COOKEVILLE – Is Tennessee Tech University getting into the golf course business?
It seems likely following an announcement Wednesday evening that the Cookeville Golf Club property has been donated to the school. Owner Lanny Dunn made the announcement at a called meeting with club members and other interested patrons, stating that no restrictions were being placed on the future use of the property.
Few details were shared at the meeting regarding planned operations of the 18-hole public golf course and related facilities, but Tennessee Tech officials stated current golf memberships would be honored through 2016. Dewayne Wright, senior director of public relations at Tech, added there is “an expectation that the Cookeville Golf Club will continue to operate as a golf course and club open to the public,” as it exists now.
Cookeville Golf Club will become the home course for the Tennessee Tech men’s and women’s golf programs; the teams currently have an agreement to practice at nearby Ironwood Golf Course. The gift also provides opportunities for Tech students to use their classroom knowledge in a real-world setting. For example, students from Tech’s Food, Nutrition & Dietetics program, housed in the School of Human Ecology, will be able to gain hands-on experience in large-scale catering and event management. And students from Tech’s School of Agriculture, which includes programs such as Nursery & Landscape Management and Turfgrass Management, will be able to gain hands-on experience in a facility such as this.
“This gift expands ways for Tech students to have hands-on experiences that make their degrees distinctive,” said Tech President Phil Oldham. “It provides ways for several academic programs to further customize the experiences our students have at TTU.”
The golf club property is approximately 126 acres in size located just off Cookeville’s busy 10th Street on the east side of town. It is currently valued at over $2 million on the current tax rolls.
In a release issued Friday morning, Tech said it will arrange an appraisal of the property to establish a value for the gift. The donation will not become official until that value is determined and the university and Dunn sign a gift agreement. Following that, the university will review and establish the operational structure for the golf course.
According to Mark Wilson, director of athletics, Tech will develop a business plan and operational strategy for the golf club. The property and buildings will be gifted to the TTU Foundation, which will then transfer it to the university.
Kevin Braswell, vice president for university advancement, said that once Tech’s plans are set, the university would look at private support for any possible future improvements to the club.
Follow the Upper Cumberland Business Journal online for more details on this breaking development. Editor Liz Engel contributed to this report.