Face-lift nearly complete at Eagle Creek golf courses

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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