Welcome and Thank You
by Niranjan Vescio, Chairman of the Board
Welcome to the inaugural Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf (FOPRG) newsletter.
Your passionate advocacy over the past year was rewarded with a surprising 6-1 Oro Valley Town Council vote on February 17, 2021 to restore the course and demonstrate its viability over three years.
Thank you all for writing and voicing your concerns. I am convinced that our combined voices were the key to the vote. I welcome you to the next phase of our mission to help transform and preserve this beautiful course into an economically and environmentally sustainable town amenity.
Over the last two months the Friends have:
Established a Board of Directors and formally registered our non-profit unincorporated association,
Developed an informative website and established communications channels,
Amassed 200+ friends, including subject-matter-experts in golf administration, agronomy and xeriscaping,
Formally introduced FOPRG to the Mayor, Town and Indigo (golf operator),
Established regular communications with Town management,
Raised start-up funds, and most important…
Are now a recognized partner in this essential mission
They say the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service of a passionate cause. If this cause inspires you, and you want to help, please visit our “Ways to Help” webpage and join other inspired volunteers in our effort towards sustainable preservation of the beautiful Pusch Ridge golf course.
From Persuasion to Collaboration
by Tony D’Angelo, President
Since late September 2020 through March 3, 2021, together we worked to convince the Town that reopening the Pusch Ridge Golf Course is the best use of a unique Town asset. When faced with the facts presented, the town agreed – at least for now.
Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf has been formed to take on a different role with the Town of Oro Valley – that of collaboration so that the ongoing operation of the golf course, starting in November, is a complete success. We will take our lead from the Town – if their priority is to assure sufficient play on the course to minimize operating loss, then we will focus on marketing, league formation and events.
If the Town chooses to focus on reducing the use of potable water by reducing turf, then will work with them on ways to beatify these areas through an “adopt and fund” campaign.
The key for us is to remain engaged and focused in our willingness to help the course succeed. It is our belief that success, this time around requires the Town to take the course more seriously by:
Restore the course to a quality golf facility – well maintained fairways, tees and greens.
Open the course when 9-hole play is most appealing – 7 days a week, holidays, early and late tee times.
Provide a quality experience – an open and staffed pro shop, sufficient carts, refreshments available, onsite reservations assistance.
Facilitated fun – recognition that most players on Pusch Ridge are here to have fun and enjoy the views – not to improve their handicaps.
Finally, it is important to separate Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf from the three HOAs that will subsidize the operations. The HOAs have a financial stake in the course’s success and will continue work with the town to assure the course receives its fair share of tax dollars to improve the facilities and protect home values. At this time, Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf will not represent these interests.
Thanks, again for joining our group. Let’s all celebrate our success and look forward to November 1!
Inaugural Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf Tournament
by Anna Bifano, Vice President
The inaugural Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf tournament was held on April 6, 2021 and it was a huge success! The day was beautiful and we maxed out the field with 44 enthusiastic golfers. Most golfers were supporters of Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf, including one three-generation foursome.
The tournament was held at the El Conquistador course. We are hoping for a kick-off tournament at the Pusch Ridge Golf Course in fall 2021 after it re-opens.
Thank you to Carolyn and Steve Weinig for organizing the event, ordering the prizes, working with the golf pro at El Conquistador Golf and energizing the crowd throughout the afternoon.
The logo on the collector edition golf hats (designed by Anji Verlaque) was the coveted prize for the longest drives and closest to the pin.
Longest drive winners were: Ben Talsma and Katie Dowdall
Closest to the pin winners were: Jeannee Yermakoff and Stan New
Low score 1st place winners included: Jeannee Yermakoff and Dan Talsma, along with their son Ben and grandson Miles. They wowed the crowd with a low score of 31! They won a free round of golf at the El Conquistador courses. They are donating their prize to Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf and working with the pro shop to convert their prize into a monetary reward or donate the four rounds to the Friends for a future raffle.
Low score 2nd place accolades went to the foursome of Dave Arffa, Don Parce, Art Scarla and Richard Hage. They had a score of 32! Too bad you guys missed those two elusive putts! Whereas the foursome did not receive any prizes, we hope to secure more sponsorships and prizes by our next event. (If you are interested in finding out how you or your company can be a sponsor or donate a prize, contact us! [link to contact page]
Special recognition went to Ben Talsma who lost six balls during the tourney. He was awarded a vintage bucket of balls – collected by the Bifano family on the Pusch Ridge course over the last 25 years. Covet those oldy and moldy keepsakes, Ben! They are a once in a lifetime prize.
The biggest winner of the day was the Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf. Carolyn collected $305 in excess donations after paying for prizes and will be giving the funds to the Friends. A HUGE thank you to our generous participants.
A big thank you goes to Tony and Lisa D’Angelo for purchasing the Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf banner along with two hole sponsor signs. The banner is featured in our group photo above. The banner and hole signs will be used in future Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf events.
The Explorer Newspaper covered the golf tournament which can be read here. We are going to be famous in Oro Valley!!
Stay tuned for a kick-off tourney this fall at the Pusch Ridge Golf course.
by Dan Talsma
A short note on an important topic: how the Board works, and how you can engage with us.
The Board (typically) meets weekly on Friday afternoon via Zoom. We prepare an agenda for the meeting and distribute it one or two days before the meeting. We also generate minutes of the meeting and store those on a shared drive.
Other scheduled meetings of the Board include a monthly meeting with Town staff to review progress on course improvements and re-opening.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know!
by Stan New
The Friends of Pusch Ridge Golf is organized as an unincorporated nonprofit association. This type of entity as compared to a corporation or LLC was easier to set up and has lower overhead to operate both in terms of cost and fewer regulatory requirements. As long as our revenue remains under $5,000/year we are not required to file any paperwork to enjoy 501(c)(3) status. If we go above that amount, we have to file IRS form 1023-EZ to apply.
We are currently in the process of setting up a bank account and working on a budget for the remainder of the calendar year. One big item the board and Town have to discuss is the possibility of a kickoff tournament in the fall. Funding and organizational details of this event will substantially affect the proposed budget. We are working with the town to direct more traffic through Pusch Ridge with the creation of leagues and marketing efforts.