Land Bank Signs Contract For New Miacomet Golf Management

Written By: Jason Graziadei | Photography By: Braden Hanson, Premier Aerials

The Nantucket Land Bank unanimously approved a new three-year management contract for the Miacomet Golf Course and the Sconset Golf Course with Matt Galvin, the owner of Morningstar Golf and Hospitality. 

Matt Galvin, New Miacomet Golf Course Manager

Galvin recently purchased the management company owned by his friend and longtime Miacomet Golf manager Al Costa, known as Nantucket Golf Management, and Galvin was the only bidder for the Miacomet contract. The terms of the deal with the Land Bank provide for Galvin to be paid $250,000 per year, bringing the total contract value to $750,000 over the three years. There is an option to extend the contract for two additional years at $275,000 annually. 

See the Land Bank’s new contract with Galvin by clicking here

Miacomet’s current general manager, Sean Oberly, will become a vice president with Morningstar and run the day-to-day operations of the golf course moving forward.

After months of soliciting bids and reviewing the only proposal that was submitted, the Land Bank commissioners unanimously approved the contract with little discussion during Tuesday evening’s meeting. 

“(Land Bank executive director) Jesse (Bell) and the staff have done an enormous amount of work on this and let’s face it, we only had one bidder,” said Land Bank Commission chair Neil Paterson. “It’s not like we have a multitude of choices, and I’m optimistic this will work out with the additional oversight provision in the contract.”

Paterson was referring to a clause in the contract that allows the Land Bank to require Galvin to submit regular reporting on Miacomet Golf’s operations, including tee times (which became an issue over the summer) utilization, dining, operational efficiencies, industry trends and more. 

“We should be asking for some of these things in light of the issues we faced last summer in July and August with tee times,” Bell said. “Otherwise, it’s a really good contract and I would recommend awarding it (to Galvin).”

Galvin and Costa have known each other for more than 20 years, having attended many of the same golf management conferences and events. Galvin’s Morningstar Golf and Hospitality, which is based in New Jersey, owns and manages numerous public and private golf courses and clubs in the U.S. and overseas, including the London Golf Club.

“Al (Costa) would be a consultant who we would pay out of the management fee we charge to the Land Bank,” Galvin told the Land Bank Commission earlier this month. “My goal is to make you guys forget about him and do such a great job you’ll say ‘Al who?’ But Al would be heavily involved in the first year, and less involved in the second and third.”

Miacomet Golf was scrutinized by the Land Bank Commission earlier this year after it was discovered that Costa and its management team had been granting certain groups of players advanced, preferential tee times. The Land Bank voted unanimously in September to end that practice. Galvin said access to the course was probably the number one issue he would face when he takes over from Costa next year. 

“If this was off-island and a privately owned course, and my issue was too much demand for certain times, the market answer to that is you raise your prices, your membership prices or greens fees,” Galvin said. “The problem Nantucket has is that for half your population, price is not an issue. The other half are local year-round residents who don’t’ want to get priced out because Wayne Huizenga is happy to own three memberships. So how do you deal with that? To give everyone equal access, you could eliminate memberships entirely. It’s a public course and everyone has the same rights to book tee times and everyone has a fair shake to book it. So the number one challenge will be the tee time, access question. The other challenges are the same everywhere: staffing staffing staffing.”

After 13 years as manager of Miacomet Golf and having been involved with the course for even longer, Costa is now stepping back from that prominent role but will still be involved in helping to guide Miacomet’s new leadership. 

“This represents a major change for the commission,” Land Bank Commissioner Allen Reinhard said. “Over the past 20 years we’ve had all kinds of discussions about golf and I want to recognize Al and Sean for the work they’ve done over the years to bring Miacomet up to the standard it is today. We’ve had a lot of work going over discussions about the clubhouse and when I look at the clubhouse today, when I look at the operation of the course today and the quality of the course, the work Sean has done to maintain it, it’s really amazing. I’m incredible pleased and proud of the work that both Al and Sean and all the employees have done to create the operation we have.”

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