Atlantic Golf Management, Inc. of Farmingdale will be the new operators of the Suneagles Golf Course located on the property of Fort Monmouth. The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) made the announcement Wednesday that the firm had the winning bid and the highest technical rating of the two bidders.
Under the contract, Atlantic Golf Management will pay FMERA between $5,000 and $11,000 per month to operate the course and its restaurants and banquet facilities, with revenues increasing if proceeds exceed $1 million.
According to CEO Stephen Rice, "Atlantic Golf is a newly formed company resulting from a recent merger between Linx Golf Management and H & L Golf Maintenance Company, two successful New Jersey based golf management companies."
In an e-mail to Patch, Rice said, "Both companies have a history of working together on several projects. We currently manage Spring Meadow, a New Jersey state-owned course in Farmingdale and Westlake Golf and Country Club in Jackson, a private member-only course."
Harry Leonard is president of the company.
Rick Harrison, the FMERA staff person who headed up the (RFP) process, said that he expects the firm to take over sometime in early September, hopefully without an interruption in play for golfers.
After FMERA's conditional approval of the award Wednesday, there is 10 business day, gubernatorial veto period. Once this period ends and FMERA is able to secure a lease from the Army for the golf course, Atlantic Golf Management would be free to take over the property management.
Current membership, Harrison said, ends Aug. 31. Harrison said it is his understanding that some of the current golf course staff will remain on through Sept. 12 for the management transition. At FMERA's regular meeting Wednesday, an audience member questioned what would happen after Aug. 31. How would fees be charged and would the course be open for play, the audience member asked. Harrison told him that he hoped that before Aug. 31 there would be something posted at Suneagles to alert golfers as to the process going forward.
According to FMERA, rates for 2011 will be fixed at current prices and the contract allows for a 20 percent increase in 2012. The course will also remain public.
FMERA's Executive Director, Bruce Steadman said that maintenance and the continued operation of the golf course is "key to preserving the property's value." The management contract is for a period of 12 months. FMERA hopes that after that period (and possibly even before) to orchestrate the sale of the property to a private owner.
Under the current agreement, the Army will maintain ownership of the property and will lease the property to FMERA, the local authority for redevelopment. That lease is key to an important component of the management contract: the sale of liquor.
Right now the restaurant and banquet facilities at the golf course serve alcohol without the requirement of a liquor license because they reside on federal property. Since this golf course will no longer operate as a federal property there was concern among the bidders as to how to go about securing a liquor license should they win the bid.
According to Harrison, Atlantic Golf Management did some research on its own and found that, "as long as (the property) is under control of the state, a special state permit of concession" to serve alcohol could be obtained for the duration of the contract. Harrison said he looked into the matter and found that the same thing has been done elsewhere.
The unsuccessful bidder on the RFP was Applied Golf.