GREEN — The city has chosen a nationally known golf management group to operate Raintree Country Club.
Billy Casper Golf, which manages more than 150 golf courses across the country, including 80 municipal courses like Raintree, was selected as the best of five finalists and will take over the 18-hole public course on Jan. 1, Service Director Valerie Wax-Carr said.
Nick Bednar, vice president of operations for Casper Golf, met with City Council and members of the administration for nearly an hour in executive session Tuesday before Carr announced the decision.
“I think Raintree is a fantastic facility already, well ingrained in the community," Bednar said. "Obviously, our goal is to help make it more ingrained in the community and continue to provide access not just to golfers but to those who hold banquets and special events.
“We have some pretty creative ideas for the course, and ultimately we just want to make it a better place for the people to come and enjoy the facility with their families and friends.”
He said the Reston, Va.-based private company will hire a local operator to serve as general manager.
The agreement calls for a complete turnkey operation with a five-year contract and an additional five-year option, according to Green Finance Director Steven Schmidt. The city can dissolve the plan after three years.
Casper Golf will be paid $7,500 monthly by the city and will hire and pay all of its employees.
After the $7,500 per month is paid, 85 percent of net profits from the golf course and events center will go to the city, according to Schmidt. If Raintree fails to make money, the management company will be required to pay the city up to $30,000.
Councilman Rocco Yeargin said the Casper group, co-founded by PGA Tour legend Billy Casper, wants the operation to provide a wide variety of community events. He added that Cincinnati officials contacted by Yeargin provided a strong recommendation for hiring the Casper team.
Earlier this month, Green agreed to buy the 145-acre public golf course on Mayfair Road from owner John Rainieri for $3.3 million. Many city leaders have said they didn't want the land being turned into a housing development.
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