Opinion: TCPUD shouldn’t take easy way out with golf course operations | SierraSun.com

Opinion: TCPUD shouldn’t take easy way out with golf course operations

Don Hay
Special to the Sun

Tahoe City Public Utility District ratepayers and Placer County taxpayers should realize that they own a very valuable asset in your backyard — the Tahoe City Golf Course.

It is going to need protection from the many interests that covet the land for their own purposes. I want to try to inspire locals to take a longer, bolder view of what is possible to achieve with this under-recognized gem.

The course is presently leased by Duncan Golf and the profits are flowing to Nevada. This is wrong. I believe the TCPUD should take back the management and operation of the golf course following the expiration of the Duncan Golf lease, and that profits should be plowed back into improving the golf course.

A "rainy day" fund should be established for future unforeseen contingencies. TCPUD should hire a local manager to bring back profits and control into local hands. A loyal local work force will be created. Local golf course workers would receive the same benefits that TCPUD and Placer County employees enjoy.

For precedent, look no further than Truckee's Ponderosa Golf Course, which is maintained and operated by the Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District. The course is in great shape, with chipping and practice greens, nice practice driving nets, well stocked Pro Shop, adequate snack bar and friendly employees.

I believe the Tahoe City Golf Course has the potential to be the best 9-hole golf venue in the area and we should strive to make that happen. We should not be looking to merely maintain the golf course. We should be striving to make it better than ever.

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The bunkers will have to be brought up to USGA standards and the water hazards need to be cleaned out. Turf conditions can be improved, but improvements can be spread out over several years and golf course profits can easily fund them.

Maybe we can bring back the Junior Tournament, dropped by Duncan Golf, and encourage local kids to take up the game by establishing a junior golf program. Truckee seems to be doing a fine job developing local junior golfers and we can do the same.

The Golf Course Oversight Committee has one golfer, as far as I can tell, and little or no golf course management experience. Other than me, members of the public rarely attend the meetings.

Of course the easy thing for the TCPUD to do would be to renew the lease and let the Nevadans deal with operations and reap the rewards. I am hoping that ratepayers, taxpayers, golfers and lovers of the golf course don't allow them to take the easy way out.

So ask questions, attend meetings, get involved in the decision. In the end the whole town will benefit from a locally operated and well maintained golf course.

Don Hay is a Tahoe City resident.