City seeks a change of direction at Haymaker

Council to review 700's capital facilities plan


If you go

What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Call: City offices at 879-2060 for more information; call 871-7070 to listen live to meetings of the Steamboat Springs City Council


5 p.m. Council convenes as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority to discuss public improvement projects at the base of Steamboat Ski Area

5:15 p.m. Golf pro update; Steamboat 700 capital facilities plan

By the numbers

Steamboat 700 mill levy comparison

Stagecoach Meadowgreen 154.383

Steamboat 700* 80 to 95

Alpine Mountain Ranch 80.861

Stagecoach general 76.383

Oak Creek Sierra View 75.027

Steamboat II 71.561

Hayden 66.37

Steamboat 44.681

* Estimated

Source: City of Steamboat Springs

— City officials have decided not to renew their contract with Haymaker Golf Course pro Hank Franks and will ask the Steamboat Springs City Council today for permission to negotiate a new deal with two local men.

Franks and his wife, Wendy, have run the golf course since it opened in 1997 with a dirt parking lot and modular clubhouse. After a competitive bid process that began this spring, the golf committee is recommending that the city negotiate a new deal with Luke Brosterhous, Haymaker's junior program director, and Tom Taylor, Steamboat Springs High School's assistant golf coach. The contract would take effect Jan. 1.

The decision to advertise the position after more than a decade with Franks was based on City Council direction during the budgeting process last year to re-evaluate all existing contracts as they expire. The city received six proposals for the position.

"It's a very, very competitive situation. The committee just felt the consensus was to go in a different direction," Golf Committee Chairman John Vanderbloemen said. "We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Hank and Wendy Franks. They've been with Haymaker since the beginning."

Franks said he responded to the bid in hopes of holding on to the contract, but he was told two weeks ago that his proposal wasn't chosen.

"It's been great for Wendy and I," Franks said. "It's something we wanted to do and were comfortable doing. We wanted to continue on, both of us."

Franks said he's not sure what he and his wife will do next or whether they will stay in Steamboat.

"We're going to stay focused on getting through the next couple months and doing everything we can to end it on a good note," he said.

The golf professional is hired as an independent contractor for the city and is responsible for hiring and paying his or her own staff and serving as the chief operating officer for the course, pro shop and practice facilities. The city paid Franks $81,000 to $86,000 a year from 2006 to 2008, which is in addition to revenues from other sources such as golf lessons and equipment sales. Golf course maintenance workers are employees of the city.

Vanderbloemen said all six proposals were very similar from a financial standpoint and that the new contract wouldn't result in substantial cost savings for the city.

"Decisions like this, you're normally looking for the best overall package," he said.

Also today, City Council will review the fiscal impacts, as they relate to capital facilities, of the proposed Steamboat 700 project seeking annexation. Council will be asked to approve a capital facilities phasing plan that calls for various improvements at different stages of the development and identifies Steamboat 700's share of costs. Steamboat 700 is a master-planned community that proposes about 2,000 residences and 380,000 square feet of commercial space on 487 acres just west of current city limits.

Public improvements called out in the plan include major upgrades to and a widening of U.S. Highway 40 from 13th Street to the project, other road improvements, construction of a new community center, transit stops, new buses, parks, trails and a new public safety building.

Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said she has some concerns with the plan in its current form, including the fact that Steamboat 700 is being asked to pay for only 21 percent of the new public safety building. She also worries that no improvements to U.S. 40 are required until Steamboat 700 reaches 390 dwelling units.

"The highway would remain exactly how it is with all that extra traffic," Hermacinski said.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 367-7507 or e-mail


housepoor 7 years, 7 months ago

So what is the new direction at haymaker they are seeking? Seems wierd? If the 2 local men are the lowest bidders, great, let's see the bids?


Tubes 7 years, 7 months ago

it is time for this golf commitee to go away. their purpose has been served and there is no longer a need for them. the course is built, the new clubhouse is built, now go away. other than, of course, to tell wheelihan how to do his job. pardon me, but what do these clowns know about turf management. some of the ideas/suggestions i've heard of them making are absolutely ridiculous and only further speaks to their incompetence.

they are simply milking a position that affords them free golf and a free lunch once a month. are any other city committees/boards compensated?

and if it's not time to rid ourselves of this committee, then how about term limits. some of these dudes have been on this thing since 1993. yes, 1993.

i think it's time we "go in a different direction" with this golf committee.

thanks and great job hank and wendy! best of luck to you!


Tubes 7 years, 7 months ago

to ltfo's above post, please tell their families don't receive free golf for their service to this commitee................


Mike Heineke 7 years, 7 months ago

So, what is the new direction us poor city folk must follow? Seems to me, and the majority of the golfers here, that Hank and Wendy did a tremendous job for the city, not to mention thye are good people who care deeply about the community. And why do we have a so called "commitee" anyways to make decisions for us locals. Guess we'll be in the DARK for awhile unless the commitee pony's up with the REAL reasons. Another sad day for us poor locals who thououghly enjoed the experiences with Hank and Wendy.....


Alpru 7 years, 7 months ago

What did Brosterhous and Taylor bring to the table that is going to fix what isn't broken? Could you please publish the names and emails of those who "serve" on the Golf Committee? Vanderbloemen said all six proposals were very similar from a financial standpoint and that the new contract wouldn't result in substantial cost savings for the city. So why the change? What is the real agenda of the Golf Committee? Hank and Wendy run a quality show and every pass holder and avid Haymaker golfer I know is furious with this decision. We have a first rate course with a second rate restaurant and you want to keep what's broken and fix what's not. Ridiculous. Something stinks.


housepoor 7 years, 7 months ago

let's see who is on the committee and for how long they have been on the board. If you want change lets start with the board!!


Mike Heineke 7 years, 7 months ago

Hello City Officials! Hope you all are reading the comments and will share your insight with the community. It's truely amazing that such a small and needless group of individuals can make such a big impact on so many people. Are you all gaining an extra free outing on our course? Something is radically wrong with a change like this. What are the negatives of the way the course has been run? I see many positives in the operations. The only negative I can think of is the "commitee" and their lack of regard for those who pay their bills. Let's keep Hank and Wendy and get rid of you six. We'll see some financial gain for sure and maybe the real "locals" can brainstorm together and fix that darn eatery..


Duke_bets 7 years, 7 months ago

Hank and Wendy have done a spectacular job with the Haymaker. I'm not sure what the replacements may accomplish or what the agenda of the committee may be. The real storyline may never come out.

A pro course with professional management. Not sure what needed fixing?


Bill Wallace 7 years, 7 months ago

If the Golf Committee Chairman John Vanderbloemen came forward right now and said to the City and the Steamboat golfing community, that his brain as well as the brains of the other Golf Committee members were captured by alien beings a few months ago and were just returned today, and then offered an apology for what may have happened in the interim, that would have more credibility than their decision not to renew the contract of Hank and Wendy Franks for the operation of Haymaker. To drop the Franks from contention after doing a terrific job year after year based not on cost, but some nebulous justification of "needing to go in a different direction" has got to be the worst local governmental decision since our former District Attorney decided to jail two rainbow people for dumpster diving. On the subject of dumpsters, it strikes me that such an edifice might be a good location to house the Golf Committee.

But I digress... Let's move to the issue of governmental transparency. It would have been nice for those of us who live here and hold a Haymaker season pass (or anyone for that matter) to be asked about the possible "new directions" for Haymaker under consideration. What are these new directions? Certainly would be nice to know. Are we going to sell Amway products in the pro shop? Special costumes for the ladies driving the refreshment carts? Maybe we're going to be hitting wiffle balls on the driving range so we can go get our own shots and eliminate the ball retrieval machinery. I certainly have some new directions ideas for the Golf Committee. But again, I'm thinking dumpster.


JustSomeJoe 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm a regular at Haymaker and have always thought highly of the Franks. I'm not sure why we would toss out the Franks, who are doing a great job by all respects that I see when the new proposals don't make a difference financially to the city. They have certainly been a huge part of making the course what it is today.

The motivation for this change is something the City Council needs to understand a lot better. Is it a case of the Franks not shining up to some of the committee members as much as they should have, or that Luke and Tom have a better connection in the committee? If this course wasn't owned by the city then there obviously wouldn't be an issue. But since we are talking about taxpayer money at issue there needs to be a lot more transparency.


isola17 7 years, 7 months ago

Didn't the last City Manager recommend the golf committee be disbanded? Maybe that was an idea well ahead of its time.


Scott Wedel 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm not sure why anyone would want this contract if they could be kicked out like this.


Scott Ford 7 years, 7 months ago

Scott W - Agreed - you would be crazy to put your fate in the hands of this citizen committee. They seem a bit fickle. I think we are missing one of the puzzle pieces in this picture and there is a lot of guessing as to what is going on. I was at city council last night and I can appreciate the council members desire to honor the decision of the citizens committee that followed a diligent evaluation process. However, when John Vanderbloemen said they were still working out a lot of the details with Luke Brosterhous and Tom Taylor that should have raised a few warning flags.

When pressed for details as to the reason for the change the members of the Golf Committee that spoke only provided vagaries and generalities. It sounded like a 6th grade book report. I did not hear anything close to a compelling or logical reason to change.

It left me and I believe some members of the CC with the impression that something below the surface was going on within the golf community regarding the management of Haymaker. This should have been more than enough reason to pause and press for more information why the decision to change management was made. However, I think CC is currently so distracted with Steamboat 700 collectively they do not want to add one more thing to their plate. Can you blame them? Therefore, they simply accepted the recommendation with only Steve being the dissenting vote.


Thomas Hopp 7 years, 7 months ago

Scott - I think you are correct. In the six years I sat on the committee there was never a performance question about Hank Franks. In fact he was well thought of. I belief Hank was and is doing a great job for the City. Now, we also learn that there is no monetary reason for the non-renewal of his contract. The main work of the committee is now complete; with the completion of the clubhouse. With little to do, they are denegrating into personal agendas. The City is not being served well by this type of management. It would be wise of the City Council to take a look at restructuring the golf committee, and I have communicated this to them by email. I feel that the community would be supportive of this type of "different direction." We need better representation.----Tom Hopp


housepoor 7 years, 7 months ago

I've been a pass holder for years and the course has always been well run. With no monetary benefit I would expect some justification for the change. Sounds like cronyism to me!!!!


Scott Wedel 7 years, 7 months ago

It is one thing to review contracts when they expire, but to give no credit for years of successful management as part of the review process is madness.

I observe that the golf committee could have just been doing what the City Council wanted. Why would the City Council want the contract reviewed if it didn't want to give it to someone else? The City Council set the criteria and when you set the rules it is typical to get the outcome you want.


Pat Anthony 7 years, 7 months ago

"If it ain't broken don't fix it"! Wendy & Hank have done an outstanding job and they have done it with patience and a good attitude. It is not an easy job. This is how we repay them??? I am very disappointed with this decision and hope the City Council will over turn the "Golf Committee" (who are these bozos?) recommendation. This is not the time to change. I bet the next guys won't be here 12 years!


Alpru 7 years, 7 months ago

Haymaker pass holders, punch card holders and all the casual golfers who support our public facility need to hold the Golf Committee accountable. I respectfully request the Committee answer our questions. I propose they come forward and announce an open meeting so the golfing community can finally understand the direction they are proposing to take. This is OUR course, not theirs!


JustSomeJoe 7 years, 7 months ago

Unfortunately, the horse is out of the barn folks. I think Scott Ford summarized it nicely. Steamboat 700 has a lot more juice than this issue, and the Council simply pushed the golf committee's decision along rather than add to their plate. It's a shame.


Alpru 7 years, 6 months ago

HELLO GOLF COMMITTEE! Staxx (Yes to Staxx, No to Hank & Wendy? Remember?) is holding a "Thank You" party for the Franks this Thursday, October 29th. They are charging attendees $10 per person. Why don't you do something right for a change and sponsor the damn party!? It's a disgrace.


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