Golf pros predict game will only grow in 2013

Raise your hand if you've been affected by the four-year economic downturn when it comes to golf: played fewer rounds; bought surplus balls instead of the Pro V1s; played that premium course a little less often or even shopped the Web for low prices. Join the club.

So for this monthly installment, I thought a look ahead at the world of golf in Las Vegas for 2013 would be appropriate. But first things first:

We all know bad things come in threes. We narrowly missed two: The world did not end in December as some thought the Mayans predicted, and we had one foot dangling in thin air with the fiscal cliff. What's next? A zombie uprising?

"Not likely going to happen in 2013," says Mike Monko, owner of the Zombie Apocalypse Store, 3420 Spring Mountain Road. "As for golf, courses will have a good year. Also, there will be a demand for old clubs being modified to be used as weapons against zombies."

Well, I'll certainly rest easier with that hurdle removed.

Here's what the experts have to say:

Joe Kelly, director of golf operations for Sun City Summerlin's three courses, sees the economy continuing to play a major role in 2013. "There's no major influx of tourists like five years ago. We need to maintain rounds, get the price of rounds back up, not get into a war of pricing, and keep the condition of the course in the best shape."

Andrew Valainis, general manager/head professional at Durango Hills Golf Club, agrees that the economy and the housing market will be big factors in 2013.

"The last four months of 2012 looked better; it couldn't have gotten much worse," he said. "Specials will be a big part of what we do in 2013."

Dennis Piekarski, director of sales and marketing for the Revere Golf Club in Henderson, sees 2013 as a good opportunity. "We've seen an uptick in tourist play. We've got to present a great golf experience for both tourists and locals for the rates that we charge. Great service, great conditions and added value will be a key this year."

John Herndon, director of operations at SouthShore Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas, has a more varied task. SouthShore is a private club, and membership is key.

"We had a challenging time in 2012," he said. "We now see a rebound in business and are gaining numbers. I see the daily-use courses coming back a little faster than us. It's Econ 101; there's a lot of uncertainty but a lot of opportunity as well. It will take a little while, but the outlook is positive."

More from different experts:

Jeff Swanlund, owner of King Putt miniature golf courses, says he can't comment on the state of golf in 2013 but adds, " My prediction is that mini-golf will become increasingly popular as more girlfriends try to cheat while at King Putt (especially on the ant hole)." Editor's note: Got to check out the ant hole at King Putt!

Mark Dukes is the general manager of Red Rock Harley-Davidson in Las Vegas. Like golf, biking is another big-time recreation activity in the valley. Mark checks in on the state of golfing in 2013:

" No idea. I don't play or have any interest. I don't follow it. I've played once or twice. I hope they do well." However, the outlook for Harley, he says, is very good. "People are getting tired of sitting around doing nothing. Adult toy sales are picking up. I'm very optimistic."

The golfers on the ground are very optimistic as well when it comes to 2013.

Richard says, "Me and everyone I know gets a hole in one." On a much more reasonable note, he adds, "Keep my eyes warm by wearing big sunglasses." Say, what?

Randy says he wants a fabulous trip to Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.

Margaret simply asks, "Is Tiger still playing? I like Tiger."

Steve from Nebraska, in town playing with friend Pam, says, "Get my handicap back down to 18." Pam is more precise: "Keep beating the (expletive) out of Steve." On the golf course, we hope.

Adam Markman, a PGA member working at the Las Vegas Golf Club, was very succinct with his view of 2013:

"Strengthen OB Sports and grow it." Then he added, "I'd like to move into the teaching side of the biz." Only hope that general manager Michael Magnera reads this. Best of luck, Adam.

Me? I got the miracle cure. Buy a TaylorMade RBZ driver. With claims of 17 yards in added distance, I'm there. The head is designed to produce less spin and more loft. A .4-inch-deep slot at the bottom of the club allows flexing of the face, eliminating spin. The steel on top of the club is thicker than on the bottom, creating a lower center of gravity and makes striking the bottom of the ball easier, adding lift. No more slices or hooks. Here's my credit card number ... .

John Asay is a longtime golfer and local freelance writer. Contact him at