Golf Course bid approved: Third RFP’s the Charm (Updated)

Above: Many golfers in town will be relieved to hear that the plan to restore the course to nine holes is back on track. (photo from Southborough Golf Club’s Men’s Association website)

The Town’s third version of a Request for Proposals to renovate the Golf Course netted three bids within the project budget. The low bid was approved by Selectmen on Thursday morning.

Selectmen awarded the bid to George E. Ley Company for $241,503 with a 15% contingency. Town Administrator Mark Purple confirmed on Friday that work is expected to commence in the next two weeks, and should be completed this fall.

I asked if the work would require closing the course or any holes. (Currently, all 9 holes are open, but 2 have been impacted by the public safety building.*) Purple answered that shouldn’t be necessary:

Work on the new tee box and green can be done while the temporary setups remain in play. If all goes according to plan, the newly constructed items will be in play when the 2020 season opens.

[Editor’s Note: For those of you interested in golfing on the greens this summer and fall, you may want to check out the course’s leagues. I previously posted about the Women’s league launched in the spring. I had missed that a men’s league already existed. You can learn more about both here.]

The most recent RFP summarized the renovation project as including:

enlarging existing putting green, building a new short game area, new tees for 1st & 15th holes, installing a new practice hitting cage, removing trees, shifting the first fairway to its left, eliminate two fairway bunkers, building three new fairway bunkers, installing needed drainage, installing irrigation, planting new trees and installing sod.

As for timing, the work was to begin within 2 weeks of signing a contract, and:

greens and tees must be sodded no later than Nov. 15, 2019 if most of the project is done in the fall of 2019. . .

All other work shall be completed no later than two weeks after the greens and tees are sodded with punch-list items completed no later than one week later.

The project cost is covered by the Community Preservation Act funds approved by Town Meeting. About $340K was available for the project under a Community Preservation Act Article passed by Town Meeting. The Town was striving to keep it within $325K.

The Town’s first two RFPs brought in bids hundreds of thousands above that budget. Purple had publicly asserted that the fault laid with the initial consultant golf course architect for an overly broad work scope. He expressed confidence that work needed could be done within the original estimated amount. The third RFP was written after working with a architect. In addition to the winningbid, bids came in at $321,675 and $335,100.

The Town’s consultant, Stephen Kay, recommended accepting the low bid. He wrote:

I have review all three bids for the Southborough Golf Course project. I am familiar with all three contractors who bid the project and they are all qualified. The low bidder George Ley Company is a fine golf contractor whom I have worked with on five projects over the last four years and they did a fine on each of them. They completed the jobs on time and in budget. Hence I recommend the Town of Southborough select them as the winning contractor.

Since I know some readers were unenthusiastic about spending on the course, I checked on the expected future financials.

Going forward, normal operating costs, as well as minor capital improvements, will be the responsibility of the management company.

This year the Town waived the rental fee for management, due to the impacts caused by the public safety building construction and delay on course renovations. In future years, the Town expects the management company to pay rent of about $20-25K per year. That will go into a revolving fund for any future capital expenses that the Town may need to cover. Those expenses are expected to be minimal. 

Updated (8/6/19 10:44 am): Initially, I wrote that 2 of the holes are closed. But a commenter explained that the holes that are impacted aren’t actually closed:

All nine holes are in use but two of the holes are impacted by the construction. The 1st hole has temporary tee boxes and the 9th hole has a temporary green.

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4 years ago

All nine holes are in use but two of the holes are impacted by the construction. The 1st hole has temporary tee boxes and the 9th hole has a temporary green.

The course has been busy even with the construction. It is nice to have a project were there is actually a return on the investment!

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