Local

Nov 16, 2012 6:00 PM by Danielle Lerner

Fred Enke Golf Club taking action to keep course open

TUCSON - The Fred Enke Golf Club is now taking action to keep the course from closing. Fred Enke and El Rio Golf Course have a little less than eight months to get out of the red. If they can't, the city will close or repurpose the courses. Council members made that decision last month, citing six-digit deficits over the past few years.

Board members at Fred Enke say it is a community course, so it is going to take a community effort to keep it open.

"It's more pleasant for me to just breathe the air and get away from the city a ways and enjoy a great round of golf," said John Date, a snowbird from Washington who golfs often at the eastside course.

"It would hurt, too many people play from around here," said David Byars, who golfs at Fred Enke daily.

Even at 9:30 a.m. on a weekday, golfers of all ages and skill levels are taking full advantage of Fred Enke's driving range and putting greens. Still, Golf Club Vice President Gary Maupin says turnout needs to be higher.

"The only way it's going to stay open is for the public to come out and start playing the golf courses again," said Maupin.

Maupin says even just one extra round per month, per member, would help make up the nearly $200,000 the course lost last year.

"It'd be nice to leave it as a city asset and open, but we understand it's got to make money," said Maupin.

The club now plans to host more tournaments, team up with other area clubs and join forces with the four other city courses to help get more golfers on the greens.

"For a long time it's been the course that's been in the best condition and it's got a neat little practice range," Byars said.

"The wildlife that you see while you're playing the golf course, there's bobcats and I've even seen a mountain lion out here," said Date. "It'd be a big loss, a big, big disappointment to me if we lose this golf course in the Tucson area."

If Fred Enke cannot turn it's finances around, the city has plans to turn it into a park. The driving range would stay open. The El Rio course would become a family golf learning center.

The board is updating the course's web site with different ways you can get involved to help. Just click here for more information.

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