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Face-lift nearly complete at Eagle Creek golf courses

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Eagle Creek Golf Club received a long-awaited face-lift this year under a contract that will rescue the city from most of its expenses stemming from the previous operator’s loan default.

The new operator, T&M Eagle Creek, took over Jan. 1 and said it would take two years to get through a long list of capital improvements, but 95 percent of them are already complete, said Kent Knorr, manager of golf operations for Indy Parks.

“We got a lot of compliments this year,” said Eagle Creek golf pro Matt Parrott. The major improvement was resurfacing cart paths on each of the two 18-hole courses.

T&M is a partnership of golf operator R.N. Thompson and Mays Chemical Co. owner Bill Mays. The company also replaced railroad ties throughout the Pete Dye-designed courses, fixed irrigation systems and landscaping, and remodeled the driving-range building, Knorr said.

Indy Parks has been trying to make major upgrades at Eagle Creek since 2007, when the city gave former operator Jerry Hayslett a seven-year contract after he agreed to make $1.2 million in improvements.

The city cancelled Hayslett’s contract in March 2011 after he defaulted on a $3.5 million loan balance, which had been guaranteed by the city.

R.N. Thompson was appointed interim operator, and his partnership with Mays was awarded a contract through 2019. T&M has reimbursed the city for $247,000 in 2011 loan payments, Indy Parks CFO Angela Daniel said.

Indy Parks was left with $214,794 in loan payments, which are due through 2014.

Future payments should be covered by the contract with T&M, which will pay $220,000 a year, plus additional fees if golf course revenue surpasses a certain threshold, Daniel said. This year, the operator is paying a $20,000 escalator fee.

The golfing public appears to have taken notice of the changes at Eagle Creek. There were 51,375 rounds played on the two courses through October. That’s a 40-percent increase over last year.

Revenue through October was $1.3 million, a 16-percent increase over 2011.

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  • Love the course
    RN Thompson always leaves a positive mark on golf courses. This is my favorite public course in Indy. I play Bearslide, Pergatory, Brickyard, The Fort, etc...The Pines and the Sycamore courses at Eagle creek have mature trees, no housing developments, big open holes with no exposure to other golfers. Virtually a perfect golfing experience. Also have undulation and elevation changes not found anywhere else north of Bloomington. The only two shames: 1. Is when it was transformed years ago from a single 18 to two 18's, they added holes to the course and did not maintain the Pete Dye signature to the newer holes. What is left is a somewhat easy patch in the middle of a difficult and pretty course. Hope they address that in the next year. 2. The snack bar has limited options and no healthy options available. No cart girls either. Great courses all around, and can't beat the price too.
  • Eagle Creek
    Eagle Creek is a lovely course and home to the Pike Lady Red Devils and Red Devils golf teams. They are very fortunate to have this course to play. I enjoyed walking and driving the course while my daughter played this season.

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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