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City golf course hoping to find new management

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The Ironwood Golf Course, located at 2100 NE 39th Ave. in eastern Gainesville is an 18-hole, par 72 course owned by the City of Gainesville and operated by the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.

Representatives are currently discussing ways to further improve the course.

Gainesville District 1 city commissioner Yvonne Hinson-Rawls, whose district includes Ironwood, said there is now a request for a professional management and operations person or company to take over the course.

“We actually want it to be one of the best golf courses in the area,” she said. “So we want people with some expertise to come in and take over and manage it for us.”

District 2 commissioner Todd Chase made the initial motion to ask a third party to manage the course.

“I made a motion and the commission agreed to at least pursue other opportunities to at least see if there’s a market for it,” he said.

Chase said he would like the course to become more profitable and a private company may be able to accomplish that because rates are typically lower on a public golf course then a private golf course.

“I think that it does make financial sense to help with our current budget problem situation,” he said.

Rawls said by transitioning over to private company or individual management, the course could offer more amenities like golf lessons by pros. She hopes the course can become revenue neutral, yet maintain its benefits for the community.

“I wish the city could find a way, frankly, to make it profit-making,” she said. “I’d like to see it self-sustaining.”

Jeff Cardozo is a golf course supervisor and said Ironwood is a place where all members of the community can come and play. Recent renovations, he said, have made the course even better.

The city of Gainesville spent $1.3 million on renovations for the course in 2010, according to its website.

One of the largest differences he has noticed with the course is when it rains, water used to sit on the course and golfers were unable to play for a few days. Now, golfers can come back almost immediately.

Players of the course said it has a great layout and there are many possibilities for the course.

As for Rawls, she said she is proud that the course is not just for her district but all of Gainesville.

“I am pleased to have it in my district,” she said.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a news editor for WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native but has found a home reporting Florida's stories.

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