Monday, March 5, 2007

Consultant to MPERS: Don’t sell golf courses

An independent consultant has advised the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System to hold on to its troubled Louisiana golf courses according to this article from the Advocate.

A draft copy of a 101-page study by the National Golf Foundation recommends instead that the Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System — or MPERS — spend more money promoting the Golf Club at Stonebridge and Olde Oaks Golf Course and hire a professional management company to run them.

In making the recommendation, the Jupiter, Fla.-based consulting firm notes about 375 golf courses nationwide are for sale — almost all of then in financial straits. Last year alone, more than 100 courses closed — about the same number as the year before.

The golf courses — and a $30 million line of credit for a 2,200-acre Texas luxury golf development known as Boot Ranch — are the subject of a pending lawsuit three south Louisiana police chiefs filed against MPERS seeking to have trustees removed.

Instead of selling the Louisiana courses, the consultants suggest that with “the right management,” the two facilities — which barely broke even last year, even with MPERS’ help and a line of credit to cover operating expenses — could net a $730,000 annual profit over the next decade.