Golf is in Stan Jaksick’s blood.
The 52-year-old Jaksick, a University of Nevada graduate, managed Lakeridge Golf Course in his 20s, and then he and his late father, Sam, developed Montreux Golf & Country Club where he stayed for 22 years as president until turning the Jack Nicklaus-designed course over to the membership back in late March.
Jaksick has bought Thunder Canyon Golf & Country Club from longtime owner Gayle Block, re-named it Toiyabe Golf Club and made it semi-private. The course started taking outside tee times in the past couple of weeks.
“I love the golf business,” Jaksick said. “I’ve been in the golf business since I was 16 years old. The timing was perfect. I’ve known Gayle and her late husband, Roger, for years. I’ve always loved this golf course and its location. It’s very simple to get here.
“This (talks about the sale) has been going on since last summer. We had meetings to discuss future possibilities. It didn’t become real until after the first of the year.”
Jaksick admitted it was hard to leave Montreux, site of the annual Barracuda Championship, which just wrapped up its 18th year in Reno.
“It is (tough),” he said. “It’s like having a child, and seeing that child off to school (college) at a certain age.”
Jaksick left because Montreux was an equity course, and from the get-go, he knew the course would eventually be turned over to the membership. He admitted he wished it had been a non-equity course.
One of the first things Jaksick did after taking over from Block was change the name of the course. The course was originally named the Lightning W Ranch by then-owners Bob and Cathy Weise back in 1994, and when the Blocks bought the course it was changed to Thunder Canyon.
“We wanted to re-brand it,” said Jaksick, who displayed the club’s new logo to the assembled media on Wednesday afternoon. “Our company (that developed Montreux) was called Toiyabe Investment.”
The new name also makes sense because the course is nestled in the foothills of the picturesque Toiyabe National Forest. You won’t see a more beautiful setting for a golf course, one which many more golfers can enjoy.
Jaksick doesn’t plan any huge changes, but he does want to work on the bunkers.
“I want to start that in 2017,” he said. “I’m not sure how many will get done. I want to put a whiter sand in them. There are coarser, whiter sand that we can use. The fine sand won’t work out (because of the wind).”
While Jaksick was at Montreux, he brought the state high school tournament to that course, and he would like to hold those type of events at Toiyabe.
The course is certainly tough enough to become a permanent home for state or regional golf.
He also said hosting a Champions Tour event or LPGA event is something he’d be interested in, and he would like the course to continue hosting USGA events as the course has done in the past.
Going from private to semi-private can be troublesome. Just look at Dayton Valley. When the course went public, members complained because they couldn’t play a round of golf in 3 1/2 hours anymore because it was too busy. Thunder Canyon had just 245 members, and realistically that wasn’t enough to turn a healthy profit.
The course logged approximately 14,000 rounds last year, and Jaksick hopes to get that number to 24,000 a year. He doesn’t want to go much higher than that, however.
“I met with the members and discussed my vision with them,” Jaksick said. “At Lakeridge we did 40,000 rounds a year. I’d like to raise our play here by 10,000 rounds. At Montreux, we didn’t want to go over 20,000 rounds a year.”
Translation. The more rounds played, the more the course gets beat up.
Toiyabe, which offers seven tee boxes and measures between 4,811 yards to 7,166 yards, is in tremendous shape. It’s a course that you could previously only play if you were in a tournament or knew a member.
Now, there will be plenty of tee times available. The rates range from $75 in peak hours to $65 mid-day and $35 twilight.
“We sat around (as a group) and discussed it,” Jaksick said. The new owner pointed out his prices are comparable with Reno courses.
The management team also is opening the course seven days a week.
“One of the big changes is opening the course on Mondays,” said Bill Gibson, the general manager. “Traditionally, private clubs were not open on Mondays. It was usually a maintenance day. We can now offer our members more opportunities as well as the public.”
Head golf pro Dave La Fata and his assistant, Beau Server, will be holding clinics throughout the summer for players 4 to 15. Kids also can participate in the PGA Junior League which is designed to bring a Little League-type atmosphere. Adult lessons also are available.