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Officials at WildCreek, Kiley Links excited for summer golf season
by Dan Eckles
Jun 17, 2013 | 1240 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela - A golfer swings into action at WildCreek Golf Course Monday morning. Officials there believe the Sparks course is in as good condition as it’s been in a long time.
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela - A golfer swings into action at WildCreek Golf Course Monday morning. Officials there believe the Sparks course is in as good condition as it’s been in a long time.
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Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela - Maintenance crews at WildCreek Golf Course knock down weeds and trim up plants around a fence line Monday morning.
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela - Maintenance crews at WildCreek Golf Course knock down weeds and trim up plants around a fence line Monday morning.
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Officials at the Rail City’s oldest golf course, WildCreek, and its newest, Kiley Links, believe their tracks are in superb condition, the best they’ve seen in recent years and they’re ready to show that off to golfers.

At WildCreek Golf Course in west Sparks, Director of Golf Eric Huzarski has great expectations for his course this summer too. He said the weather over the past six-plus months has allowed for positive changes.

“I’d almost say the weather last winter and this spring has been optimum,” Huzarski said. “We got a lot more moisture and a little snow over the winter. That shut the course down for about a month. It’s almost been a perfect spring. The course didn’t get beat up too much. We’re starting off the summer so much further ahead of where we were last year.

“It’s been a pretty mild spring. It’s been optimum for grass-growing conditions and playing golf.”

Huzarski pointed out that improved weather has helped the vitality of the golf course, but added that does not necessarily mean revenue took a huge hit.

“It’s a little bit of a catch 22,” he said. “In the previous winter (2011-12), it was dryer and we got a lot of late winter rounds in. This year, with more moisture, our winter rounds were down a little bit, but better course conditions are seeing more rounds this spring and summer.”

The fiscal year at WildCreek is about to conclude. Huzarski expects numbers to be relatively equal for 2011-12 and 2012-13. However, he thinks with the course in good shape, he could see a bump in rounds played this summer, kicking off the 2013-14 fiscal year.

“We’re hearing that our greens are in the best shape people have seen in a long time,” the veteran WildCreek golf pro said. “We’re just trying to make everything better here. We’ve gotten more aggressive with our pricing, trying to make it as affordable as possible. “The course continues to improve. I’d tell people, if they haven’t been out in a number of years, and they knew what WildCreek used to look like, to come and give it another look.”

The Rail City’s other golf course, Kiley Links, is a 9-hole par-3 course nestled in the Kiley Ranch community of north Sparks. The course is under new ownership and new Chief of Operations John Roberts is ecstatic about the direction the golf course is headed in.

“The course is looking really good. The greens and fairways are in great shape,” Roberts said. “They’re absolutely beautiful. We’re having more and more people come by that are impressed with the golf course.”

This past winter, the new owners committed to remodeling the clubhouse. Roberts said the new bar has helped increase food and beverage sales. Roberts admitted greens fees have been increased from $11 to $15 but he believes the improved course conditions are worth the few extra bucks. He added the number of rounds played and membership passes have increased.

“We’re seeing more people in the clubhouse and more people on the course,” Roberts said. “Our play is up a lot. We’re seeing a 30 to 40 percent increase over this same time last year. We’re ecstatic about it. We’re busy every single day.”

Roberts stressed the new ownership is the biggest reason for improved conditions at Kiley Links.

“The biggest factor is the owners want to make this place a success,” Roberts said. “We’ve got carte blanche to improve things. We remodeled the course. We’ve got a fabulous golf course superintendent who is committed and is taking pride in the course. It really shows.”

While Kiley Links is not an 18-hole par 72 expansive course, Roberts said it does have a niche and a needed place in the community.

“This is a good place for families, seniors and beginners wanting to play a nine holer,” he said. “There is a lot of depth to the course. It’s the only course around with water all the way around. It’s a challenge for a par 3.”

Corporate policy at the Resort at Red Hawk limited officials there from speaking to the media.
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