City leaders reveal the Municipal Golf Course may not reopen this year

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Since New Year's Day, the Becky Pierce Memorial Golf Course has been closed to the public. The Huntsville City Council voted last year to end the agreement with the course's old management company, Robertson Golf Management, and plans to keep it closed until they find a replacement.

Now, WHNT News 19 has learned, the course may not reopen any time soon.

Huntsville's City Administrator, John Hamilton, says they're going to be diligent looking for a new management company, even if that costs them a few "strokes" with avid golfers.

“We don’t want to throw a little bit of money at it, either ours or theirs, and then 2 years from now have the same conversation all over again," said Hamilton.

He says the city has a clear vision for the type of partner they're looking for.

“Somebody who has the experience to operate a course successfully, has a good understanding of the investments are required to make it work, and then has the capacity to actually do it," he explained.

So far, finding the right partner hasn't been easy. “The one response we got was not suitable," said Hamilton.

So now the city is going back to the drawing board, to seek out new potential partners.

“We’ve met with three other entities this week that have previously expressed interest in operating the course so evaluating what their proposal and what their assessment of the course is,” he said.

Even after they find their match, the course will have to remain closed to implement upgrades, and the city can't start on them now, because funding is still up in the air.

“The agreement we would reach with them would define how much of an investment the city would make versus how much they would make," explained Hamilton.

Just like making improvement to your golf game, these upgrades won't happen overnight.

“I think the earliest you could possibly see that course open again would be really towards the end of this calendar year, but really early next year is more likely," said Hamilton.

Currently, the Huntsville City Council hasn't allocated any money for course upgrades in this year's budget.

The council would have the final say on any operating agreements between a golf management company and the City of Huntsville.