New company reaches out to golfers

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CLOVIS – The new operators at Colonial Park Golf Course in Clovis presented an impressive list of referrals at a meeting on Tuesday with a management company, the National Golf Foundation, ranked among the top 100 golf companies.

But they are not above admitting they would like to take mulligans.

Touchstone Golf's president, Mark Luthman, recalled another course taken by the company and revived a clubhouse restaurant. The staff printed 750 door flyers with coupons for appetizers and drinks announcing the grand reopening of the restaurant and decided to distribute them the same day.

"The problem was that it worked," said Luthman. "Everyone came and it was a real mess."

Luthman and Executive Director Brian Melody answered a variety of questions but had theirs for the five dozen people who came forward. Each person received a piece of paper and was asked two questions: What is your main complaint about the course and what is the main thing you would do if you had the course.

These issues would be part of the Touchstone acclimation process, which will start running the course on May 1st. The city will cover operating expenses and pay Touchstone $ 6,500 a month.

Colonial will be the 43rd course under the umbrella of Touchstone and his first in New Mexico. The closest touchstone course to Clovis is Painted Dunes in El Paso. Touchstone was responsible for managing it when it became the property of Bank of America. He was asked to continue after the purchase of El Paso Water in 2006.

Previously, Touchstone started as a consulting firm and helped the PGA Tour with sales and marketing.

"We assume our responsibility as steward of those golf courses that we operate seriously," said Luthman. "We like to think that the decisions we make … would be consistent with what we would do if we had the facilities."

Luthman explained that Touchstone's business model is about turning customers and community members into class advocates. He also told participants that he needed to know the course and the community before making any changes to the current price level for gaming fees and subscriptions.

Touchstone officials hope to use these facilities for more than just golf, with Luthman mentioning that other grounds usually host Easter egg hunts, Mother's Day brunches and fireworks on July 4th.

"We are seeing the same opportunities at Colonial Park," said Luthman, "and we want to make sure we are setting the course to be exactly that."

City Manager Justin Howalt said any spending on the route beyond the daily operations would go through the city commission for approval.