City manager: Fairfield can review golf course sale

By From page A4 | June 26, 2014

FAIRFIELD — The city can review sale of its two golf courses that will require an estimated $900,000 in loans over three years, Fairfield’s incoming city manager says.

David White responded at the City Council meeting Tuesday to Councilwoman Catherine Moy’s concerns about the cost of Paradise Valley and Ranch Solano golf courses and the city considering their sale.

“We’re shoveling money in,” Moy said about the cost of the courses. “It is a discussion we need to have.”

The councilwoman said she doesn’t like to see the financial hemorrhaging going on with the courses.

Moy said a golf course broker contacted after learning of her interest in the city reviewing a sale of Paradise Valley and Rancho Solano. The broker said the city could make some money in a sale of the sites.

A proposed budget that won approval notes the need for the loan for Paradise Valley and Rancho Solano, where the number of rounds played continues to rise. The courses, however, aren’t generating enough revenue to repay loans to Fairfield.

Resident William Dexter Sanders said Fairfield has a lot of excess properties it should sell.

“Stop competing with business,” he said. “Be a city.”

“I’ve been in business,” Sanders said. “It’s very hard.”

Councilman John Mraz said Fairfield is stuck with the golf courses.

“Nobody wants to buy them,” he said.

Mayor Harry Price has said the courses pay off in residential development and tourism. He said the courses, which are open to the public, helped make the residential development of Paradise Valley and Rancho Solano possible.

The courses also help the appeal of business conferences that take place at Jelly Belly and elsewhere, Price said.

Kemper Sports Golf Management Company operates the two 18-hole courses. Rancho Solano opened in 1990 and Paradise Valley in 1993.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected].

Ryan McCarthy


Discussion | 5 comments

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  • elldeeJune 26, 2014 - 10:50 am

    Instead of considering selling the courses, we should be looking at ways to improve the marketing of the courses on both a local and regional scale and/or find ways to teach the younger generation the game of golf so that they will play the courses in the next few decades.

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  • CD BrooksJune 26, 2014 - 11:51 am

    elldee, you may have a point there! They are beautiful courses and although I'm not very good, I do like to go out there and play. I initially thought selling would be the best option but I was told that the profit would have to go to parks. If that is the case, then I would agree to market the courses internationally and get the hotels to get on board with special offers including shuttles or transportation to the venues. Including wine country packages would also be a great lead to the project. We like going out to Cache Creek and I'm amazed at the number of golfers we see checking in there. I've not been on that course but heard it is quite nice. No reason they can't come here!

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  • FedUpJune 26, 2014 - 2:21 pm

    This city, any city has no business owning and operating golf courses. No ifs, ands, or buts. Governments seem to be incapable of doing what they are supposed to do, much less venture into other fields. I am reminded of the time the Feds seized a brothel in Nevada and tried to operate it. They failed and if you can't make money selling booze and sex you surely can't make it running golf courses.

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  • Mr. PracticalJune 26, 2014 - 7:19 pm

    Fed Up, the city owns the courses but they don't operate them. There are around 2,500 municipal golf course. Like most businesses, if it weren't for the recession they would probably be turning a profit now. Both Fairfield courses are among the best municipal courses in Northern California. Keep them. They are excellent community assets.

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  • Mr. SmithJune 26, 2014 - 8:35 pm

    Mr. P: It's also a class warfare thing in this area. Golf courses serve only the "elite" in the minds of those who don't know any better, and we have plenty of those folks here in Fearfield and Suisun.

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