Madera Golf Course image via maderamuni.com
Written by The Business Journal Staff
The City of Madera is open to exploring new options for its municipal golf course as an agreement with the current management group expires.
The city’s agreement with Sierra Golf Management (SGM Inc.) to operate the 18-hole course in north Madera will terminate on Oct. 31 after 10 years.
The Madera City Council voted last week to begin negotiations for a possible extension with Chowchilla-based SGM, but some council members voiced misgivings about how the golf course has been run.
Councilmember CeCe Gallegos remarked on the conditions of the banquet hall, including climate control and upkeep.
“The cleanliness of the building does raise an eyebrow,” she said.
Councilmember Jose Rodriguez, an avid golfer, said he used to be a member of the course. He enjoyed playing there, but did note that some amenities needed to be approved. He also remarked that SGM projections for rounds played have come up short.
City staff shared that in fiscal year 2016-17, the city received $53,000 in green fee user charges, representing $2 from each round played. Rodriguez said that was about $80,000 less in revenue than was expected.
Currently in the agreement, SGM pays base rent of $40,000 to lease the course from the city, in addition to $2 from each round played. SGM also pays $50,000 per year for capital improvements to the golf course and clubhouse.
The council formed an ad hoc committee consisting of Rodriguez and Mayor Andy Medellin, another golfer, to further explore the city’s options, which include renewing with SGM, finding another operating partner or, as Rodriguez stated, even possibly selling the course.
The council plans to host a workshop with representatives of SGM at a later date. According to its website, SGM’s portfolio of golf courses under management include Airways Golf Course in Fresno, Pheasant Run Golf Club in Chowchilla, Ridgemark Golf Club in Hollister and Elkhorn Golf Club in Stockton.
The golf course is located near Madera Municipal Airport, and not far from where North Fork Rancheria plans to build a resort casino off of Highway 99. The project has been stalled by legal challenges.