Gifting Golf

March 1, 2014, Department, by Amy Stahl

Quail Hollow Golf CourseWhen businessman Dave Hendrickson acquired Quail Hollow Golf Course in 1993, golf was primed to boom in Boise. 

“When I got into this business, the community was poised for rapid growth,” says Hendrickson. “Golf was becoming more popular. When Tiger Woods turned professional, golf really boomed. The next 10 to 12 years were exceptionally good for the golf business.”

Quail Hollow is a challenging par-70 course nestled in a scenic valley surrounded by sage-covered foothills and abundant wildlife. Awarded four stars by Golf Digest, the course features a full-length driving range, chipping and putting green, and full-service pro shop.

Twenty years later, Hendrickson decided it was time to pursue other interests, but he was anxious to protect the property from development and preserve the site as a course or open space. 

“The land that Quail Hollow sits on is a great piece of property, and I did not want to see it developed,” says Hendrickson. “It’s worth more than the business, even in the most profitable years.”

In 2013, Hendrickson donated the 140-acre course, clubhouse, equipment and pro shop to the City of Boise. Low-key and intensely private, Hendrickson opted to skip Boise Mayor David Bieter’s public announcement of the gift. 

Quail Hollow is now the second municipal course — along with Warm Springs Golf Course — to be managed by the Boise Parks and Recreation Department. 

“This gift to the city will ensure that the golf course prospers,” says Hendrickson. “Working collaboratively, the great Quail Hollow pro shop and maintenance staff and the professionals at Warm Springs Golf Course will bring some new energy to Quail Hollow. I’m excited to stand back and watch the results.”

Boise Parks and Recreation plans to retain the current pricing structure but expand the men’s and women’s leagues and offer more instruction and course time for youth golfers. Plans also call for renovation of the clubhouse and opening a new restaurant for daily food and beverage options, plus a special event venue with stunning views from a large course-side deck.

The addition of Quail Hollow will allow the city to continue to build on the success of the popular Warm Springs Golf Course, which operates the area’s largest youth golf program. Warm Springs is also home to golf teams for Boise State University and several high schools, thriving men’s and women’s leagues, corporate outings, teen camps and classes for kids.

Mayor Bieter is appreciative of Hendrickson’s donation and the opportunities it creates for residents to develop an appreciation for the lifetime sport of golf across town from Warm Springs Golf Course.

“The success of the Warm Springs course shows the benefit that public courses can have on the health of our community,” he says. 

Although Hendrickson has chosen to remain out of the limelight, the community applauded his decision to donate the course. In an editorial, The Idaho Statesman wrote, “Described by some as an intensely private man, Hendrickson is obviously focused on something other than fame or personal gain.

“It was one thing to graciously gift the city with a 140-acre golf course and associated properties valued in the millions (not counting the value of the business), and an estimated $55,000 in annual income that will go to help maintain it. It was another thing to behold the style and humility manifested by Hendrickson in making this donation. The owner of Quail Hollow for the past 20 years did not play this one as a Donald Trump might. Not only was Hendrickson not front and center for a photo op, he was nowhere to be found when Boise Mayor Dave Bieter made the announcement of the gift and when the Boise City Council accepted it.”

Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway praised Hendrickson’s generosity and foresight. “This selfless gift will ensure that affordable, accessible recreation in the form of golf will continue to be available to all citizens,” he says.

“By adding another municipal course, we essentially increase two-fold our ability to provide accessible golfing opportunities for the youth in our community. Our objective is to provide playing opportunities for all residents, youth in particular, regardless of their economic background.”

Hendrickson remains optimistic about the future of the course. With the ideas of the city’s golf experts, increased marketing and enthusiasm generated by the donation, he expects Quail Hollow to thrive. And he treasures the friendships nurtured at Quail Hollow.

“The relationships that I’ve developed with my employees, customers, vendors and the golf community in general are payment enough for me, and have made it easy to walk away from Quail Hollow without a great financial reward,” he says.

Now that he has stepped back, Hendrickson, an avid golfer, is ready to enjoy the sport he loves at his former course.

“I look forward to being a customer for a long time,” he quips. “Maybe I’ll get a little discount.”

Amy Stahl is the Community Relations Manager for Boise Parks and Recreation.