Hartford Turns to PGA to Run Golf Courses

Goodwin Park 7-'06

A 1906 Hartford Courant article on the opening of Goodwin Park Golf Course.

In a move that has left many in the Connecticut  golf world a bit baffled, the city of Hartford has hired the PGA Connecticut Section to manage the city-owned Goodwin Park Golf Course for 2014, a role PGA sections rarely play.

The city will  pay the CT  PGA $150,000 for it’s consulting, but keep the course profits. The PGA hired one of its members, Patrick Aldrich, to be the Golf Properties Consultant for Goodwin, which has 27 holes. When it opened in 1906, it was one of the first municipal courses in the country.

Aldrich was selected for the position from a pool of candidates by the CT PGA Board of Directors. Aldrich sits on the PGA Board of Directors.

He began work at Goodwin on March 10. The CT PGA posting for the position lists his annual salary as between $60,000 and $70,000.

According to Gia Fanelli, Communications and Professional Development Manager Connecticut Section PGA the $150,00 paid by the city for the services, will be spent in a variety of ways.

“The section will be incurring several costs, including the hiring of the Director of Course Operations, which will be reimbursed by the City of Hartford, per the terms of the consulting agreement contract. After a plan is developed, the City of Hartford will be contracting out professional services for the Head Golf Professional,” she wrote in an email. “The additional money from the contract will be used to reimburse for CT PGA staff time/travel on the matter and for a ‘task force’ of Professionals to provide insight and guidance along the way.”
According to the contract, all other positions will be independent contractors with the city picking up the salaries. Aldrich and the PGA, according to Fanelli, will hire the golf course superintendent.

Aldrich’s job description reads in part,  “The Consultant will be responsible for the effective delivery of all consulting services the section has in its contractual relationship with the City of Hartford for the next two years for the business operations of the Goodwin Park and Keney Park golf courses… this role will include facilitating and assisting the City of Hartford in selecting all service vendors, including but not limited to the contracts to retain independent golf professional and golf course superintendent services; as well as the development of a comprehensive golf course operational plan for both golf courses and properties… This position shall be responsible for the implementation of strategies, initiatives, and programming related to section’s role to counsel and advise the City of Hartford on all aspects of opening and operating Goodwin Park Golf Course in 2014; and opening and operating Keney Park Golf Course in 2015.”

The 18-hole Keney Park is the sister course of Goodwin. It is closed for 2014 while undergoing a renovation of the golf course and repair of the clubhouse. Tentative plans by the city have Goodwin being renovated in 2015.

MDM Golf Enterprise previously ran the two facilities, but the company’s contract was terminated after the city uncovered years of mismanagement by MDM, including failing to make about $1.3 million worth of improvements to the courses as required by its contract, according to a Hartford Courant story. When the city discovered the 18 holes and clubhouse at Keney were in such poor condition it opted for a significant renovation and repairs rather than open this season

Dusenberry Design Inc., based in Wisconsin, is the architects for the Keney remodel. The firm will be paid $277,000.

A Request for Proposal from golf course construction companies was posted this week.

Leonardo Rodriguez Cross, of Bridgeport’s Rodriguez Associates, has been hired to design  repairs for the clubhouse, maintenance facility and cart barn.

The permitting process for the alterations to Keney is underway. Because the layout sits in two municipalities, approval must be granted by Hartford and Windsor before the work can begin.

The new Goodwin superintendent will be faced with a daunting task. Large areas of turf are dead and others are in woeful condition. Tom Baptist, Hartford’s superintendent of public works, said there is some course maintenance equipment remaining at Goodwin but not enough to get the daily upkeep accomplished.  He said more will be either purchased or leased.

According to a press release from Hartford Mayor Pedro E.  Segarra: “The Knox Parks Foundation (KNOX), a Hartford non-profit focused on fostering civic engagement through horticulture, will also play a major role in the restoration, including securing a local workforce.”





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