Crestview moves ahead with plan to revive old Foxwood golf course

Tony Judnich
Northwest Florida Daily News

CRESTVIEW — The City Council on Monday, April 12, unanimously agreed to move forward with a multi-pronged plan to repair and reopen the former 18-hole Foxwood Country Club golf course.

According to projections from City Manager Tim Bolduc, the renovated driving range could reopen sometime in mid- to late June, and the renovated golf course could open at the end of this year or in early 2022.

Last fall, a majority of Foxwood Estates’ voters approved the annexation of their neighborhood and the adjacent former country club site into the city from unincorporated Okaloosa County.

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The neighborhood and golf course property stand south of U.S. Highway 90 and east of Antioch Road.

The country club and its 18-hole golf course were closed in October 2017 after its owners experienced years of financial trouble because of declining demand.

Last year, the city purchased the 129-acre former golf club site with $1.2 million in bond money. At the time, Crestview officials had considered using the property for a recreation complex, but later found out the site has high water tables and that it would be too expensive to repurpose the land for ball fields. The city now is looking at other locations for the complex.

In addition to other related moves on Monday, the council approved paying up to $1.64 million to Mammoth Sports Construction to repair the golf course.

An aerial view of the old Foxwood Country Club in Crestview shows the course's first hole and the clubhouse to the right.

Tasks to be performed by the Meriden, Kansas-based firm will include clearing work, re-establishing the course’s greens, bunkers and tees, and installing new drainage and irrigation systems. In recent weeks, city workers assisted by Okaloosa County Jail inmates have performed mowing, tree trimming and bridge/stormwater repair projects at the site.

The council also approved finalizing a 15-year contract with GreatLIFE Services of Lenexa, Kansas, to manage the golf course.

GreatLIFE Services will receive a 4% management fee included in the operational budget and will receive a performance payment each year based on proceeds in excess to operational, capital and maintenance costs as agreed upon in the budget, according to city information.

Weeds which were growing up around the scoreboard of the old Foxwood Country Club in Crestview have been trimmed back.

The performance payment will be equal to half of the golf course’s net income, or “excess proceeds,” after the city’s yearly audit. The operational costs will include the repayment of the initial up to $1.64 million in repair investment, as well as any refunding required from the initial purchase bond.

“We have to take into consideration that the golfing industry is a risk,” Councilman Shannon Hayes said at Monday’s meeting. Reviving the golf course “might go great, super-great. It might not.”

But, he added, at least the city is protected with the 4% management fee instead of having to pay the firm $100,000 annually to oversee the property.

Bolduc told the council that GreatLIFE Services projects a first-year management fee projection of $25,000. Using “very conservative numbers,” including a golf membership tally of about 275 members, he projected a first-year net cash flow of $62,000, which would be split between the company and the city.

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The council on Monday also agreed that the golf course, which will receive a new name, will be an independent nonprofit entity owned by the city. This arrangement will allow the city to use its half of the excess proceeds to enhance recreation facilities and programs.

While getting the golf course back in shape is the top priority, city officials also are looking to renovate the clubhouse, the tennis courts and possibly the swimming pool near the entrance to the course.