Madrona Links FAQ

NGF Consulting will be presenting its preliminary results from the Madrona Links Golf Course assessment at a special Park Board study session at PenMet Parks’ main administrative building on June 13, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. All interested members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Q: Who owns the golf course?

A: The City of Tacoma originally owned Madrona Links and in 1977 leased it to Ken Tyson, who designed, developed and operated the course. This third party operator has a 50 year lease that expires in 2028. In 2008, the City of Tacoma sold Madrona Links and assigned the lease to PenMet Parks. Today, PenMet Parks owns the golf course and the third party operator is responsible for day-to-day golf course operations, maintenance, and capital improvements.

Q: Who is responsible for managing and maintaining the golf course?

A: Pursuant to the terms of the 1977 Lease, the third party operator is responsible for managing and maintaining the golf course, the pro shop and the restaurant.  This includes all golf course maintenance, repair, and capital improvements.

Q: How are the greens fees established?

A: The third party operator is responsible for setting the greens fees.

Q: What is PenMet Parks doing to steward the golf course for the benefit of our community?

A: PenMet Parks recently conducted a survey and the majority of respondents indicated that the golf course is meeting the recreational needs of our community. To assist with long-range planning, PenMet Parks has engaged the National Golf Foundation to provide a comprehensive review and understanding of the course, its physical condition, needed improvements, operating profile, market environment and economic potential.  This assessment is expected to be completed in the mid-2024 after which we will share the results with our community and the third party operator.

In addition, and to help plan for the future, the Board of Park Commissioners has appropriated capital funds for future investment in Madrona Links. These capital funds do not “expire” and are set aside now. The specific improvements have not been determined, but will be as part of an overall and comprehensive plan.

Q: How can I get more information or share feedback about Madrona Links?

A: Please email us for more information or to share any feedback regarding the Madrona Links Golf Course. PenMet Parks will document any feedback it receives and share that with the third party operator so that any concerns may be addressed.

Q. I heard a rumor that PenMet Parks plans to convert the Madrona Links Golf Course into a water park or even a housing development. Is this true?

No – PenMet Parks plan is to continue to operate Madrona Links as a golf course. PenMet Parks recognizes the importance of the Madrona Links Golf Course to our community. In response to community concerns expressed last year, PenMet Parks retained NGF Consulting to review and assess the current golf course operation and condition and to identify areas that may not be in compliance with the operating lease between PenMet Parks and the tenant. PenMet Parks also retained NGF to provide recommendations regarding basic golf course oversight, structure and staffing so that this amenity will be available to the public in the future and in the condition expected by the public, even after the current lease expires. 

Q. There is a 14-acre parcel that is a part of the golf course that, until 2023, was owned by the tenant under the operating lease. This property was sold to a third party in 2023. How does the sale of the 14-acre parcel affect the golf course?

The tenant’s sale of the 14-acre parcel does not affect the ongoing operation of the Madrona Links Golf Course. In the 1970’s when the tenant agreed to construct the golf course pursuant to the operating lease, the tenant acquired the 14-acre parcel to accommodate an 18-hole course. Last summer, the tenant requested PenMet Parks consent to the tenant assigning its lease rights to a third party which would include the sale of the 14-acre parcel to that third party. PenMet Parks was unwilling to consent to an assignment of the lease, but did express interest in purchasing the property. At that time, PenMet Parks began budgeting funds to purchase the property. Without consulting or attempting to negotiate with PenMet Parks, the tenant elected to sell the property to the third party. The tenant then demanded PenMet Parks consent to the lease assignment, which was again rejected. The tenant is obligated under the operating lease to make the entire golf course, including the 14-acre parcel, available to the public for its use. PenMet Parks will fully enforce this obligation should the tenant fail to honor its obligations.