The RFP Process

The City of Phoenix issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) on January 12, 2007 for interested companies or organizations to put in a bid to privatize the operation of Papago Golf Course.
The RFP called for the resoration/renovation of the golf course and structures and the subsequent operation of the course. According to the RFP, the City was looking for someone to partner with on a long-term basis and to provide programs for the community.
This appeared to be a perfect opportunity for our foundation to fulfill its charter, which includes funding and promoting junior golf and scholarship programs, promoting and assisting state and local governments in the development and operation of low-cost public golf courses for the general public, and performing turf research to improve and benefit the environment.
Also, when we compared the mission and values of the AGA with the mission and values of the City of Phoenix, they were right in line. 



Dedicated to Serving Customers

Dedicated to Serving Golfers

Value and Respect Diversity

Value and Respect Diversity

Work as a Team and Do All We Can

Protect golf’s integrity and traditions

Learn, Change and Improve

Enhance and Expand services to the game

Focus on Results and Customer Satisfaction

Promote opportunities for all who want to play

Work with Integrity

Work with Integrity

Make Phoenix Better

Make Golf Better

As a non-profit organization, our focus is more on providing opportunities for golfers, and working with the communities than it is the bottom line, although the financial pro formas still have to pencil in order to make it a viable operation.
We submitted a response to the RFP on March 9. The City set up a panel of staff members to review the proposals and make a decision based on the best fit between the City and the Proposer. In September we were informed that we had been recommended by the panel to enter into a contract with the City of Phoenix to restore and operate Papago Golf Course.
We are currently in negotiations with the City. As with any RFP, it was a proposal and was done with the best information that we had at the time of presentation. The final agreement may not be the same as the original proposal.
We are excited about this opportunity to bring golf and the community together. Click here to find out more about the partners and programs that we’ll bring to Papago.


Our Vision for Papago Golf Course

1. Physical and Aesthetic Proposal to the City of Phoenix
This is a restoration – NOT a redesign. Everything will be done with the idea of maintaining the integrity of the original design. To this end we plan to –

Install New irrigation system and pump station

Clean-up the water features

Restore the Green Complexes

Rebuild the Bunkers and Tees

Prune the trees and remove where necessary

Repair the on-course bathrooms

Repair/Renovate the maintenance building


Refinish all building surfaces

Replace furniture & fixtures

Add covered patio areas to facilitate the hosting of tournaments

Expand and enhance cart storage facility

Redesign and replace landscape around clubhouse

Add landscaping and lighting to parking lot

Improve and enlarge entryway

Once golf operations have stabilized, the following additions have been proposed to the City of Phoenix

Expand and enhance F&B operations in order to host larger events such as national tournaments, weddings, and small conventions 

Add administrative offices to house the AGA, other local amateur golf associations, City of Phoenix golf staff (the plan is to have the association on site to monitor and manage the golf course and the programs)

Create a home for Arizona Golf Hall of Fame

2. Programs and the Community
As a non-profit organization, although we must pay attention to the bottom line in order to survive in a forever changing economic market, it is not the driving force behind our operations. 
Our mission and the City of Phoenix’ mission are essentially the same – to serve the community and to bring programs that benefit the citizens.
We make a pledge to the community that we will

Protect the current stakeholders by providing reasonable pricing and access

 Work with ALL the existing men’s and women’s clubs to maintain relationships and access

Re-establish national pride in Papago as one of America’s great public golf courses

Create a center for environmental and agronomic education and research

Bring service programs to Papago through our partnerships with other associations

There are several organizations both locally and nationally that have rallied around this vision and are ready to bring their programs to Papago Golf Course – Junior Golf Association of Arizona, Arizona Women’s Golf Association, First Tee of Phoenix, USGA/LPGA Junior Girls’ Golf Club, Evans Caddie Scholarship Program, American Junior Golf Association, United States Golf Association
Click here for more information on our partners and their current programs.


Current Conditions at Papago Golf Course

Entry Drive and Walkway to Clubhouse

The entry drive, parking lot, and entrance to golf course have deteriorated in surface condition and need to be upgraded. Also need to consider upgrades to landscaping and lighting.


Pump Station and Irrigation System

The Pump Station and Irrigation System are the original systems installed over 40 years ago and are significantly outdated and inefficient. Because of its age and frequency of breakdowns, it is also responsible for diverting maintenance personnel away from daily and necessary routing tasks.  


Driving Range and Practice Area

The range has lost all of its grass due to poor irrigation system and coverage. The practice putting greens have deteriorated beyond repair, and do not reflect breaks and green conditions on the course.  

Tree Pruning and Removal 
Maintenance on trees has been neglected as a result of a reduction  in resources. Trees either need to be pruned or removed altogether. 
Surface Tree Roots

Tree roots have risen to the surface and are a problem to golfers, maintenance equipment and underground irrigation pipes. 

The bunker floors have raised due to added sand over the years, resulting in a volcano appearance with raised slopes around the outside and much higher floors than originally constructed.  Drainage doesn’t function any longer.
Lagoons and Water Hazards
The lagoons have been filled with silts from surface drainage and airborne dust. Shorelines have settled and caved in and need to be renovated.

 On-Course Restroom

 The on-course restrooms are in need of repair and are currently undersized and inadequate.
Clubhouse and Restaurant

Clubhouse, meeting room and food and beverage areas are in need of improvement.  The current clubhouse is too small, outdated and has no facilities for larger tournament groups.
Cart Barn
Cart storage area needs to be repaired. Several carts are now being stored outside and need to be moved indoors. The current facility is inadequate. 






Golf Course History

Historical Context
Papago Park Golf Course was developed by the City of Phoenix in the early 1960s to add to its municipal golf course offerings. The land within Papago Park, once a U.S. National Monument, offered excellent terrain for a golf course facility. The City engaged golf course architect William Francis Bell for the job. Bell, the son of the more famous golf architect, William Parc Bell, was operating out of their California office at this time.
“Billy Bell, Jr.”, as he was often called, was enjoying a period of many design assignments. His father had passed away in 1953. Following this time, the junior Bell picked up numerous design contracts throughout the western United States.
Bell, Sr. was born in Pennsylvania, moved to California in 1911 and became caddie at  Annandale Golf Club, and later the greenkeeper at Pasadena Golf Club. He worked briefly for golf architect Willie Watson before setting up his own design practice in 1920.

He is probably most famous for his collaboration with George C. Thomas, creating land-mark courses such as Los Angeles, Bel-Air and Riviera Country Clubs. Known as “Billy Bell”, his influence led to Thomas’ trademark bunkers. This style was not present in Thomas’ earlier work, prior to his association with Bell, but became part of his, and his son’s, contributions to architecture in the West.

He liked to employ his trademark laced edge bunkers, placing them with strategy and temptation in mind. At times he would leave islands amid his large bunkers. Occasionally he would place hot-dog shaped bunkers as backstops to greens. His large multi-bayed bunkers often flowed away from greens, creating a look as if the entire area had been carved from one landform. He was not afraid to place cross hazards for the tee shot, particularly on par-5s.
Like Thomas, Bell favored rolling and undulated green surfaces that were strategically linked to pin locations on the green. He designed his approaches to enable a golfer to work the ball onto the green.  Bell used trees in his designs, but sparingly and more for accenting the aesthetics of the surrounding area. Like many of the classic architects, Bell often used natural drainage paths to drive design decisions at every step. This included hazards and placement, as well as their size, shape and design. All of these aspects of design are prevalent on the Papago Course, as if Bell, Jr. was intent on creating a museum of traditional architecture. This, to Arizona Golf, is one of the critical factors in our interest, preserving these feature enhancements, and avoiding at all costs any effort at “redesign” where the history and tradition might be lost.
In 1961 the City of Phoenix began construction plans for Papago Park Golf Course. Bell added Arthur Jack Snyder, a local golf course architect and agronomist, to his staff for the work. Snyder had recently relocated to Phoenix and had familiarity with the Papago site. The two men agreed that Snyder would provide on-site observation services to carry out Bell’s design work. Snyder’s involvement was primarily to oversee construction. Living only a few miles from Papago Park, Snyder took great pride in visiting the site and meeting with shapers and the contractor serving as Bell’s on-site supervisor. The Snyder work is important to recognize and preserve. Among Jack Snyder’s biggest contributions was his field work on greens at Papago. Snyder had been superintendent at the Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh, universally recognized as one of America’s great courses.
Construction was completed in 1963. The Grand Opening was held September 7, 1963 with a ribbon cutting by Mayor Sam Mardian Jr. and Edith West, President of the Parks Board.


The Papago Men\‘s and Women\‘s Golf Associations

Shortly after the announcement that the AGA had been chosen by the City of Phoenix through their RFP process, the Papago Men’s Club (of which 38% are Phoenix residents) submitted a series of questions to the City pertaining to pricing and access.  The questions and answers are presented below. 
We are currently negotiating a contract with the City of Phoenix. As with any negotiation process, the final contract may vary from what is listed below.  The individual items and are still being discussed.
Question #1. PMGA TOURNAMENT ROUND REQUIREMENTS – The PMGA currently conducts 12 regular and 4 senior weekend events at Papago each year, with 4 of the events being 2-day events. As such PMGA requirements for 2008/9 are expected to be a total of 20 days x’s 100 tee times per day with 7-8AM starting times, for a total of 2000 weekend tournament rounds.
Assuming the AGA plan is successful this could grow to 144 slots per event for an annual total 2880 rounds. For a certain percentage of the events the AGA would find it be acceptable to have shared shotguns with other groups, and/or a couple of afternoon starting times or shotguns in shoulder season to accommodate the possible booking of high revenue events.
Answer #1: The City will ensure that the PMGA will receive 12 annual events, including (4) two day events, accommodating up to 144 players, weather permitting (consistent with past practice). The City cannot secure more dates or tee-times for the PMGA than is permitted for the Men’s Clubs at Encanto, Maryvale or Cave Creek Golf Courses.
The City of Phoenix and AGA will continue to support the newly established Senior Events to be scheduled at Papago and the other City 18 holes courses.
1a. The City and AGA will ensure that the PWGA continue to have reasonable access during shoulder and prime-time to up to 72 players for Friday A.M. 
Question #2: NON-TOURNAMENT WEEKEND AND HOLIDAY TEE TIME AVAILABILITY – PMGA requests (not just for PMGA members, but for the general Papago playing public) that the CITY negotiate an increase in the number of available Peak Season morning weekend and holiday rounds for residents ("Affinity Card Holders") from the currently proposed 35% (which is only 10.43 spots out of 32 spots per hour) to at least 50%-62.5% or 16-20 spots on non-PMGA tournament weekends and holidays.
Answer #2: The partners have determined to provide more tee time spots for Phoenix card holders than are currently being used (including spots used by the PMGA) last year at Papago Golf Course. The AGA will work with the City to establish a tee sheet that will distribute card holder times equitably.
Below is a side-by-side comparison of actual card holder rounds from 06-07 to the proposed allocation.


2006-07 Papago Rounds
by Phoenix Card Holders

Rounds for
Renovated Papago


9,563 rounds

9,540 rounds


1,763 rounds

2,500 rounds


4,584 rounds

11,530 rounds

Total 18 hole Rounds
By Phoenix Card Holders

15,910 rounds

23,570 rounds

Total number of paid 18 hole rounds (general public and cardholder rounds only)



% of Card Holder
Rounds played



Question #3. PRICING/AGA MANDATORY SUMMER CART PROPOSAL – PMGA requests that the CITY consider negotiating "Affinity" Card Holder and City Resident initial price increases on proposed ,    Peak Season rates be held to a maximum of $36 from their current rate of $28 (a 28.5% increase rather than the AGA proposed rate of $46.00 to walk, a 64.2% increase) and consider increasing summer rates from $14 to perhaps $18, but eliminating the AGA’s proposal requirement that all players be required to take a golf cart from June through September at a cost of $15 per player.
Answer #3: There will be NO “Affinity Card” for Papago Golf Course. The current Phoenix Golf Card will be restricted to Maricopa County residents for all City of Phoenix Courses and will be accepted at Papago.
There will also be NO golf cart requirement at Papago during any season for daily fee, except outside tournament and shotgun events.
Currently, the City of Phoenix is evaluating its fee structure for Rack Rate and Phoenix Card holders. It is difficult to compare current rates to those that might be charged in 2008 and 2009. The City and AGA will work cooperatively with a mutually acceptable third party to develop and implement a pricing model to be used at the Papago Golf Course. Both parties are committed to keeping the peak season resident rate significantly below a non-resident rack rate during peak seasons. The parties recognize that any fee model or pricing structure must be approved by the City Council.
Question #4: GOLF CART PRICING- PMGA suggests that the CITY and AGA consider a $12 price for golf carts for "Affinity" Card Holders and City Residents.
Answer #4: The City of Phoenix is evaluating its current cart rates at all Phoenix courses and is supportive of $15.00 for new carts at Papago, particularly given the fact that they will not be mandatory.
Question #5: RANGE BALLS/RANGE USAGE BY NON-GOLFERS – PMGA suggests that Range Ball pricing be optional (priced separately at $3.00 for a small bag for Affinity Card Holders) and that earlier proposed AGA rates be adjusted downward to reflect proper pricing without range balls (e.g. $36 becomes $33). Additionally PMGA believes the AGA projections for Range revenues for individuals who use the range, but don’t play a round of golf, are grossly understated, which represents an additional source of revenue. The current AGA proposal calls for the sale of only 7 bags per day outside of those provided with rounds of golf. We feel this estimate may be understated, by as much as, five (5) times possible revenues.
Answer #5:  Complementary range balls will not be included with a resident green fee. The AGF will be permitted to provide complementary range balls with a Rack Rate green fee. The AGA and Phoenix agree that a $3.00 range bag/bucket (warm up) must be available for over-the-counter retail.
Question #6: "AFFINITY CARD" – PMGA requests to be provided with, as quickly as possible, a detailed explanation of the pricing, tee time booking policies, and other benefits associated with the undefined "Affinity" Card. Unless there are compelling reasons the PMGA would recommend continuation of a single Phoenix Golf Card. In the event the "Affinity" Card carries significant cost we would request that a limited number of annual guest passes at "Affinity" Rates be included as a standard benefit, and that "Affinity" card holders have the same tee time booking privileges as "out of towners" without being required to pay a premium for advanced bookings.
Answer #6: There will be NO “Affinity Card” for Papago Golf Course. As indicated in #3 above, the current Phoenix Card, administered by the City of Phoenix will be accepted at Papago Golf Course and card holders will be eligible for the same advanced tee time privileges at other Phoenix Courses.
Question #7: DRESS CODE- PMGA requests to be provided with, as quickly as possible, a detailed explanation (preferably with examples) of the Dress Code that the AGA intends to propose for the Course, Clubhouse, and Range.
Answer #7: The Dress Code at Papago will be consistent with that at other Phoenix Golf Courses. Alternative Spikes will be required for all golfers (no metal spikes). Men will be required to wear shirts (collars will not be required) and women will be prohibited from wearing tube/halter tops.
Question #8: FINANCING OF PROPOSED ON-SITE AGA. AWGA. AJGA. USGA AGRONOMIST. MEETING ROOMS/OFFICES AND AGA HALL OF FAME- PMGA would strongly recommend that the CITY consider not burdening the Papago golfing public (many of whom are already dues paying members of the AGA) with the additional Indebtedness (which will equate to a $4-6 per round "fixed" cost) for the proposed 2nd Floor, 5000+ Sq. Ft., $3.5MM building expansion, and instead require the AGA and their affiliates to pay for this mortgage out of their own income or include an "above the line" monthly Rent Expense that will cover all amortization, insurance, utilities and other related expenses for the proposed expansion.
Answer #8: The City of Phoenix and AGA have yet negotiated details for Phase II improvements to the clubhouse, or a rent structure that will, in part, be based on square footage, building function, and access by the general public. In general, the City of Phoenix supports a permanent presence at Papago Golf Course by the State Association, including the Youth and Women’s Associations. The City is very anxious to work with a resident USGA agronomist to improve turf quality and water resource management at all Phoenix Courses.  The partners will provide a meeting room for the Men’s and Women’s Club as well as office space for the City of Phoenix in any new clubhouse facility.
Question #9: PROPOSED STARTING TIMES – PMGA would recommend that the CITY and AGA revisit proposed operation starting time since Papago has historically opened anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes earlier than AGA proposed hours of operation, which could serve two purposes, lessen competition for tee times, and generate more gross revenue to better allow for consideration of other negotiable Pricing concessions suggested elsewhere herein.
Answer #9: The partners are evaluating the anticipated maintenance practices to support an improved Papago Golf Course. Daily tee times will begin as soon as possible in conjunction with required routine maintenance.
Question #10 DAYS OF OPERATION – A careful review of the AGA Pro Forma’s shows initial proposed tee time sales/usage at 85% of maximum capacity which seems logical, but it is coupled a formula that only shows the course being open for 317 days (would appear to be a private club type spreadsheet). If one assumes an absolute maximum of a 25-day shutdown for over-seeding and aeration, shouldn’t there be another 28 days of revenue generation in their model (or at least an explanation). We hope this doesn’t represent a shutdown of the course for AGA or other events for which there will be no generation of revenues for the enterprise as a whole. Once again a review of this issue could provide tee time competition, pricing and other cost relief.
Answer #10: The City and AGA estimate 48 total lost golf days annually. 24 days are lost annually to over-seeding, aeration and general maintenance. We are estimating that the equivalent of an additional 24 days (average of 2 days per month) are lost to inclement weather. These days do not represent any AGA tournament or event days. The City of Phoenix will limit AGA events to no more than (3), not to exceed 6 days total from November through April. This will not include JGAA, US Kids Golf, AWGA, USGA, SWPGA, PGA or LPGA events that the City of Phoenix currently supports at Papago and will continue to support and actively pursue. Out of season, the City and AGA will work cooperatively to schedule events and maximize revenues as Phoenix currently does at all its Municipal Courses.
Question #11: AGA PROPOSED REVENUE and OPERATING BUDGET PROPOSALS – For the same reasons previously listed PMGA would respectfully suggest that the CITY should give serious consideration to requesting that the AGA to sharpen their pencil on Operating Costs so as to reduce the proposed per round break even point. Additionally since the AGA proposal shows no gradual ramp-up of revenues (instead they propose 100% sales, including the $100+ per round premium pricing utilizing the 85% usage projection) wouldn’t it be more prudent to ramp-up sales over the first year.
Answer #11: The City recognizes that the AGA’s estimated operating costs may need refinement as we continue to move through negotiations. However, of greater concern to the City of Phoenix would be a proposed operating budget that would not and could not support the operation. The City of Phoenix feels very comfortable with the rack rate for a renovated and restored Papago Golf Course. We strongly believe the $100+ out-of-town rate will mirror street value pricing for comparable courses. We are already working closely with national media outlets, local hotels, the Phoenix Convention Center and the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau on maximizing out-of-area play.
Question #12. USE OF THE PHRASE – "THE PAPAGO CLUB" – PMGA assumes that the CITY still considers the Papago Park Golf Course to be the name of the course, and that in the "eyes" of the CITY the course is and will remain a "muni", albeit a high-end "muni" once planned renovations are complete. Accordingly we feel it would be appropriate for the CITY to instruct the AGA to not refer to the course as The Papago Club in any of its documentation, advertising or even internal discussions.
Answer #12: The “official” name of the course is Papago Golf Course. Any change in the name would require Parks Board approval. There are no plans to change the name of the course. The City of Phoenix feels very strongly that Papago Golf Course remains a vital part of the Municipal Golf system. The partnership with the AGA will ensure that Papago Park remain a “Muni”.