Golfers accustomed to season passes and unlimited trips to Eagle Valley Golf Course are in for some changes.
The cost to play golf Eagle Valley is going up, and while the price changes aren't drastic, the new rate structure doesn't include the popular season pass.
Mark Sattler, chairman of the Eagle Valley Golf Corp., and course General Manager Mike McGehee said they expect some unhappy golfers.
"Any time you take an open-ended pass like that away, you will lose players," Sattler said. "We've fought long and hard to maintain that lifestyle, but we just can't keep an open-ended pass. As difficult as it is to end an era at Eagle Valley Golf, which was unlimited golf forever, it has to be done. We're still giving locals a fair, competitive rate."
Existing passes will be honored until April 30, 2001. Changes in rates take effect Oct. 16.
Golfers pay up to $1,030 for a season pass that allows them to play whenever they want. At $490 for a season pass on the East Course, some golfers end up paying only about $2 on average for a round of golf.
McGehee said expanding the courses' punch-card system and the elimination of the pass cards will give the course more control over rounds of golf played on the courses. While golf officials expect yearly rounds to drop from about 62,000 rounds to 52,000 rounds, they still expect the new rate structure to bring in extra cash for the financially-struggling course.
McGehee said of the 62,000 rounds played every year, only 40,000 are paid rounds. With the new rate structure, every round of golf will be paid for, he said.
McGehee said he has plans for about $186,000 worth of new equipment plus extra personnel, if the money is there. The West Course is in dire need of a new $1.6 million irrigation system, but Sattler said the golf corporation is opting for a $17,500 fix to keep the system going.
Other changes include:
-- The West Course will be closed for 90 days during the winter. Specific closing dates are weather dependent. Sattler said he hopes the rest will help keep the course in good condition for the rest of the year.
"We can't take a chance on it getting brutalized in the winter," he said.
-- Punch cards are being expanded to include 25 and 50 play cards. Golfers opting for the 50-play card on the west course will pay, $1,040, $20.80 a round for seniors and $1,160, about $23.20 a round, for regular play, a savings of $15.80.
-- Walk-up rates for 18 holes on the East course are going from $21 to $22. Walk-up rates on the West course are going from $37.50 to $39.
A group of golfers from Reno said Thursday they weren't bothered by the rate change because they play the course only a couple times a year and the walk-up rates are low.
"It's almost a waste of time to print new rate cards," said Larry Nelson, of Reno.
However, the changes aren't setting well with some pass-holding golfers.
While John Greene understands the need for maintenance at the course, he feels the rate change is "kind of a slap in the face for years of loyalty."
"Carson people have been treated to the low rates for as long as I can remember," Greene said. "I know they take a beating on the season passes. We've been spoiled and we don't want to see it go away. It's a financial issue that I wish weren't an issue."
Jack McQuark, president of the Eagle Valley Men's Club, has been a pass card holder at the course since 1978. McQuark said most of the men's club members are pass players, and he doesn't know how losing the passes will affect the group. However, he said the loss of the pass card will limit his freedom to play golf.
"We're getting weaned from getting a really good deal," McQuark said. "I will still play there; however, I will dramatically cut back the rounds I play. I'm losing the freedom of playing only five holes if I want to. Now I have to pay for 18 holes. I think they're going to lose even more play."
He said the primary reason the golf course is having financial trouble is because of loss of tournament play on the West Course, constant deferred maintenance and lack of support from the city.
"The golf course plays an integral part in bringing the city sales tax dollars, and at the same time, the city says 'We're not going to help,'" McQuark said. "The city supports youth sports but gives the golf course no support."