Burbank mayor, councilman up for being DeBell golf ball targets

City Hall critics take note: The opportunity may soon arise to pepper Mayor Jess Talamantes and Councilman Dave Golonksi with golf balls.

But it will cost you.

Although the details are still being worked out, the committee charged with helping to turn around the struggling DeBell Golf Club discussed the possibility of using the two city officials as driving-range targets to help raise money for an advertising budget for the municipal course.

“Ring the Mayor’s Bell” — as the fundraiser is being called in a play on the name of the course — could take place in late October or around Thanksgiving, Mayor Jess Talamantes said. Funds raised could help cover the cost of an advertising campaign at Bob Hope Airport.

“I’m looking forward to it, as long as it brings in some kind of revenue to the city,” Talamantes said.

Talamantes and Golonksi, who hatched the idea, would drive a ball pick-up machine on the driving range so that paying customers could launch golf balls at the pair.

“We had talked about the possibility of marketing and money is tight,” Golonksi said. “I wanted to have some fun and also generate support for the course and support for the cost of additional marketing.”

The pick-up machine, which Talamantes described as a little tractor, is used to retrieve golf balls from around the course. It has a cage around it to protect the driver.

“If Scott puts it together, I’ll volunteer my time,” Talamantes said, referring to Scott Scozzola, DeBell’s director of golf.

A one-year advertising contract at two airport locations would cost about $18,000, Scozzola said.

The committee also reviewed six proposals submitted by consultants who would craft a plan for turning around the troubled course, which required a $2-million bailout package from the city earlier this year because it was operating in the red.

DeBell’s problems mirror a national trend with golf courses, which have struggled to weather the economic downturn as customers cut back on recreational spending.

Committee members said they felt that the proposals from the National Golf Foundation, which was initially considered for the job, and Pro Forma Advisors were the best. They recommended the City Council approve a contract with the National Golf Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Florida.

Pro Forma is based in Los Angeles.

The National Golf Foundation proposal could cost the city about $24,500, including travel; Pro Forma’s plan came in at about $19,700.

Scozzola presented several other marketing campaigns, including the possibility of selling gift cards at Costco.

Wednesday Happy Hour will continue at the Clubhouse Grill, the club’s restaurant, he said. Monday Night Football Happy Hour will be extended through half time, and deals on dinner and breakfast also were discussed.

The City Council is scheduled to discuss selecting a consultant for the course at its meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

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