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Lakeview looks toward a future that’s beyond golf in Pahrump

In December 2017, the Nye County Commission, sitting as the governing body for the town of Pahrump, voted to purchase the floundering Lakeview Executive Golf Course for $350,000 in an effort to keep the course from falling farther into disrepair and becoming an eyesore, as happened to the former Willow Creek Golf Course several years ago.

One year later, the commission also approved a five-year management contract with CourseCo, which officially took over operations in December 2018. With nearly seven months of operations now under its belt, CourseCo went before the board at its latest meeting to provide an overview of what the company expects to see in the coming year.

The Lakeview Executive Golf Course annual plan outlined projected figures for both income and expenses, which, when calculated against each other, show that CourseCo is anticipating a net loss of roughly $189,000 in fiscal year 2019-2020. That loss will be covered primarily by the town of Pahrump through the room tax charged in local hotels, rather than by local taxpayer dollars, as detailed during the discussion at the June 18 meeting.

“For the 2020 annual plan, some of the highlights and goals are to provide a quality, affordable golf experience for the community, residents and visitors. Specifically, improving customer experience and golf course conditions,” CourseCo representative Tom Bugbee told the commission. “I think it’s no secret things have deteriorated a little bit out there and it’s kind of like turning an oil tanker around, it doesn’t happen overnight.”

In addition to concentrating on actual golf-related items, Bugbee noted that the company will also be centering some efforts on non-golf events in order to draw even more attention to the course and make it a true community amenity.

“About 10 percent of the population plays golf, yet 100 percent of taxpayers own the golf course, so long ago, CourseCo took the approach that we have to do some non-golf events at all of our golf courses to bring the community out,” Bugbee explained. “One, it’s the right thing to do, and two, it’s probably the best way to introduce people to the game and knock down some of those barriers of intimidation where people are nervous to go on the golf course. Well, if it’s a non-golf event, it’s very easy for them to come out.”

Nye County Commissioner Debra Strickland requested Bugbee give the board an idea of what he meant by a “non-golf event” and Bugbee reeled off a list of potential ideas such as car shows, Easter egg hunts, community open houses, canned food drives, community movie nights, educational events and much, much more.

However, improving the condition of the green and facility itself is the biggest priority, Bugbee stated.

“That’s got to be a big focus for us as we continue to move forward. Golf conditions ultimately will drive traffic and revenue and that’s one of our primary jobs,” Bugbee said. Improvements to the irrigation system and purchases of new equipment to maintain the greens, as well as improvements to the golf course clubhouse, are all on CourseCo’s radar for the coming year.

When the commission first addressed the possibility of purchasing the golf course, the proposal divided not only the community but the commissioners that were then sitting on the board as well, with the commission voting 3-2 to buy the course. Commissioner Donna Cox was one of the voices against the move at that time but her view of the situation had changed somewhat in the intervening year and a half.

“I really hate to do this because there are many reasons to speak against it but then, we are already in over our heads as far as this golf course goes,” Cox stated. “So we can either make it work or not make it work… I think we need to take at least this year and give them the opportunity to do something with it because otherwise we are going to lose more money than what we’ve already put into it… At this point I think we are just shooting ourselves in the foot if we don’t try to move forward with it.”

However, Cox added, if she doesn’t see some major improvement in the next year, she would like to see the golf course be put up for sale in the future.

Commissioner Leo Blundo made the motion to accept the annual plan, which passed with all in favor.

To review the annual plan in its entirety visit www.nyecounty.net and click on the Meeting Center link. The plan is included with the June 18 agenda.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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