Golf courses have long been as much about business and friendship as they have recreation and competition, a casual place where business people build client relationships and close deals.
Here at the Suneagles Golf Course within the confines of Fort Monmouth, the gentle rolling greens mean even more to the military men and women who play here - camaraderie and economy.
As a small perk for their service to their country, active military, veterans and retirees play at the course for substantially lower rates than the public. There are also discounts for Department of Defense civilians and contractors.
Last week, the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA), which will oversee the conveyance and redevelopment of the fort, including the golf course, issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the management and maintenance of the club. The RFP calls for a 12-month contract that can be terminated by FMERA at its convenience without penalty.
This property, including its restaurants and banquet facilities at Gibbs Hall, will likely be one of the first properties conveyed to the authority from the Army. FMERA expects conveyance in 10-20 months. The authority intends to eventually sell the property to a private owner.
FMERA Executive Director Bruce Steadman said that members of the golf course call him every week to find out the fate of their beloved links.
"It's highly emotional," Steadman said. "The Army’s golf course at Fort Monmouth holds a special place of significance as a gathering place for retirees and veterans from our military community. One of the great things about golf is that it affords the opportunity to the members of the four-some to share not only in the challenges and successes of the 18 holes, but also to share memories and stories of the past week, past month and past years."
Interested firms will have a pre-proposal conference and tour of the property on July 19. The deadline for proposals is Aug. 1. According to the RFP, the consultant chosen would take over operations of the course and facilities on or about Sept. 6.
"We're hoping for a transparent transition," Steadman said, "where the playing public won't even know there is a difference."
What exactly the transition will mean for military players, who have enjoyed the special rates, is uncertain.
"It is our hope that the future operator and future owner of the golf course will minimize, in the first year or two rate, increases to its military clientele," Steadman told Patch. "Although, we do recognize that ultimately rates must be related to the price levels in the market place so that the future operator and future owner may build a good financial foundation for the golf business."
Learn more about the of Suneagles Golf Course.