From day one, we at GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness have focused on our mission: “To enrich the lives of families and individuals through golf, fitness and healthy lifestyles” as well as our primary goal: “To be the best in Guest satisfaction, value and convenience for golf and fitness.”
These commitments to you, our more than 35,000 members, will always be the foundation of our decision making and actions.
This past summer, the City of Sioux Falls asked us to respond to a request for proposals to operate the three City golf courses. I want to explain to you why we decided to submit a proposal.
We believe given the right model, more people will choose to golf.
The sport of golf depends on growing more golfers, and the traditional model isn’t working. We have grown GreatLIFE in a few short years to nearly 18,000 golf members. We’ve done that by offering a way for people of all ages and abilities to golf as their time allows, at a cost they can afford. We recognize people are busy and dollars are limited. Because we believe in bringing families together, and because we want to encourage more young people to try this sport, we created and executed a model that is working.
We believe in being good financial stewards.
The Sioux Falls City golf courses lost more than $400,000 in the year that ended Sept. 30, 2017. These are dollars that could have been used to bring other benefits to our citizens. There is no reason tax dollars should be used to subsidize golf in this community. We offered to lease the City golf courses for $150,000 and be responsible for all revenues and expenses. In 2018, we believe that would have provided a minimum savings to the City of $600,000.
Our revenues at Willow Run and Bakker Crossing were more than double what the three City courses reported in revenue. We accomplished that despite charging our members half of what comparable play would have cost at a City course.
We know how to make public-private partnerships work.
Sioux Falls would not be the first community to have GreatLIFE manage its public courses. We work with many municipalities, and the feedback has been tremendous. We have learned to balance the needs of the community with the desires of our members. We have invested in facilities to the benefit of our community partners and our culture of customer service has resulted in more satisfied players. We want to bring that same proven approach to Sioux Falls. Here is a letter of recommendation from the Mayor of Worthington, MN that affirms the success GreatLIFE can bring to communities.
At GreatLIFE, we need more golf holes.
Because of your tremendous response to golf at GreatLIFE, we know we can support more golf holes in Sioux Falls. Working with the City would have allowed us to bring additional options to GreatLIFE members, but that’s not our only option. We are committed to developing golf opportunities to meet your growing demand.
We learned yesterday the city is not choosing to negotiate with us on our proposal at this time. I have met with Landscapes Unlimited, which was selected, two years ago when we were looking at their golf courses in Omaha. They are a reputable and successful company. I wish Landscapes and Dakota Golf much success as they go through the contract negotiation process. Competition is good and can make us all much stronger. We will stay focused on our Mission, Goals, GreatLIFE Members and Team Members as we explore other options including acquiring or building one or more new courses in Sioux Falls.
Thank you again for being a part of our GreatLIFE family.
Thomas P. Walsh Sr