Santa Rosa City Council voted (6-1) on Tuesday 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 operators 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.
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 75, 6,500-yard course from the tips and was built in 1969 on heavy clay soil. The indoor restaurant/banquet 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, a highly active park with tennis, pickleball, soccer, baseball, a dog park, playground, picnic sites and a fly-casting pond. For additional details, visit srcity.org/BVGC
The City of Santa Rosa operates and maintains over 70 parks totaling over 1,000 acres, plus trails and open spaces: srcity.org/Parks