The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation is seeking out proposals for a golf operator for the Pelham Bay and Split Rock Golf Courses in the northeast corner of the Bronx.
Located off of Shore Road in Pelham Bay Park, the city’s largest park which borders Westchester County, the site consists of two courses that are operated under one agreement, a NYC Parks spokesperson told the Bronx Times.
The facility, which is advertised as the only 36-hole golf facility in NYC, also has an Art Deco style clubhouse with a catering and event hall, snack bar, shop and patio, according to a Request for Proposals (RFP) that was issued on March 13.
The winning proposal will be awarded a 20-year contract to renovate, operate and maintain the courses.
The RFP process to re-solicit concessionaires is a city requirement, and 20 years is the maximum term allowed, according to the parks department spokesperson. American Golf Corporation, the courses’ operator, has won the last two 20-year contracts, running the course since 1983. Prior to that, the courses were managed by the city, the spokesperson said.
The Pell Golf Course — which was later renamed the Pelham Golf Course — opened in 1901 as one of the country’s first public golf courses. The neighboring Split Rock Golf Course was built in 1936.
As part of the current agreement, the golf operator pays NYC Parks an annual fee or the sum of percentages of revenues, whichever is greater, according to the RFP. This year, the annual fee is $1 million. In 2018 and 2019, the parks department was paid $749,982 and $800,000, respectively, while the facility saw gross receipts totaling more than $6.5 million both years.
The Parks spokesperson said the department “cannot speak to whether” American Golf has expressed interest in submitting a proposal to continue operating the course, but the company is eligible to do so. The current existing licensing agreement will expire in January 2024.
The Bronx Times reached out to American Golf and is awaiting a response.
American Golf conducted a $13.5 million renovation for the two courses and clubhouse between 2005 and 2008, according to the parks department. The on-site clubhouse was restored; the courses and drainage were improved and the cart paths were extended. In 2018, the company restored murals in the clubhouse and made miscellaneous improvements to the course.
As American Golf’s current contract nears its end, the parks department is also looking for proposals for five other golf courses in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
“Golf is in an inter-generational sport that brings together people of all ages and abilities, and NYC Parks is proud to be home to 13 golf courses citywide,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue.
Donogahue said the agency encourages operators to consider using sustainable practices in their proposals “to ensure that our golf courses remain green in every way.”
Examples of sustainable practices include transitioning to electric golf carts, increasing permeable surfaces, using locally sourced and sustainable building materials and retaining an architect, engineer and superintendent with sustainability expertise, the Parks spokesperson said.
Proposals for the golf courses are due at 2 p.m. on April 28.
Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes