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City names new golf manager for Eagle Creek

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The city of Indianapolis has named a new manager of Eagle Creek Golf Club after terminating its contract with the former operator who defaulted on a $3.5 million loan balance.

Officials late Thursday afternoon appointed RN Thompson Golf, led by Bob Thompson. RN Thompson also manages Smock Golf Course, a municipal course on the city's south side, plus several other area courses, including Gray Eagle, Ironwood, Winding Ridge and Southern Dunes.

Thompson could not be reached for comment Friday morning.

RN Thompson takes over for Jerry Hayslett, who had managed the municipal golf club on West 56th Street since 1999, after the city voided his contract for defaulting on the loan,  IBJ reported March 14.

City documents show Hayslett made his last loan payment in late September, for $22,631.07, which was applied to the loan’s interest. He skipped payments in October and November, before the city resumed paying the loan in December.

The city since has paid $222,724 in principal, interest and late fees to keep the loan in good standing, said Jennifer McGilvray, spokeswoman for Indy Parks.

“Since we are the guarantor of the loan, we have an obligation to make sure the loan is current,” she said. “It’s part of the contract.”

The city extended its contract with Hayslett as operator of Eagle Creek in 2007 for an additional seven years after he agreed to provide $1.2 million in upgrades to the two-course facility.

Those included improvements to the cart barn, cart paths, clubhouse, outdoor rest room and irrigation system, as well as repairs to the 18th hole on the club’s Sycamore Course. Eagle Creek contains two 18-hole courses, The Sycamore Course and The Pines Course.

Hayslett received a 20-year $2.5 million loan in 2000, which was refinanced for a larger amount in 2007, according to city documents.

To replace Hayslett, the city issued “requests for information,” which were due on Monday. The requests sought proposals to run Eagle Creek from five existing operators of the city’s 12 municipal golf courses.

Besides R.N. Thompson, those operators are:

– M.A.N. Golf Management, led by Mark A. Nance: Coffin, Riverside, Riverside Golf Academy;

– Capital City Golf, led by Bill Krohne and Brad Beck: South Grove, Thatcher, Winding River;

– Denny Ford: Pleasant Run, Sarah Shank;

– Cooprider Golf Management, led by Tom and Liz Cooprider: Sahm, Douglass, Whispering Hills.

Hayslett, once a partner in Capital City Golf, is no longer affiliated with the group.

R.N. Thompson will only run the Eagle Creek until the end of the year. The city will then take new bids to manage the course for a longer term, McGilvray said.

“We needed to get someone in immediately to start operating it,” she said, “and this was the best way to go about doing it.”

Future loan payments owed by Eagle Creek, at least through December, will be paid from course revenue submitted to the city. R.N. Thompson will only keep a monthly management fee, which the five bidders submitted with their proposal.

The arrangement differs from the previous contract, in which Hayslett was responsible for loan payments.

Revenue at Eagle Creek fell 20 percent, from $1.3 million in 2006 to $1 million in 2009, before rebounding slightly to $1.1 million last year, according to city documents.
 

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