ENVISIONING A NEW BELMONT GOLF COURSE
Frequently Asked QuestionsFirst Tee - Greater Richmond is entering an agreement with Henrico County to take over the operation and management of Belmont Golf Course, the only golf course in Virginia to host a PGA major tournament – the 1949 PGA Championship, which was won by Virginian Sam Snead. Below are questions and answers pertaining to the deal.
What are the basics of the partnership?In simplest terms, Henrico County will retain ownership of Belmont Golf Course and enter a 20-year lease with First Tee, which will operate and manage the golf course. It’s worth noting that the partnership with Henrico County is very similar to the partnerships First Tee started with Chesterfield County in 2000 and the City of Richmond in 2003.
What are the terms of the lease?First Tee has agreed to pay Henrico County $3.25 million over the 20-year lease. This is in addition to the $750,000 Henrico County plans to invest into course renovations. In all, The First Tee will invest more than $4 million to transform the golf course.
How is The First Tee paying for this?[caption id="attachment_3969" align="alignright" width="376"] The Elson Redmond Memorial Driving Range - Renovated in 2017 by The First Tee.[/caption] First Tee has a committed group of donors who are making this investment possible.
How did The First Tee get involved in this project?A couple of years ago, Henrico County debated what to do with Belmont Golf Course, which had lost money each year since 2000. About a year ago, when it looked like the county had eliminated non-golf development opportunities, First Tee began considering what it might be able to do with Belmont Golf Course. Earlier this year, Henrico County issued a request for proposals (RFP) to keep golf at the center of Belmont. First Tee submitted a proposal and presented its vision for Belmont. In December, Henrico County announced a partnership with First Tee, which beat out four other groups for the right to operate Belmont.
Why is Henrico County doing this?Belmont Golf Course has lost money each year since 2000, and the county sought ideas on what to do with the property for a couple years to limit the taxpayer dollars that went into maintaining the course. It was looking for a partner that was willing to take over the management of the golf operation, and we are thrilled to be the county’s partner.
Why is The First Tee doing this?This is an incredible opportunity for us to do what we’ve done in Chesterfield County and in the City of Richmond. It’s a perfect fit for us to carry out our vision of strengthening the character of our community. We already work with 44 schools and more than 23,000 students in Henrico County through our First Tee School Program, and this partnership enables us to drastically grow our footprint in reaching more youth in the Richmond area.
What are The First Tee’s plans for Belmont Golf Course?First Tee will transform the historic, yet underperforming, golf course into a community- focused, inclusive and affordable public golf facility for all ages and skill levels. First Tee plans the following property renovations:
- Conversion of the 18-hole course to a 12-hole championship course that preserves key A.W. Tillinghast/Donald Ross features, improves bunkers, turf and greens and introduces innovative and forward-thinking design from Love Golf Design
- Addition of a driving range
- Addition of a short-game practice area
- Addition of a six-hole short course, with holes ranging from 60 to 170 yards
- Addition of a putting course
- Improved pro shop and clubhouse experience
Why will it be a 12-hole championship course instead of an 18-hole championship course?[caption id="attachment_3971" align="alignright" width="414"] The Elson Redmond Memorial Driving Range - Renovated in 2017 by The First Tee.[/caption] First Tee made a conscious decision to propose an innovative plan to reimagine Belmont rather than simply making cosmetic changes or upgrades to the bunkers. To best accommodate the programming for our First Tee participants and to include practice facilities like a driving range, short-game area and putting area, reducing the course from 18 to 12 holes is necessary. In addition, we believe that having 12 holes – in addition to all that we’re adding – will be attractive to golfers who are looking to reduce the time it takes to play a round.
Who is helping First Tee with the design and renovations?We are excited to have an agreement to work with Love Golf Design, which is led by former PGA golfer Davis Love III, his brother Mark Love and Scot Sherman. Davis Love III is a 21-time PGA champion, two-time Ryder Cup captain and World Golf Hall of Fame member. Most recently, the firm has been leading the redesign efforts at Birdwood Golf Course in Charlottesville.
When will the renovations begin?First Tee will assume control of Belmont on Jan. 1, 2020, and we will begin a full renovation that will necessitate the closure of the course until the spring of 2021.
Where can I find the proposed renovation plans?
While we know of some of the additions we plan to make to Belmont Golf Course, we will be working with Love Golf Design to finalize what the revamped Belmont will look like. We expect to share those plans by the spring of 2020.