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The City Journals

Mulligans Looks Toward Tomorrow

Nov 06, 2015 11:05AM ● By Bryan Scott

By James Luke

With Mulligans saved, the next question is what to do with it. The South Jordan City Council has now agreed to fund creation of a Mulligans Master Plan. At the Oct. 6 council meeting, the council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution that skipped over the typical bidding process by which city contracts are generally awarded, and accept the Mulligans Commission recommendation to award the contract to Staples Golf of Scottsdale, Arizona

Councilman Steve Barnes had some questions about the need to rush the process to ink an immediate deal, which Councilman Mark Seethaler, chairman of the Mulligans Commission, addressed by remote audio link, as he was out of town for the council meeting. Ultimately though, the council voted unanimously to authorize the city to sidestep a public bidding process involved in a Request for Proposals for creation of the Master Plan.

The resolution directs the city manager to enter into a contract for the Master Plan to be drafted by Staples Golf, the company that has advised the Mulligans Commission in recent months. The comprehensive, detailed set of recommendations in the Master Plan will guide next steps in the city’s effort to improve the local golf and recreation center.

The company that has now won the contract to design the detailed plan for future rehabilitation of Mulligans notes, in its initial report, that, “A master plan should be viewed as a ‘road map’ to your future. A proper plan addresses issues of concern and areas of opportunity, mapped out in realistic, achievable steps that can be implemented at any time.” 

Mulligans Golf & Games, 692 West 10600 South, built in 1992 by a private developer, became a South Jordan City property in 2004. The city bought the property for $10.8 million with statements of intent to preserve the expanse of green space.

Featuring an array of activities for different ages and interests including 36 holes of mini-golf, driving ranges, practice greens and two separate nine-hole golf courses clustered on its 67 acres, Mulligans also has batting cages and access to the Jordan River Parkway Trail running along the east edge of the property. Mulligans is nearly a quarter of a century old now, and is in dire need of restoration and rehabilitation. 

A member of Save Mulligans and neighbor to the north of the golf course for nearly eight years, Julie Holbrook recalls that signs of decline in condition of the grounds have gotten worse since she moved into her home north of the course in April 2008.

“I think it is purposeful,” she said. She notes that a pattern of zero spending on improvements and continued deferred maintenance for the course, with the inevitable result of decline in condition, is to be expected from a city government that had visions of the acres of turf being covered over with parking lots and rooftops of taxpaying businesses.

The Staples Golf initial report agrees with the common observation that the condition of Mulligans is poor. “The overall health of the entire facility is deteriorating quickly. This can be seen in the concrete driving range structure, the pond banks, the errant golf balls from the range onto adjacent golf holes, the deteriorating condition of the turf, to name a few,” the report said.

Staples’ initial report goes on to observe that, “most if not all of these issues will need to be addressed at some point, and by addressing them in a plan, the costs can be maximized economically and efficiently.”

The report notes favorably that, “Taking the responsibility of placing Mulligans at the heart of the City’s plan for recreational open space and regional focus along the Jordan River is a tremendous endeavor.”

Finally, the initial report also observes that, “a typical golf facility is traditionally utilized by only 10 percent of the community. However, all courses will need to look toward the other 90 percent of those who do not play the sport, but are looking for the added benefits a golf course provides.” 

So, while golf at Mulligans is to remain the focus of the facility, Staples envisions a plan that involves “updating the facility to bring in non-golfers, and to promote health oriented, outdoor recreational options.”