Deeds and WeedsSeptember 17, 2009

Papago: Arizona GA "bit off more than it could chew"

Sounds as though what had become a messy situation at Papagp Golf Course in Phoenix is about to boil over. The Arizona Republic has the story here.

To summarize, Papago, one of the better public golf facilities in the country, underwent a big renovation project two years ago. That project was overseen by Arizona Golf Management LLC, which is part of the Arizona Golf Foundation, which is the tax-exempt arm of the Arizona Golf Association. As part of the deal, the AGF took over operation of the facility.

Key parts of the project -- such as the construction of a new clubhouse -- have not taken place. Several longtime Papago employees have been laid off. Revenues at the course are down (not surprising, considering the economy) and payments on the $9 million loan on the project are starting to come due. According to the story, the Arizona GA president, Frank Shipman, said the AGF has begun "the process of withdrawing from day-to-day operation of the course."

From the Arizona Republic story: "Randy Joly, who served as president of the Papago Men's Golf Association in the mid 1990s and is currently on the AGA's board of governors, said he believes the AGA 'bit off more than it could chew. Some poor choices were made in terms of the architect. Poor choices were made by AGA management in terms of what they thought the course could be, and what they thought the city could do.' "

--G.R.