Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Council tees up for DeBell review

City Council members this week decided to hire the National Golf Foundation to help resuscitate the struggling DeBell Golf Club, saying the nonprofit consultant was best suited for the job.

The roughly $24,500 contract with the foundation’s Florida-based consulting division won out over a $19,700 pitch from Pro Forma Advisors, based in Hermosa Beach. Some on the council said bringing in a completely outside firm would avoid any chances for conflict that could arise if Pro Forma were also advising municipal courses in neighboring cities.

Pro Forma prepared an analysis of green fees for the 10 golf courses operated by the City of Los Angeles, including both Wilson and Harding at Griffith Park, in October 2010, according to the company’s proposal to Burbank. The company has not said whether it is still working with Los Angeles.

Chris Daste, head of the city’s Park and Recreation Department, said the only Southern California courses NGF is working with are in Palm Springs, San Diego and Victorville.


“They both have pretty darn good references,” Councilman Dave Golonski said.

The decision came two months after a committee was formed to look at ways to turn around the golf course, which is owned by the city.

DeBell Golf Club has been losing money for the last few years and required a $2 million bailout package from the city to cover an operating deficit of approximately $718,000. Half of the loan was set aside in case the course needed it for the next fiscal year.

Daste, whose department oversees the course, said the oversight committee focused on “the best overall value, not just price,” when reviewing the proposals and recommending the National Golf Foundation to the City Council.


The foundation had sent an unsolicited proposal to the city when it became aware of the problems at DeBell, but the city eventually chose to open the process up to other firms before making a decision.

Pro Forma Advisors was preferred by councilmen Gary Bric and David Gordon, who voted for the company.

When that vote failed, the council voted unanimously to approve the contract with the National Golf Foundation.

Gordon said the foundation’s proposal includes higher travel expenses and pointed out the city would be billed at an hourly rate of $150 if more work was needed in addition to that specified in the proposal’s scope of work. He also said plans to conduct an online survey “missed the boat,” noting that seniors comprise a large number of the golfers at DeBell and likely would not participate.

The National Golf Foundation indicated the review of DeBell could take about eight weeks to complete. A start date for the foundation’s review of DeBell has not been established.