Golden Gate Park Golf Course management decision delayed

S.F. Examiner File PhotoNo tee time yet: Golfers are concerned that First Tee would prioritize tee times for young golfers instead of course regulars.

Having a private foundation manage a nine-hole golf course in Golden Gate Park — a scenario feared by some local golfers — has been pushed back for at least a few months.

The Recreation and Park Commission was scheduled Thursday to vote on a five-year contract agreement to have First Tee assume management duties at the Golden Gate Park Golf Course. First Tee, a nonprofit organization, would oversee day-to-day operations at the course through its subsidiary, the Golden Gate Park Golf Course Foundation.

Even though a Rec and Park committee recommended approval of the contract earlier this month, the agency opted to remove the proposal from the agenda at its full commission meeting Thursday.

Several commissioners had expressed concerns about the contract, and had requested that department staff members conduct further community outreach meetings before moving ahead with the proposal, said Nick Kinsey, the department’s assistant director of property management.

Kinsey said  staff members will return to the commission in a few months with a contract proposal.

“There have been some equity issues raised and we’ve been asked to look further into those concerns,” Kinsey said. “We’re still confident in the plan, and the goal is to make sure that we have the new management in place by next summer.”

Rick Nelson, a Richmond resident who frequently uses the Golden Gate Park Golf Course, said he was glad the decision was pushed back. Nelson is fearful that the new management team will limit potential tee times for golfers and that locals will not be able to play in the afternoon without a reservation.

“What makes the course great is that you can get out of work early, pop over and play a quick nine,” Nelson said. “From what it sounds like, that won’t be possible with First Tee in charge.”

First Tee specializes in providing tee times for burgeoning young golfers. Although youth golfers will have some set tee times, there will still be plenty of opportunities for regulars to play, Kinsey said.

If the contract had been approved Thursday, the nonprofit would have taken over management in November.

Under the terms of the contract, the Recreation and Park Department could receive as much as $412,000 a year from the course.

Attempts to reach First Tee representatives Friday were not successful.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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