Owning golf course more expensive dream than imagined

It happens to me every time I go on vacation. I go wine tasting, and I want to buy a winery; I go to a coast resort, and I want to buy a bed and breakfast at the shore; I go play golf, and I want to buy a golf course. Well, maybe a putting green.

Not anymore. Scratch the golf course off the book. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Donny Long, director of golf at Sun City Summerlin, and Sue Papilion, executive director of the homeowners’€™ association, and they gave me a peek behind the curtain.

My foray into this column began as I read through recent financials of the community’€™s golf courses that are published for residents to review. I live in Sun City, and the HOA owns the three golf courses that are a part of it. As such, the association publishes the annual budget for the courses. What I discovered shocked me. This year, one of the courses, Palm Valley, needs to have the asphalt cart paths replaced. The dollar number to do the upgrade to concrete blew me away.

The second golf course in Sun City, Highland Falls, was recently voted the top public course by readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal in the 2015 Best of Las Vegas survey, so I know all the courses are in top-notch shape. But the price to replace and upgrade concrete cart paths? I had to meet with the execs to determine if there was a typo.

“No, that number is correct,”€ Sue said. ‘€œIt’€™s very expensive to run a golf course.”

“€œWe have to replace the cart paths due to old age and water damage,”€ added Donny. “€œThe paths were in bad shape. We want the golfers to be safe.”€

“€œWe’€™re upgrading to concrete for several reasons,”€ Donny said. “Concrete paths last 25 years or longer. They’€™re about 50 percent more expensive than asphalt. And Palm Valley is 25 years old. We’€™ve had to reseal the old asphalt paths eight times. Water damage to the asphalt paths can also be tough on the carts due to the irregularities.”€

“€œUnbelievable,”€ I muttered. So, I got nosey.

“What does other stuff cost?”€ I inquired. Here’€™s what I uncovered:

Golf carts: “€œThey cost $4,200 new,” Sue said. “We need 80 carts at Palm Valley, and they need to be replaced every three to four years. Trade-in value ranges from $1,000 to $1,350 each. Each cart has six batteries that cost $135 each; brake jobs are $150; tires with rims are $60 each. Steering systems are $130 for each cart. The power washer to clean the carts costs $1,500.”€

Beverage carts: Donny told me to sit down. “€œEach beverage cart is priced at $23,000. Why? Because the manufacturers can. They are bigger, have a gas engine and a heavy-duty suspension. Figure they last from three to four years.”€ A $4 soft drink seems reasonable to me now.

  • Ball washers at the driving range: $1,850 each
  • Ranger cart: $4,400
  • Ball dispenser at the driving range: $7,000
  • Driving range ball picker-upper: $8,000
  • Public announcement system: $7,500
  • Driving range mats (4×6): 15 needed at $385 each, equaling $5,790
  • Utility tractor: $40,000
  • Premium rental clubs: 15 sets at $800 each, equaling $12,000
  • Bunker rebuild: $10,000
  • Greens rebuild: $20,000 (materials)
  • Replace four motors at a pump station: $120,000
  • Replace main gate valves: $15,000
  • Pro shop staff and annual maintenance: $700,000
  • Annual utilities: $700,000 (60 percent water)

“That not all,”€ Sue continued. “€œWe are doing this during the slower summer season for a reason. Even though revenues in the summer months drop about 56 percent, we estimate we will still lose about 20 percent in revenue during the renovation. All in all, we’€™re putting in over 7 miles of new cart paths at Palm Valley. They will be 6 feet wide. The renovation will be slow; the contractor estimates each hole will take one week to complete. We’€™ll close down one nine at a time; the other nine will remain open to play.”€

And that’s good news for us golfers. During the weekday renovation, the green fees for Palm Valley will be $2 per hole for nine holes. Play 18 (play nine twice), and the fee is $25. This special is good only during the week; on weekends, all 18 holes will be playable at the normal rates.

Oh, yeah, want to take a guess on the cost of the cart path replacement project? Go ahead. The answer: Only $62,000 per hole. You do the math.

Makes that $3,500 putting green in the backyard look like a bargain.

— John Asay is a longtime golfer and local freelance writer. Contact him at jasay@reviewjournal.com.

Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like