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Golf courses operated by Delaware State Parks get new management

Deerfield Golf Club, located in Newark, DE.
Anthony Santoro
Deerfield Golf Club, located in Newark, DE.

Deerfield and Garrisons Lake golf clubs will now be managed by Troon St. James, LLC.

The company was awarded the operating contract through a bid process handled by the Delaware Department of Recreation and Environmental Control.

DNREC’s current contract with Forewinds Hospitality expires at the end of this year.

Delaware State Parks director Ray Bivens says both Deerfield and Garrisons Lake are popular for a variety of reasons.

“Deerfield is well known for golf, of course, but also events and brunches and weddings and all sorts of different things. Garrison is not quite as extensive when it comes to the events, it's more about the golf there, but there are planned improvements over the next year or two that'll bring a clubhouse and improved food and dining spaces to Garrison, as well.”

The clubhouse being built at Garrisons Lake will be 4,300-square-feet, and will feature a pro shop, restrooms, pub and grill, and indoor/outdoor dining.

Troon’s contract includes the management of operations for all of these features in both clubs through 2038, with an option to extend for an additional 10 years.

Forewinds Hospitality managed Deerfield and Garrisons Lake for nearly 20 years, and helped to improve golf operations and event services for the state during that time.

During the bid process, Bivens says Troon showed itself to be the best option for long-term growth and sustainability at the two clubs.

“One of the things we look forward to in hearing their plans is with them operating other courses in the state - including in New Castle and Sussex County where they operate Bayside Golf Club in Selbyville and Bear Trap Dunes in Ocean View, Porky Oliver up in New Castle County - is what the reciprocal agreement will look like for people that are a member of Deerfield or Garrison to get to play those other courses,” said Bivens, adding the more access to different courses Delawareans have, the better.

Troon operates a total of 825 18-hole equivalent golf courses around the globe, including nine in the First State.

Because of that, they have access to a large network of experts, including specialists like agronomists, and can buy materials in bulk at better rates.

During the transition, Troon has promised to retain as many employees at the two courses as possible.

Weddings and other events already booked with Forewinds for 2024 or beyond will be honored by Troon under the new contract.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021