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Texas Rangers, Arlington partner to raise profile of Ditto Golf Course

Play … golf?

The City of Arlington and Texas Rangers announced a new partnership Friday to create the world’s only Major League Baseball-branded golf course — the Texas Rangers Golf Club — which is scheduled to open this summer.

The City and the Rangers announced details about the historic rebranding agreement for the former Chester W. Ditto Golf Course, along with new course features and amenities, during a media event Friday at Globe Life Park in Arlington. This collaborative branding partnership, along with $24 million in course renovations, gives Arlington a destination golf course not only for residents but for visitors to the Rangers ballpark, Texas Live! and other Entertainment District attractions.

“As the world’s only MLB-themed golf course, this course is sure to be a ‘bucket list’ item for baseball fans across the globe, especially our Rangers fan right here in Arlington,” Mayor Jeff Williams said in a news release.

To celebrate Friday’s announcement, City and Texas Rangers officials, including former players and coaches, participated in a Closest to the Pin competition to see who could hit a golf ball from Home Plate closest to a Texas Rangers Golf Club flag planted in Globe Life Park’s Center Field.

“The Texas Rangers are proud to continue our great partnership with the City of Arlington on yet another outstanding project,” said Rob Matwick, Texas Rangers executive vice president for business operations. “Ditto Golf Course has a long tradition in North Arlington and Rangers’ team personnel have been playing at that location for many years. We feel this presents a great cross-promotional opportunity for the club, and we look forward to working with the City to make Texas Rangers Golf Club a first-class destination.”

The golf course is located at Brown Boulevard and Collins Street in north Arlington. A new clubhouse, set to open in spring 2019, will feature a full-service restaurant and bar, pro shop, multi-purpose rental and event space and other amenities. To honor Chester W. Ditto, his family, and their contributions to the City of Arlington, the clubhouse will be named the Chester Ditto Clubhouse.

The Texas Rangers are allowing the city to use the team’s branding for the public golf course at no cost through a promotional and licensing agreement, which was approved by Arlington City Council on Jan. 9. The city will remain the owner and the operator of the course, collecting all green fees and clubhouse revenues.

This partnership and unique branding opportunity is expected to bring an overall positive impact to Arlington and its Entertainment District, such as drawing high-profile golf tournaments, attracting new business and quality housing developments, and encouraging visitors to extend their stay at Arlington’s hotels through tourism promotional packages.

“By having a world-class golf facility so close to the entertainment district, it gives our visitors with meetings and conventions the ability to stay and play and ideally keep them in Arlington another day,” said Ron Price, Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau president and CEO. “Many conventions provide offsite or ancillary activities to groups and golf is always at the top of the list. As we look to grow our hotels in the Entertainment District, having a golf course close by with the Rangers name on it will be a catalyst for Arlington tourism.”

The Texas Rangers Golf Club rate structure is still being finalized, but Arlington residents will receive discounted green fees.

John Colligan, ASGCA of Colligan Golf Design worked on the course redesign.

Highlights of the agreement:

• The branding agreement extends through December 31, 2054, which coincides with the team’s lease with the City for the future Globe Life Field retractable-roof ballpark that opens in 2020.

• The City will remain the owner and the operator of the course, collecting all green fees and clubhouse revenues.

• The Texas Rangers will provide increased marketing for the City’s golf club, including print advertising on pocket schedules and game programs, video spotlights during Rangers home games, and cross-promotions on the Rangers website and social media feeds.

• The Texas Rangers Golf Club is slated to open in summer 2018. The $24 million project includes a total renovation and updated routing of the existing golf course with improved turf grasses and additional water features. A new 33,871-square-foot clubhouse, set to open in spring 2019, will feature a full-service restaurant and bar, covered patio overlooking the golf course, pro shop, locker rooms, and numerous rental and event spaces.

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