Willow Park Golf Club
17007 Redwood Road, Castro Valley, 94546
Mailing Address: PO Box 2600, Castro Valley, 94546
Pro Shop Tee Time Reservations- 510-537-8989
Willow Park Golf Course Lease Info Updates

Lease last Updates: March 10

To see that Willow Park Golf Course remain open through the transition to the new lessee and help make the transition as smooth as possible.

East Bay Park's Bid/RFP Webpage

Here is the latest info regarding Willow Park Golf Course's status!

March 18: (EBRPD Press Release, Name change tp Redwood Canyon Public Golf Course)
By EBRPD Public Affairs
The East Bay Regional Park District board of directors voted unanimously Tuesday to rename the golf course at Lake Chabot Regional Park in Castro Valley. The former Willow Park Golf Course is now named Redwood Canyon Public Golf Course.

“The community has been looking forward to this. It’s not the end of the process, but it’s a very good start,” said Board member Dennis Waespi, whose district includes the picturesque 130-acre golf course near Lake Chabot. “We’re looking forward to a bright future for the golf course and event center in Castro Valley.”

The name change was the result of a settlement agreement between the Park District and the former operators of Willow Park, whose 50-year lease expired in November, 2014. As part of the settlement, the District agreed to rename the course by April 1, 2015.

District staff and board members considered several names but chose Redwood Canyon because the course lies at the southern end of Redwood Canyon, which was once home to thousands of old-growth redwood trees before they were logged in the 1800s. Large, lush forests of second-growth redwoods now thrive in the northern end of the 10-mile canyon.

The Park District has planted dozens of redwoods in the golf course area and intends to plant more, in an effort to bring the majestic trees back to the Castro Valley hills. One of the Bay Area’s most scenic courses, Redwood Canyon is already home to oaks, willows and a vibrant array of wildlife. San Leandro Creek runs through the middle of the course.

The interim operator of the golf course is Touchstone Golf LLC of Berkeley. In addition to the course, Redwood Canyon includes a pro shop, bar and restaurant, and event center. The Park District hopes to make numerous upgrades at the facility over the next few years, including replacing the roof at the clubhouse, repairing the sewer system, renovating the bathrooms, and repaving the driveway and parking lot, among other projects.

The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 119,000+ acres in 65 parks including over 1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning.

March 10: (Email from WP President)
I had a conversation today with Jim O' Connor, Assistant General Manager at East Bay Regional Parks. He provided me with an update regarding the status of their RFP for Willow Park.

Here are some highlights:
EBRPD's RFP is being delayed for "about" 1 year. Park District staff will be recommending that Touchstone Golf's management contract be extended to March 31, 2016. In that time frame the District staff are looking to secure Capital Improvement Funds from their Board for such items as a new roof for the main build, painting of the building, paving of the parking lots and entrance road, restroom renovations, removal and replacement of at risk trees, repairs to the sewer system and some renovation of parts of the irrigation system.

In addition, Mr. O' Connor said that the District and Touchstone are also working to complete other short-term projects including replacement of safety fencing behind the 16 green, renovation of the kitchen, new flooring, and interior painting to the main building.

He let me know that they are working on getting the restaurant back open, at least on weekends, hopefully sometime in April. Also, he noted that the banquet/event facilities ARE open for business and booking events. Currently Touchstone Golf has booked 14 golf tournaments and 22 other events through the end of the year.

I have to say that in the three plus months that Touchstone Golf has been managing the course we have seen some nice improvements including new cups and flags for the greens, new carts, the redesigned pro shop and, the newest improvement, upgrades to the bar area. I believe given the additional time we can expect many of the above mentioned improvements to the course we all love.

Of course, some long term items that still need to be addressed are the complete replacement to the irrigation system, and potential flooding of parts of the course in winter (although the flooding may have already been corrected, we haven't had the rain to know).

Although it is true that a lessee would add to the stability of the course, I believe this postponement of the RFP will in the long term provide a stronger and more realistic RFP (because many of the capital improvements requested in the last RFP will already have been completed).

That is all I have for now. Hopefully I will see you on the course.
Steve Falzone
President, WillowParkGolfClub.org

February 6 Email to Jim O'Connor: (Published in CV Forum "Letter to the Editor" Feb. 11, 2015)
Good Afternoon All,
First, congratulations and welcome Dennis Waespi to the EPRPD Board.

Here we are at the beginning of February and the golf course has be running pretty smoothly, from our viewpoint, for the two months that Touchstone Golf has been the interim management team. Communications with Touchstone Golf have been great and they have been as helpful as possible, whenever possible. We do hope that they will be able to reopen the Event Center in the very near future.

Of course, what the club (and I believe our community) is very interested in is seeing a long term lessee for the property. The first step towards that goal is the rerelease of EPRPD RFP. Five months have passed since the first RFP's September deadline and we were hoping that a NEW RFP would have been released by now.

If you can please provide us with your current plans for the RFP release schedule.

In addition, what is EPRPD's current thinking and plans regarding a NEW name for the golf and event facilities.

Best Regards,
Steve Falzone
President, Willow Park Golf Club

November 24, 2014 EBRPD Press Release
Press Release
November 24, 2014
Contact: Carol Johnson, Assistant General Manager, cjohnson@ebparks.org, 510-544-2003

Willow Park Public Golf Course Under New Management

Effective Monday, December 1st, 2014, the Willow Park Public Golf Course at Lake Chabot Regional Park will be operated under new interim management while the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) searches for a qualified long-term operator for the course and the facilities. "We know that Willow Park Public Golf Course is a popular community gathering spot and the Park District is committed to continuing this tradition," said Jim O'Connor, Assistant General Manager of Operations for EBRPD.

The Park District hired Touchstone Golf LLC of Berkeley as the interim operator to continue daily play for the public and oversee maintenance of the course and facilities. Concessions such as the bar, clubhouse, and pro shop will continue under Touchstone Golf's management. The restaurant will be closed while the Park District and Touchstone Golf explore food service and catering options.

Willow Park Public Golf Course, located off Redwood Road in Castro Valley, is adjacent to Lake Chabot Regional Park and set amidst a beautiful natural canopy of redwood, oak, and willow trees, for which the course is named. The 150 acres comprising the golf course facility and surrounding areas are leased to the Park District by East Bay Municipal Utility District. The Park District sub-leased the golf facility development and operation to Baldock Pacific Properties, which assigned the lease of all development and concessions to its current operator, Willow Park Public Golf Course Corporation. The golf course sublease had an unprecedented 50 year term, which expires November 30th, 2014.

"We are thrilled to assume management of Willow Park Public Golf Course facility and look forward to working with the East Bay Regional Park District to exceed the needs and expectations of local golfers and the community," said Touchstone Golf President and CEO Steve Harker.

The golf course is closed as of November 17th while the current operator closes out operation and assists in the transfer to Touchstone Golf.

Touchstone Golf specializes in interim management of golf courses and not long term capital development needs as is the case with Willow Park. They currently oversee operations at several California facilities: Lake Chabot Golf Course in Oakland, Mare Island Golf Club in Mare Island, Franklin Canyon Golf Course in Hercules, and Glen Annie Golf Club in Santa Barbara, to name a few.

Willow Park Public Golf Course is renowned as one of the Bay Area's most beautiful golf destinations. Featuring some of the most breathtaking golf scenery in Northern California, the course serves as home to a diverse assortment of wildlife species, including deer, wild turkeys and geese. While challenging for scratch golfers, multiple tees on each hole enable golfers of all ages and abilities to enjoy this picturesque golf gem.

Willow Park Public Golf Course hours and fees will remain the same under the interim operator. For more information and questions about public play or tournaments, please call Touchstone Golf after December 1st at (510) 537-8001.

In addition to managing Willow Park Public Golf Course, the Park District owns Tilden Golf Course in Berkeley, which is managed and operated by American Golf Corporation.

The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 114,000+ acres in 65 parks including over 1,200 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning.

October 27: (Email published CV Forum "Letter to the Editor" / CV Legends)
Has the East Bay Park District (EBRPD) been inept in their handling of Willow Park? We stand 30 days before the lease expires and what do we know?
1) The good news is Willow Park Golf Course will continue to operate until a new lessee is found.
2) The two RFP bids that were submitted were rejected without counter proposals by the Park District. The District plans on issuing another RFP sometime next year.
3) The Park District has entered into a short term contract with Touchstone Golf to manage WP until a lessee is selected. The Parks have allocated $104,000 for the month of December expenses. New funds will be needed for 2015.
4) The current lessee requested a lease extension to make needed capital improvements but was rejected by the Park District. The District now has to pay to have the golf course managed and make improvements that the current lessee would have performed.
5) Only the bar and coffee shop will remain open during the transition. WP’s restaurant and event facilities will be closed. If those facilities sit idle for more than 6 months, there are likely to be significant permitting requirements that would not be the case if they stay open.
6) Communication between EBRPD and the community regarding Willow Park has been nonexistent.
7) To date, the Park District doesn’t have a contract with EBMUD (the master lease holder) for the parcel of land that WP occupies. That begs the question: how did they negotiate a contact without having nailed down their own contract first?

We are thrilled this gem, Willow Park, remains a part of Castro Valley. But between the park’s handing of Willow Park and the Gun Range leases, can the Park District handle negotiating these types of large leases effectively?

October 18 Meeting with Touchstone Golf:
Had a meeting with Touchstone Golf, here are the highlights.
- Touchstone will work with us regarding our tournaments for next year.
- There will be NO increase in fee in the foreseeable future.
- They will be operating the Bar and Spike Room but NOT the restaurant and event facilities (the will be closed).
- They asked us for items that we felt were needed to improve the course conditions (Fence on 16 green, fixing tee boxes, fixing 16&4 fairways around the bridge and staking the course were a few of our suggestions).

October 10 email Response:
From: Mimi Waluch

Good afternoon Steve Falzone,
In response to your e-mail of earlier today, yes, on October 7, 2014 the District’s Board approved the authorization and funding to enter into an agreement with Touchstone Golf. Touchstone Golf will be working directly with Rene Viviani during the transition period and the various clubs will be contacted within the next few weeks to arrange scheduling for the period after December 1, 2014. Be assured, the Willow Park Golf Club contact information, with you as the primary point of contact, will be given to Touchstone Golf. Thanks for checking in.

October 10 email to Jim O'Conner & Mimi Waluch):
From: Steve Falzone

Good Afternoon Jim & Mimi,
I see that at the Oct. 7 Board Meeting there is a request for funds to Touchstone Golf as a interim operator for WP in December. Your website has not posted the minutes from the meeting yet.

A few questions:
Did the Board approve the funding as requested at the meeting?
If so, has a contract been signed with Touchstone Golf?
Can you provide us with the contact information and correct person at Touchstone Golf.

Also, can you provide us with any information regarding the status of the RPF (are you in negations or are you planning to send it out for RE-bid)?

October 6 email:
From: Steve Falzone
Here is the latest info regarding Willow Park Golf Course's status!

Willow Park MAY have an "interim operations," Touchstone Golf (Touchstone currently operates Lake Chabot Golf Course for the City of Oakland).

There is a proposal for funding at the October 7th EBRPD Board Meeting (see below).
The real nuts and bolts of the request for funds are set forth in the Agenda Packet Pages 65 - 70 (actual pages 66-71) (link below).

Still no additional information regarding a long term lessee, except for Ms. Waluch's earlier response below.

October 7, 2014 - EBRPD Board Meeting Agenda - Page 5
N. Authorization to Enter into a Contract for Services Agreement with Touchstone Golf, LLC for Interim Operation and Management Services of the Golf Course Facilities known as the Willow Park Golf Course at Lake Chabot Regional Park, Transfer Board Contingency Funds, and Amend the 2014 Budget

October 7, 2014 - EBRPD Board Meeting Agenda Packet- Pages 65 - 70 (actual pages 66-71)

Sept 19 email:
From: Steve Falzone

Subject: RE: Willow Park Golf Course-Updates
Hello all,
Here is the latest info regarding Willow Park Golf Course's status!
On September 12, the RFP deadline for submitting a bid to EBRPD, I sent an email to Jim O'Connor and Mimi Waluch of EBRPD asking two questions (see my email below). One, did anyone submit a bid? And two, what is the status of the "temporary management group" needed for the continued operation of Willow Park after November 30?

Below is Ms. Waluch's reply that I received today.
As always, I will be posting both emails to our website...www.willowparkgolfclub.org

Steve Falzone
President, Willow Park Golf Club

From: Mwaluch@ebparks.org
CC: joconnor@ebparks.org
Subject: Willow Park RFP
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2014

Good afternoon Mr. Falzone,

In response to your e-mail of last Friday, the District received responses to the Willow Park Golf Course RFP and intends to secure a qualified operations and management team during the transition period. Scheduling tournaments for the period December 1, 2014 and beyond will be included in the transition team responsibilities.

Mimi Waluch
From: Steve Falzone
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Subject: RE: Willow Park RFP

Subject: Willow Park RFP
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2014
Good Afternoon Jim & Mimi,

I hope we have nothing but good news regarding the RFP deadline and submissions!
Two quick questions.
1) Did you receive ANY bids to review?
2) Where do you stand with bringing in the "temporary management group"?
We have postponed the beginning of our membership drive to October but don't believe we can delay much longer then that. We are also down to the wire in deciding our 2015 tournament schedule. If we can't finalize the schedule with the Temp Group we will have to start booking other golf courses for our beginning of the year tournaments.

Steve Falzone
President, Willow Park Golf Club

August 20 email:
A couple of updates regarding Willow Park for you.
1) According to the Castro Valley Forum (Aug 20 issue), H.A.R.D will NOT be submitting a bid on EBRPD's Willow Park RFP. I find that disappointing but understandable.
2) EBRPD has added two addendums to their website.
Addendum 1 has answers to questions asked at the Aug 5 Meeting at WP. It also includes the full consultant report. Of special interest is the building evaluation....ouch.
Addendum 1a is a copy of the original lease from 1965. It also includes what appears to be the original RFP.
Happy reading ;-)

August 5:
I attended EBRPD's Mandatory Proposal Conference today at Willow Park.
Here are a few of the highlights that I can pass along...
 - About 25 people attended today's event. As a guess'ament I would say there were about 15 groups there.
 - They toured both the golf course and the buildings.
 - Questions that were submitted today will be posted on the Park's website in about a week.

I also spoke before Castro Valley Rotary Club's meeting at noon today. Jim O' Connor also presented.
Here are a few of the highlights that I can pass along... - The Rotary Club members had some great questions and interest.
 - EBRPD committed to having the course continue to be up and running. If not with a new lessee then with a temporary operator
    until a lease is signed.
 - If a lessee is not found by Nov. 30, the hope is to have the Spike Room and Bar to continue operations. The restaurant and
    event center would not be running until the new lessee takes over.
 - If no viable RFP bids are submitted, revised RFP will be released. With the temporary operator administrating
    the golf course.

August 2: Article in CastroValleyMatters.org
“Why are we concerned about Wilow Park Golf Course’s RFP timeline?”

July 23, EBRPD Released RFP for Willow Park:
- Can be downloaded at East Bay Park's Bid/RFP Webpage

July 23: Article in the Castro Valley Forum
Willow Park could close by Years' end.
The forum does not have a link to this article. The article has one correction that I see. It talks about "Owners" the golf course is leased from EB Parks. The new lease is to run the golf course, the lessee will not have ownership. (I am sure I will be corrected if I am wrong)

Willow Park, Castro Valley's public golf course, may close before the end of the year. The current 50-year lease is set to expire on Nov. 30.
The current owners have announced that they do not intend to renew their lease, according to Steve Falzone, president of the Willow Park Golf Club.
So the East Bay Regional Park District, which oversees the course, must look for new owners.
However, the district has yet to put out a Request for Proposal to get bids form potential owners, and even once the request is issued, approving the owner is a lengthy process.
“We are really in limbo right now,” said Falzone. “It’s frustrating.”
A buyer could continue running the 18-hole course as it is, or turn it private. Or, if no bids come in, the golf course’s future could be even more mysterious.
“What if no one comes forward? That’s the one hundred thousand dollar question,” said Falzone.
The park district says that they will work to insure that the course remains open, even if it means finding a temporary owner as a stop-gap.
Willow Park, which originally opened in 1966 is set on the east side of the Chabot Regional Park at 17007 Redwood Road. In addition to the golf course, the property also has a restaurant and events facility.
Willow Park, like many other area golf courses, suffered during the economic downturn, though numbers have improved. But this past Saturday only a handful of players were on the Willow Park links and one golfer expressed his concern over the low turnout.
The park also need an expensive irrigation update.
Falzone said that he’d like to see the Hayward Area Recreation District take over ownership, but HARD already runs two gold courses and they are running at deficits.
Falzone’s club normally recruits members this time of the year, but cannot because of the uncertain future of the course.
“There is a lack of concrete information,” said Falzone. “It’s just incredibly difficult to deal with the uncertainty.” ---Amy Sylvestri

July 21: Hayward Review/Contra Costa Times/Oakland Tribune - WP Lease Article (same article but believe it is in Monday's newspaper)

Initally, a little problem between Willow Park and Willow Glen but still a nice feature!
July 18: KTVU News Feature on WP

UPDATED: July 18: Bay Area News Group WP Lease Article

July 16: Email sent to EBRPD, EBMUD and H.A.R.D Board of Directors
EBRPD Board,
Due to my work schedule I was not able to attend your monthly board meeting of July 15. I was hoping I could have a moment to comment on the desperate situation that we feel is fast approaching regarding Willow Park Golf Course.

We, as a club, have always hoped that Willow Park Golf Course would remain open and the transition to the new ownership would be a smooth and transparent one. Up to now we have not had much hope only because we have had many promises and little communications as to where the process was and how it was progressing.

The staff at East Bay Park District has told us all along they would like to see Willow Park Golf Course continue. They have been saying that for over 2 years, BUT here we are at the 11th hour with no confirmation, let alone an RFP.

If the "soon to be released" RFP has a late August RFP submission deadline, that would only leaves about 90 days for the EBParks staff to review the bids, get the subcommittee and THEN the full EBP Board approval and then begin discussion with the new lessee regarding the golf course transition. Although EBParks staff may have the best of intentions, are they really going to be able to do all this in 90 days when they haven't be able to do it in over 2 years? Unfortunately, although we are still holding out hope, we are skeptical and disappointed by the lack of progress and communication regarding this process.

July 16: CV Forum "Letter to the Editor"
Castro Valley community take note! In less than 4 months (November 30), after 50 years, Willow Park Golf Course management group’s lease with East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD) will expire.

This likely means that public golf in CV is going to disappear. This impacts not only the casual golfer and the multiple golf clubs, but also both middle schools and CVHS golf teams, and the many tournaments that support local non-profit organizations and other community groups.

This will also be an end to the banquet facilities, bar and restaurants that have been a mainstay to the community from Crab feeds to Rotary functions, to weddings and a host of other celebrations and memorials. Also to be considered is the much needed revenue EBRPD will lose from these activities going elsewhere.

There appears to be no urgency on the part of East Bay Regional Parks District to get a request for proposal (RFP) out to the public for bidding. For over 2 years EBRPD has talked about releasing an RFP for Willow Park but at the 11th hour we are still waiting. Using EBRPD's own timeline, at the earliest, the RFP process is already at or past the deadline for a smooth continuation of the golf course and facilities.

As late as June 11, EBRPD assured us that the RPF would be released by July 1st – but to-date nothing. Don’t let EBRPD allow our gem to just fade away.

We urge you to contact representatives (Mr. O' Connor, EBP Assistant GM and Ms. Severin, EBP CV Board Member, as well as County Supervisor Nate Miley) and let them know that Castro Valley needs Willow Park to continue to be part of our community!

Please help us save Willow Park.

Steve Falzone
President, WillowParkGolfClub.org

July 12 Email - Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council Chair Marc Crawford email to EBP's Ms. Waluch (mwaluch@ebparks.org) and Mr. O' Connor (joconnor@ebparks.org).
I am writing to inform you that this Willow Park issue will be placed on an agenda for the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council as soon as possible. Willow Park is an important asset and contributes greatly to the quality of life in Castro Valley. The Council has been receiving emails for several months about the changes at Willow Park. Please reply so that we can coordinate EBRPD staff availability with our meeting schedule.

July 13 - CV Legands posted the letter to editor to their website
facebook.com/CVLegends go there, "like" it or post something!


Here is the timeline that I wrote down at the June 12 Meeting with East Bay Parks (Ms. Waluch, Mr. O' Connor and two other staff members).
- 1 or 2 weeks before RFP is released (Released July 23)

- East Bay Park's Bid/RFP Webpage
- 6 to 8 weeks deadline to submit bids
- (2 weeks?) staff evaluation of submitted bids.
- Staff present/recommend bids to EBRP operation subcommittee for their approval.
- (Once approved) present bids to full EBRP board for their approval.
- Begin discuss with new leasee regarding golf course transition.

- Willow Park Golf Course Update Letter - 05/01/2014 PDF (38kb)
- EBParks WPGC Presentation Handout - 01/16/2014 PDF (3.2mb)
- EBP/H.A.R.D Work Session - 05/29/2014 PDF
- EBP - 2014–2015 Request for Proposals Timeline - 03/20/2014 PDF
- EBP Board Meeting (RFP to be released 12/2013) - 12/3/2013 PDF
- EBP Board Meeting (RFP to be released 11/2013) - 09/3/2013 PDF
- EBP/H.A.R.D Work Session - 04/9/2013 PDF
- East Bay Parks/EBMUD Board Liaison Meeting - 03/25/2013 PDF
- East Bay Parks/EBMUD Board Liaison Meeting - 03/25/2013 PDF
- EBP Informational Reports - 01/19/2012 PDF
- EBP 2011 Work Plan: Informational Reports - 03/22/2011 PDF
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