Welch Wins Bacon Park Management Bid - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Welch Wins Bacon Park Management Bid

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SAVANNAH, GA -

Update:  The Old Bacon Park Golf Course has a new manager.  And he's a familiar face that you just might recognize. 

The Savannah City Council announced that business man and anti-crime advocate O.C. Welch is the winner of the 12 year management contract by unanimous decision in their meeting Monday.  Welch beat one other candidate. 

You've probably seen the public course driving along Truman Parkway.  Maybe you've even played there.  It's located on Shorty Cooper Road.  The course is owned by the city, but managed by an outside company.

Now Welch has a lot of work on his hands.  The course has really gone downhill over the years.  Welch plans to completely renovate the course and return it to its former glory.

"It's going to be a complete renovation and it's going to be very expensive. But I'm sure I'll have a good return on it. It will be great for the community," Welch said. 

Welch led an aggressive advertising campaign, including television commercials.  Mayor Edna Jackson poked fun at him for it. 

"You can take all of the commercials off the TV now. Stop all the emails and all that kind of stuff.  Phone calls and everything," Mayor Jackson said.

Welch will be paying for the renovations out of pocket.  Of course he gets to keep the profits.  And he calls the work a labor of love.  He's been going to this golf course since he was 5 years old.

"I grew up out there. That's where I spent the early part of my life. The first 20 years of my life was spent out there," Welch said.

Welch plans to return the course to its original design.  That means 18 holes.  Right now there are 27, but the extras will be removed. 

It looks like golf is becoming a big part of the O.C. Welch franchise.  He recently bought the Black Creek Golf Club in Ellabell.  Of course, owning the club in Ellabell is very different than managing the club in Bacon Park.  The Bacon Park Golf Club is owned by the city and always will be. 

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UPDATE:   It's official. In a Savannah City Council meeting today, the contract to manage the Old Bacon Park Golf Course was awarded to local business owner O.C. Welch.

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The bidding war for a piece of Savannah history is now down to two.  Tuesday was the final day to submit bids to manage the Old Bacon Park Golf Course. 

It's a public golf course owned by the city.  And it's going to stay that way.  But the city is looking to hire a new manager. 

Businessman and anti-crime advocate O.C. Welch went to city hall to make his bid Tuesday morning.  The other bid was made by Michael Collins who is affiliated with the current management team. 

City leaders say the current manager is simply at the end of their contract and not choosing to renew.  But Welch told us last month about how he feels the course has really gone downhill over the years.  And he would know since he's been going there since he was five years old. 

"It's really, really heart breaking to see the neglect.  There's just debris everywhere," Welch said.  "The only thing that could stop us from doing the work would be a hurricane evacuation, tornado, lightning strike or earth quake." 

Our attempts to reach Michael Collins about his plans have been unsuccessful. 

The window for accepting bids is now closed.  Next, the city will review each of their proposals and the council will choose a winner in the next three to four weeks. 

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