City selects new firm to manage golf course

As of Jan. 1, 2019, CourseCo took over duties at the course from the previous management company, Premier Golf Centers.

For the first time in more than a decade, the Lake Wilderness Golf Course will be managed by a different company.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, CourseCo took over duties at the course from the previous management company, Premier Golf Centers.

The city of Maple Valley’s contract with Premier Golf was expiring at the end of 2018 and in the spring of 2018, the city decided to look at all of their options.

“A lot has changed in the game of golf,” Dave Johnson, Parks and Recreation director for Maple Valley said.

Johnson said in the fall of 2018, the city put out a request for proposal to see what else was out there.

The city’s goal is to make the course a sustainable community asset, he said.

According to a media release from the city, City Manager Laura Philpot said the city “believes CourseCo is the right company to help the city achieve its goals.”

CourseCo is out of Northern California and currently oversees a course in Portland, the Tri-Cities and Pullman, Johnson said. According to the release, CourseCo currently oversees 35 properties in total.

While Lake Wilderness is the company’s first course in the Pacific Northwest, he said CourseCo is excited to be here and hope this is the start of managing many courses in the region.

“Being selected to manage Lake Wilderness Golf Course is an exciting honor for CourseCo,” Michael Sharp, CEO and president of CourseCo, said in the release. “As a very hands-on operator, our collective team will focus on fresh new programming and special events.”

Johnson said the city is excited to work with CourseCo and hope to find ways to best utilize the property — which spans 100 acres of green space within the city.

One thing that attracted Maple Valley to CourseCo was their excitement to partner and be a community partner.

“We want there to be more of a connection to the community,” Johnson said.

He added the city hopes to find ways to better use the course for non-golfers. Some ideas Johnson threw out, that may happen in the future, include a flashlight Easter egg hunt or an outdoor movie night.

Aside from the goal of bringing these non-golfer events to the course, Johnson said CourseCo is the employer of the course and oversees all aspects — including maintenance, managing the Pro Shop, organizing food/beverage as well as marketing and promoting the course to not only city residents but those who travel through.

“We want to get the word out,” he said. “It’s here, it’s a public course.”

The goal is to bring more efficiency between all three of these main areas and the city believes CourseCo can help revitalize the course.

The Lake Wilderness Golf Course has been in the city’s possession since 2006 when they purchased it, Johnson said. He added, the city purchased the course to save it from being developed.

Community members and golfers will see the same friendly service when attending the course, Johnson said.

He added most of the employees are still onsite and have been offered a job now with CourseCo, he said.

This is typical with the transition to a new management company, Johnson said. The new company doesn’t typically bring in their own employees — this helps with the transition, he added.

Johnson wanted to assure the community, rates will remain the same, green fees aren’t changing.

When talking to some golfers and staff members, he said all have expressed their excitement to now work with CourseCo.

“We have some of the best greens in the area,” Johnson said. “We are a diamond in the rough, with a little work and polish we can be a shining gem in the community.”