Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Guest View-Tony D'Angelo: A "360" View of The Success of the Pusch Ridge Municipal Golf Course

Council to take pivotal look at Pusch Ridge Course tomorrow night
Tomorrow night, the Oro Valley Town Council will decide the future of the Pusch Ridge Golf Course. Based on the direction received when the Town Council voted to reopen the course three years ago, Town Staff will present an analysis of the facility. The analysis will include a review of the facility's financial performance, a water use efficiency assessment, and a projection of the capital investment requirements to maintain the facility as a beneficial recreational asset for the Town.

Saving this course has been a community effort
Friend of Pusch Ridge Golf ( ) has tirelessly partnered with the town and the community to transform this 'hidden gem' within the Arizona golfing community into a thriving success. Tomorrow's discussion will showcase those results.

That has built this community asset
Today, Pusch Ridge Golf is a true community asset:
  • Use has grown substantially
    Play prior to closing averaged under 4000 rounds per season. Over the last three years it has quadrupled play and is on pace to generate over 17,000 rounds this season. Prior to reopening in 2020, the golf course operated at a loss of around $200,000 per year. Since reopening it actually makes a small profit!
  • The course is a town economic engine
    Pusch Ridge Golf has become an important economic engine for the Town and a “fast, fun and affordable” recreational asset for its residents and tourists. Approximately 30% of the rounds played are generated by the four leagues FOPRG manage. Through our marketing efforts, sixteen area hotels send guests to play Pusch Ridge Golf. Thirteen area apartment complexes feature Pusch Ridge Golf to new and existing residents.
  • A wide range of player diversity
    The diversity and increasing number of players on the golf course is impressive. Young, older, visitors, families all play. The Southern Arizona Junior PGA now uses Pusch Ridge Golf for its championship qualifying rounds. The reviews of the golf course have dramatically improved under Indigo Golf Partners management. 98% of players would recommend the course to others
  • The course is a "Quick 9" for tourists
    Tourism offers a great opportunity for Oro Valley to grow without requiring unbridled new development. The Town’s recreational assets, including its golf courses are ways to bring in needed tax revenues.
  • Benefits local business
    Through the marketing efforts of FOPRG, local businesses are also seeing a benefit. Four local restaurants are now part of our “all-day happy hour” promotion and they tell us they see golfers in their establishments almost every day. This contributes vital tax revenues to our Town.
Pusch Ridge Golf adds value to the town's recreational portfolio
While it is good to see the Town’s golf operations all performing without significant tax support, it is important to understand that no other Town recreational asset is expected to make money. All Town Parks and Recreation facilities should be judged based upon their qualitative and indirect contributions to the Town. Do they serve the residents and do they support economic activity into the Town? Pusch Ridge Golf does.

There is more that can be done
We are not done working to further enhance the value of this unique facility.  For example, it is unfortunate that Pusch Ridge Golf was not included in the reclaimed water distribution system when most of the other Oro Valley golf courses transitioned off of potable water. FOPRG had no way to change this reality so it focused on generating play to at least improve water use efficiency. When looking at water use per round played, Pusch Ridge Golf has enjoyed an 80% improvement in efficiency. We believe there are still opportunities to mitigate total water use through various agronomy technologies available.  

We look forward to the continued support of our town leaders
Oro Valley is a great town to “work, live and play.” It has natural beauty and climate plus an enviable array of recreational assets. They all deserve to be maintained and protected. We are hopeful that the Town Council will support our efforts to keep Pusch Ridge Golf Course open.
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Tony D'Angelo is the President of the group, Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf.  The group was created to provide marketing, play and volunteer support for the facility in hopes of proving the viability of the facility. During these past three years the group has worked closely with Town Staff, Indigo Golf Partners management and the community to promote and enhance the golf course and user experience.

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