Parks & recreation commissioner outlines plan to enhance golf courses

Candler Park Golf Course
Candler Park Golf Course

Editor’s Note: The company that operated the city’s golf courses for 30 years is ending its contract today, Oct. 31. In this op-ed, Commissioner Amy Phuong outlines the path forward for the courses and their users.

By Amy Phuong
Commissioner of Parks and Recreation for the City of Atlanta

The City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation works to enhance the lives of City of Atlanta residents and visitors by offering best-in-class programs, services and activities. We strive to deliver quality customer service through the development, operation and maintenance of the city’s public parks, recreation and cultural affairs facilities, which include our golf courses. As Commissioner, I work each and every day to make sure the Department is meeting our commitment to Atlanta residents and patrons.

Over the past year, we determined that additional investments were needed at our golf courses. The City sought out a competitive bidding process to find the best operational vendor for our golf facilities. The City issued a request for proposals but our current vendor, American Golf Corporation, chose not to compete for the opportunity. Accordingly, starting Nov. 1, American Golf Corporation will no longer serve as the management company for the City’s golf courses.

Our valued patrons should rest assured: Atlanta’s public golf courses will remain open and all operations will continue uninterrupted.

The City has already developed a plan to manage our golf courses, including Browns Mill, Candler Park, North Fulton and Tup Holmes, beginning Tuesday.

First, our department will work hard to minimize disruptions in service in the short-term and improve the physical state of our courses over the long-term. We are using this period to proactively inventory each course and develop a long-term capital investment strategy that will improve the overall quality of each facility, beginning with physical improvements next year. We are also using this transition period to review and update existing city policy to promote a positive experience for our golfers.

I’ve also assigned a dedicated staff person to focus exclusively on effective and efficient operations. Arthur Culbreath, an avid golfer and experienced project manager, will now serve as the Interim Head of Golf Operations. Mr. Culbreath will soon have a full team dedicated to golf management and operations working under his direction. We plan to hire current American Golf staff as subcontractors and to assign some of our strongest, most experienced city employees to the team to maintain current service levels. We will also have all the necessary equipment in place for patrons to use and for the Department to maintain our courses.

Finally, to show our appreciation to our long-standing patrons, the City of Atlanta is offering promotional and free play days. Please contact Arthur Culbreath at abculbreath@atlantaga.gov or (404) 546-6788 for more details, or if you have any questions.

We are committed to working with the community to make critical investments in our golf operations, as well as ensure that our golf courses serve as vital community assets for future generations.

We firmly believe that this forward direction will ultimately provide residents with a higher quality resource and the best-in-class golfing experience that every community deserves.

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