GALLOPING HILL DRIVING RANGE AND NEW LEARNING CENTER OPEN Key to renewal of golf division operations
(Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)
Union County Freeholders Rayland Van Blake and Deborah Scanlon watch Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella prepare to make a shot at the new driving range at Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth. The new golf facility, which opened October 19, features 34 hitting stalls, 20 of which will be covered and heated for year round use. Upon completion in spring 2010, the range will feature 54 stalls (40 of them will be covered and heated) and a 40,000 square foot practice area. Additionally, the PGA America’s First Tee Program will be starting up in the spring at the New Galloping Hill Golf Practice and Learning Center.
KENILWORTH/UNION AREA---Union County residents will have more reasons to cheer and fewer excuses for bogeys as Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth has opened a new 34-stall driving range and learning center, Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella announced.
“The changes have created a new golf facility---with something to offer for everyone,” Mirabella said.
The covered stalls will allow for year round use as the facility continues to transform into a full-service golf complex.
With its ideal location (Garden State Parkway at US-22), local golfers are now able to enjoy Galloping Hill’s world-class practice facility as part of a renovation of the County golf properties designed to provide affordable golf to New York and New Jersey residents. The County also sees the upgraded facility as an opportunity to provide commuters with a golf course that will allow them to stop in after work and get in a quick nine holes.
The new range will feature 34 hitting stalls, 20 of which will be covered and heated for year round use. Upon completion in spring 2010, the range will feature 54 stalls (40 of them will be covered and heated) and a 40,000 square foot practice area.
The County also redesigned the remaining six holes on the Galloping Hill nine-hole course with the help of world famous and award-winning architect Stephen Kay, who is responsible for renovations at more than 15 courses in the New York/New Jersey area.
By utilizing the existing 4th, 5th and 9th holes, three new greens were constructed and three new tees splitting each of the holes into a par 4 and 3, which enabled the course to be returned to a nine-hole, par-33 layout. The new nine-hole course will become part of the Galloping Hill Golf Practice and Learning Center.
Additionally, the PGA America’s First Tee Program will be starting up in the spring at the New Galloping Hill Golf Practice and Learning Center.
The First Tee provides young people of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop life-enhancing values such as confidence, perseverance and judgment through golf and character education.
“This program is one of the most exciting things we have coming in the future and we are eager to get it started,” Mirabella said. “It will enable us to directly impact the lives of our children in a positive way and will help us grow young men and women into responsible, hardworking adults.”
County officials had the vision to operate the Golf Practice and Learning Center independently of Galloping Hill's Championship 18-hole course. The courses will try to create accessibility to golfers who are looking for a driving range and course where they can practice a multitude of different golf shots at an affordable price, according to Parks and Community Renewal Director Al Faella.
Earlier in the year, as another step in its golf operations turnaround plan, Union County officials announced that they had selected KemperSports, one of the nation's leading golf management companies, to manage all golf services at its golf courses.
“We chose KemperSports because of the company's outstanding record of enhancing clubhouse facilities, increasing community outreach and developing golf programs," Mirabella said. "They have a national reputation for providing outstanding customer service and excellent financial management with the goal of achieving long-term success."
The Northbrook, Ill.-based KemperSports operates and manages golf facilities as well as athletic clubs, lodging venues and major sporting events, including nationally ranked courses and tournament venues, including Chambers Bay, a County-owned Course, in Washington, host of the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the 2015 U.S. Open. Another KemperSports managed property, Harding Park (owned by the City of San Francisco Recreation and Park Department) hosted The 2009 Presidents Cup.
"We are excited by the opportunity to partner with Union County in developing both Galloping Hill and Ash Brook into premier courses," said Steve Skinner, CEO of KemperSports in a press release to announce the contract. "We are pleased to start our relationship with Union County and look forward to delivering area golfers an enhanced experience.”
In an executive budget letter to the Board of Chosen Freeholders in January 2009, County Manager George W. Devanney announced the County would seek a "public-private" partnership with a golf management company with the objective of attaining profitability at both courses.
At the time, Devanney had noted the County's three golf courses were operating at 50 percent capacity, while operational costs were running as if they were at 100 percent. County officials felt that KemperSports was able to ensure that the golf facilities would remain financially viable.
"KemperSports has satisfied the financial, technical and management requirements of our request," said Faella, the Director of Parks and Community Renewal. "They certainly have the experience and the resources needed to do the job."
A number of KemperSports golf courses have been cited among the nation’s-and in some instances the world’s- leading courses, including Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, which recently had two of its three courses listed among the “Top 100 in the World” by GOLF Magazine.