposals from qualified organizations (Consultant) to provide a comprehensive proposal to operate, manage and maintain the Bennett Valley Golf Course and restaurant facility under a City of Santa Rosa Professional Services Agreement (PSA).

The City posted the RFP for golf course and restaurant management to our PlanetBids web page on March 1, 2022.  
Respondents will have until March 24, 2022 to develop and submit a proposal.  

Project Title: 
COMPREHENSIVE MANAGEMENT, OPERATIONS, AND MAINTENANCE SERVICES FOR THE BENNETT VALLEY GOLF COURSE AND RESTAURANT

Posted: March 1, 2022 12:02 PM (Pacific) 
Bid Due Date: March 24, 2022 2:00 PM (Pacific)

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Bennett Valley Golf Course and Restaurant/Event Facility

The Bennett Valley Golf Course Ad Hoc Committee and City staff have worked with the National Golf Foundation to develop a scope of services for solicitation of the future management of the Bennett Valley Golf Course and restaurant/event facility.

On February 15, 2022, City Council approved the Bennett Valley Golf Course Ad Hoc Committee, and the Transportation and Public Works Department recommendation to pursue a scope of services to solicit for a single management organization to operate and maintain the Bennett Valley Golf Course (BVGC), including the restaurant/event facility under a three-to-five-year contract.

With Councils’ approval to proceed, City staff will begin seeking Request for Proposals as early as March 1st for selection and placement of a single management agency prior to the expiration of the current golf operator agreement on June 30, 2022.

Additionally, staff will return to Council in late Spring 2022 to request necessary funds, the city can begin planning for the necessary large-scale capital upgrades of BVGC in two phases:

  • Phase 1 – completion of a full site master plan, and with community input, create a priority ranking of capital investments. 
  • Phase 2 – undertaking of the improvements that will likely cause some closure of golf operations for 6 - 9 months to complete the improvements.

BACKGROUND

Bennett Valley Golf Course is a 150-acre, 18-hole golf course with a driving range, pro shop, and restaurant with banquet rooms located in southeast Santa Rosa. The golf course is a par 72, 6,500-yard course from the tips and was built in 1969 on heavy clay soil. This is a fair-weather course and is virtually unplayable in rainy weather due to the soil type and other site characteristics. The current golf course operator's agreement to operate the golf course expires on July 1, 2022 and the operator is not seeking renewal.

The golf course has an unlit driving range with multiple tee boxes and natural turf and artificial pads. There is a restroom mid-way through the course and multiple pedestrian bridges in need of repair and updating. The current golf operator provides the day-to-day maintenance of the course and utilizes a large maintenance and material yard, on-site gas filling pumps, maintenance buildings and city-owned maintenance equipment.

The restaurant/event facility building was in continuous operation from 2005 until December 2020 when it was closed due to pandemic restrictions limiting and eliminating indoor gathering. The indoor restaurant area can be sectioned into three separate rooms and includes an outdoor patio dining area overlooking the golf course.

The golf course and restaurant/event facility share a large parking lot with Galvin Community Park. The Park is highly active with tennis, pickleball, soccer, baseball, a dog park, playground, picnic sites and a fly-casting pond. 

COUNCIL REVIEW PROCESS

June 7, 2022 - Staff to present a prepared Management Agreement for the management firm selected to operate and maintain BVGC and restaurant to City Council for review and approval.

February 1, 2022 – Staff provided an Ad Hoc Committee update during staff briefings regarding the initial analysis of options available for future operations and maintenance of BVGC and restaurant. 

August 17, 2021 – Council approved by motion the scope of work for the BVGC operational evaluation, release of an RFP, approval of the proposal review committee, and to delegate authority to the City Manager or designee to further modify the Scope of Work and evaluation process. 

April 13, 2021 – Staff provided an Ad Hoc Committee update during staff briefings and explained that the Ad Hoc Committee requested that they focus on a comprehensive operational analysis rather than one than involves a potential real estate transaction. 

March 2, 2021 – Mayor Rogers established the BVGC Ad Hoc Committee and appointed Council Members Sawyer (Chair), Alvarez, and Tibbetts to serve on the committee and work with staff to develop a scope of work for full Council consideration to evaluate the concept presented by staff on February 2, 2021.

February 2, 2021 – Staff presented a study concept to Council during a study session to consider whether to pursue an evaluation of using portions of the golf course property to finance capital investments at both the golf course and the adjacent Galvin Community Park.