Muni Redevelopment and Renovation General Discussion


Given the lively chatter in the TBC thread regarding the challenges associated with developing a golf course, I thought I’d start a thread dedicated to every public golfer’s dream of their local muni getting the WP9, Bobby Jones, or Jax Beach treatment.

I’ll put forward a framework to follow.

  • Course name and general overview
  • Link to site location
  • Current Acreage
  • Current Amenities
  • Current number of holes
  • Proposed Acreage
  • Proposed Amenities
  • Proposed Number of holes
  • (in homage to the TBC thread) Where will you get water from?
  • How will you pay for it?

With that, I’ll start. I’ve been working on a plan for Rocky Point Golf Club, one of two muni’s I split time between that’s owned by the city of Tampa.

  • Course name and general overview Rocky Point Golf Club is a muni owned by the City of Tampa with a layout that randomly jumps between boring and gimmicky/bad. 9 par-4’s between 340 and 400 with one at 440.

  • Link to site location

  • Current Acreage 108 Acres

  • Current Amenities Decent-sized clubhouse and small pro shop. Undersized putting green, range that ends at about 200 with a decent teeing ground. Awful shortgame area directly in front of the range.

  • Current number of holes 18

  • Proposed Acreage 104

  • Proposed Number of holes 9

  • Proposed Changes

  1. Increase range size from current 4.4 acres to 20 acres in order to tap underserved South Tampa/Westshore Range market. Wealthiest part of Tampa is on a peninsula and the one country club in the area doesn’t have a range. (20 acres)

  2. Move entrance to Independence Parkway in order to eliminate traffic on residential streets, improve access to Veterans Expressway, and increase access visibility.

  3. Course is almost entirely flat with close proximity to Tampa Bay and moderate drainage issues. Convert to 9-hole links layout taking advantage of winds off of the bay, improve drainage, and bulkhead existing ditches to give them a burn feel. (80 acres)

  4. 18-hole lighted putting course. Sports fields across the street operate in evenings so this should be a non-issue. (3 acres)

  5. 3-hole short course to serve first tee and short game practice to cater to the First Tee. (4 acres)

  6. Ground lease land along Independence Parkway/Memorial Highway for revenue and shield golfers from traffic (4 acres)

  • (in homage to the TBC thread) Where will you get water from? The course is pretty wet as it is and haven’t heard any complaints about a lack of water. Not overly concerned.

  • How much will it cost? $6,000,000 feels like a nice number

  • How will you pay for it?

  1. My plan is to do 20-year ground leases on 4 acres of outparcels along the northern edge of the site on Memorial Highway (44,500 AADT) and Independence Parkway (33,000 AADT). Conservatively I think this could lead to $400,000/year in recurring revenue. The city could use this revenue to cover the bond costs and stabilize any operating losses once construction is complete. Even at the current loss of $100,000/year this leave $300,000/year to borrow with. Call it $5,000,000 in borrowing capacity with interest factored in.

  2. Fundraising drive for construction costs from a strong Tampa golf community that vigorously supports The First Tee and already gives over $1,000,000 annually. $1,000,000

I’ll put together a spreadsheet with the above as well as one where we can track the cost and scope of completed redevelopments like Bobby Jones, WP9, and Jax Beach.


I have thought a lot about this as well, there is a course on the St. Lawrence River that is near and dear to my heart. It is a partial Seth Raynor design that has really gone by the wayside, if you look at google earth every green, save for 1, is a circle.

  • **Course name and general overview: Thousand Island Country Club, Seth Raynor Routing (?) and design. He apparently re-did the course, that was in place, sometime in the 1920s.

Link to site location: The course is located 1:30 drive from Syracuse Airport on the St. Lawrence River. There is a fair amount of tourism in the region and a summer destination for people located in Pennsylvania through Upstate New York.

Current Acreage: Don’t have offhand but there is no lack of land up there.

Current Amenities: 2 Restaurants and 2 18 hole golf courses, Marina that generates cash flow, driving range, putting green, chipping practice facility.

Current number of holes: 18 Hole Course, though there is another course that gets little play, but could be transformed into an awesome short course or just simply a shorter 18 hole course. The main restoration would be on the Old course. There is also a driving range, chipping practice area, and putting green.

Proposed Amenities: Same as current, expand the driving range and practice facility. Improve walkability by either moving tee boxes, fixing the fairway issues, or increasing how firm the course plays. Getting rid of the artificial ponds.

Proposed Number of holes: Renovation, attempt to go back to the “original design” or what the course would have looked like back in the day since information is limited. There are some really bad mistakes the course has made with adding water, numbers 5, 6, 12, 13, and 18 come to the top of my head of these ponds artificially added to protect the green. I actually have a PP of what I would change at the course, focusing on walkability and playability.

Also: there is a problem with geese, need a course-dog to chase them away.

How will you pay for it? I think the best option is doing something similar to Cabot Cliffs. That should be the model for a course like this as it is a semi-destination. Recently a town 15 minutes away put in a brand new hotel, which has had tremendous success. I believe that there is a unmet demand for both golf and cottages at this location.

Potential to partner with the county with a subsidy, because of the job creation, contingent on locals paying reduced green fees.

There are a few demand levers that I believe would make this project successful. First, it could be a family vacation, as it is situated on a river and there are things to do other than golf. Secondly, it would be a restoration of a Seth Raynor course which would drive some goflers there, and I believe if the Keisers did the project there would be increased demand per their past successes. Third, the location is not too difficult to get to. While it is located an 1:30 from Syracuse, 3 hours from Toronto, 3 Hours from Montreal and 1:45 from Ottawa, that is not an impediment. If you map Bandon, Cabot, SV, and Streamsong and consider the success you will conclude that people will travel to play golf.

There currently is one very nice restaurant and a marina on location. Both of these already generate cash flow, there is the possibility of adding lodging to further increase cash flow. The course is currently owned by a chinese investor who owns 2 other courses in upstate new york.

I believe a project like this would cost $250k per hole, there is substantial work that needs to be done to the fairways and green complexes, though there is plenty of labor available so labor costs should be low. There is also a lot of local machinery even though it is situated on an island there is a bridge so no barge is needed.

4.5MM for the restoration (this may be high but I’m not sure how to calculate this type of work. There are TONS of trees that I would love to cut down, with lumber prices back to normal maybe there is potential to finance some of the restoration by selling off all the trees that need to be cut down. There would be some marvelous views opened up by cutting some of these trees down as well.

Further expansions, including lodging a short course that mimics the approach into all the par 4s would be great, and there is land for that type of expansion.

Sorry if this seems disorganized I shot from the hip a bit


Awesome ideas, I especially like the lighted putting green, in a City like Tampa I believe that would be very fun/successful.


Good choice! My mother’s side of the family is from Watertown, NY - I have played that course a bunch and would love to see it get restored. Definitely some good bones there, and some great views of the river. I already think #11 is a pretty good hole, and probably shouldn’t take too much work to make it spectacular. Same thing with #15.

#11 from the tee:

#11 from above:

#15 from above:


I have not thought about this to the extend you guys have (very impressed) but there is a private course near me that I would do anything to get some Zac Blair/ Collins touch on.

Beacon Hill Country Club is in Middletown NJ and on a very tight piece of property. The clubhouse is excellent and I’ve only heard good things about the amenities.

Two reasons keep me from joining because it’s so close and very reasonably priced. 1 there is no practice facility and spending a few grand a year I can’t not have a good grass range and short game area. 2 the course itself isn’t good IMHO. It’s not terrible but it’s just not somewhere I want to play over and over.

I dream of keeping the great clubhouse and blowing up ALL 18 holes. In their place I’d want to see a premier practice area and 9 of the most Sweetens-esq fun holes that will fit. I see lots of rolling short grass and wild huge greens, after all, there should be about 12-14 holes worth of land to play with once the practice facility gobbles up about 6 of them.

One can dream. If I hit the next billion dollar mega millions jackpot and net post tax like 500M then I’ll make it happen. And The Buck Club too for that matter.


11 has a great view but I would love to rip down every tree on 12. For those that dont know, 12 has trees all along the left side. It borders the river but you can’t see the water at all, wasting a great view. For 12 obviously cut down the trees near the tee box, if you like trees I’m sure we could find some old big ones to keep as they are out of play. 12 could be one a really fun alps hole.

Get rid of the water front of the green, which runs back to front, and convert the whole thing into a big punchbowl, or maybe with a bunker protecting one side of the green, or maybe similar to a leven green.

As you can see in the photo the arrows are depressions pointing to what to me looks like an apls like structure. is a great write-up on leven template holes

13th tee is very similar, woods obstruct some great views. All of that work, if you can simply get someone to take the trees from you for free as lumber MAY have some value would be quick and IMO pretty simpe, though I don’t know the drainage


Some additional insight…

  1. Get the financials for the course. If they won’t give them to you right away, file for a Freedom of Information Act request for the data. If it’s a municipal course they have to give it to you.
  2. Find another course nearby that is a municipal that is leased. There was probably an RFP for that lease, so once again, a FOIA request may be necessary to get details. You may be shocked to find out that a major 18 hole course in Los Angeles is leased for something like $4,000 a year (but the lessor also has to pay all employees.)


that’s a shame


It’s about time the refuge got deep with the FOIA requests!!! My favorite muni is getting the Doak treatment as soon as city council pulls their collectives heads out of their collective asses so I’ll hold off firing out my renovation ideas.


Rocky Point financials below. Those LA numbers are interesting. Does anyone know how many ranges that’s spread across? You would have to drive right by Rocky Point in order to get to another range so I think it could do really well if it was a top-notch facility.



Golf Course in Naples potentially being sold to the county as opposed to converting to housing.


Did someone say…FOIA?



This course wasn’t a muni, but local and an original Donald Ross. Used to be the Winchendon School Golf and then the Winchendon Golf Club. Grew up playing it and realized it was something special but never knew why until I did my research later in life. I can understand why the school shut it down, but rumors persisted it was more because of the type of town then the money. Would love to see this revitalized into what it should be.


Update. County is looking to acquire it for $28 million and convert it to some other use. Woof.


Pacific Grove I saw putting in drainage near holes 5 and 6, but also putting in a cart path. Hopefully they only put the drainage in


Posted this awhile ago in the Michigan Role Call thread but definitely Rackham in Huntington Woods, MI. It’s a municipal course owned by the City of Detroit that was originally designed by Donald Ross. In the 1980s though they built a highway though that forced them to reduce the course by 11 acres on it’s southern border. Here’s Google Maps with the original overlaying it:

Despite Jerry Matthews coming in and butchering it with doglegs, it still has some really awesome Ross bones to it. Especially on the back 9 which is largely untouched. I’d love to see them restore the back 9 to the Ross original and contract the front in favor of a practice facility, a short course and walking paths.

However, any changes are virtually impossible. The City of Detroit still owns it despite it being in Huntington Woods which is roughly 30 minutes outside of the city. Huntington Woods is a pretty wealthy neighborhood and the land there would be worth 10s of millions to developers.

Detroit has tried selling it multiple times in the last 15 years but keep getting blocked in court due to terms of the deed to it requiring it to be a public golf course. Detroit has no interest in owning it and less interest in capital improvements in a facility well outside their borders. Huntington Woods has made offers to buy it but Detroit keeps hoping to find a way around the deed so they can sell for infinitely more to a developer. Really just a crummy situation.