Municipal golf courses in Tempe could improve

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Rolling Hills and Ken McDonald golf courses could receive upgrades to improve experiences if the City of Tempe is able to form new partnerships with the private sector.

At the March 3 regular council meeting, the Tempe City Council unanimously authorized city staff to enter into negotiations with CourseCo, Inc. and Grass Clipping, Inc., selected through a process of request for proposals (RFP) in 2021. Through the RFP, the city sought an experienced company to enter into a ground lease with Tempe to expand and enhance playing experiences, as well as maintain its commitment to community golf .

Municipal golf courses in Tempe could see improvements signals az

Photo courtesy of the City of Tempe

Course Co., Inc. and Grass Clippings, Inc. were selected from the tender respondents for their team qualifications, vision, and proposed financial strategy and capability. Subsequently, in-depth discussions will take place between City staff and each firm with the aim of creating a draft development agreement which will be submitted to Council for consideration at an upcoming public meeting. One or both companies may be chosen to proceed after the negotiation process. Courses are not sold.

Tempe has been providing value-oriented community golf for over 50 years, providing quality outdoor recreational experiences to the Tempe community and its visitors. Ken McDonald is an 18-hole course in South Tempe that offers a fun and challenging golf experience for all ages and abilities, as well as programs for junior golfers. Rolling Hills is an 18-hole executive golf course nestled in scenic Papago Park.

“Players who live in and around Tempe love our courses. Whether they’re heading out to exercise and get some fresh air, or regularly grab a bite to eat at the clubs, Rolling Hills and Ken McDonald mean a lot to our community,” said Keith Burke, Director of Community Services. “As we move forward with our vision for the future of these important places, we will work alongside residents and golfers for us ensure that we reflect what they would like to see.”

An important objective of creating one or more public-private partnerships is to ensure that major necessary improvements can be made, including the renovation of the pavilion and the irrigation system at Ken McDonald. Other goals include expanding recreational opportunities to larger, more diverse audiences and ensuring that golf in Tempe is sustainable in the future.

For more information on golf courses in Tempe, visit

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Michael C. Ford