Photo courtesy of city of Tempe

A management and operations transition, along with planned capital improvements, will soon be coming to Ken McDonald Golf Course thanks to a new public-private partnership with CourseCo.

Starting July 1, CourseCo will be responsible for the operations and maintenance of the golf course, pro shop, and clubhouse. On May 18, Tempe City Council voted to approve the lease agreement for the city-owned course.

The firm will share revenues with the city including a $50,000 annual rent payment and a portion of golf, food, and beverage revenues. The anticipated payments to the city over the initial 20-year lease term are $10.3 million.

“Ken McDonald is a beloved course for many in the Tempe community, and we look forward to continuing that legacy with this new partnership,” says Tempe Community Services Director Craig Hayton. “CourseCo has extensive experience in managing public golf courses and we’re excited to see what they bring to the course for both golfers and non-golfers of all ages.”

Ken McDonald is located at 800 E. Divot Dr., off Rural Road between Guadalupe and Elliott roads.
The agreement outlines two future improvements to the property. The city will fund a new irrigation system up to a maximum amount with CourseCo responsible for excess costs. CourseCo and the city will each contribute 50% toward clubhouse renovations, up to a maximum amount for the city’s contribution. CourseCo will also be responsible for other future capital improvement projects and contribute a percentage of annual golf revenues into a dedicated capital improvement account.

The city will not be responsible for operations, maintenance, or additional improvements except for improvements outlined above during the lease term. CourseCo does not currently propose any changes to the course footprint.

CourseCo will continue to honor Golf Tempe Loyal-Tee Cards through the end of 2023 and will maintain current rates through June 2024. Starting in July 2024, Tempe resident and association rates will be capped at a $2 per year increase.

Founded in 1989, CourseCo currently manages the operations of more than 40 golf courses throughout the Southwest, the majority of which are municipal courses. Ken McDonald would be its first course in Arizona.

“We are extremely excited to partner with the city of Tempe for the lease and operation of the historic Ken McDonald Golf Course,” says CourseCo President and CEO Michael Sharp. “We look forward to investing in infrastructure and expanding programming all while focusing on providing the best possible golf course conditions and hospitality to Tempe residents and visitors alike. The future is bright for Ken McDonald with many new and exciting things to come and we feel privileged to be a part of Ken McDonald and the city of Tempe.”

The customer facing operations at Tempe’s two golf courses have been privately managed through vetted vendors for many years. The new partnership represents the first-time maintenance and capital improvements would also be privately managed. The course will remain under city ownership.

For more information, visit