BY REBECCA PALMER
BOUNTIFUL — It has been known as “the sponge” for years, but Lakeside Golf Course is hoping to trade out that affectionate moniker for a shiny new reputation.
Its chances are good, and its handicap is lower than ever.
This fall, West Bountiful City will pay off the $2 million bond it took out in the late 90s to pay for upgrades to the course.
“We’re super excited about that,” said city finance director Heidi Voordeckers.
The end of debt payments will mean the city gets to keep about a quarter of a million dollars more of the money it makes on the course each year. After the golf course repays loans from other city departments, it will be able to reinvest in improvements to the course.
The changes could also bring more golfers from Davis County and beyond, the city hopes. Its average $825,000 in annual revenue could grow even further.
Already this summer, the city is renovating the pro shop and last year, hired a new person to manage the greens, Marcus Fenton.
“Our greens keeper feels like the course has been kept too wet for many years,” said city Public Works Director Steve Maughan, who has taken a special interest in the course. “We’re going to keep the lawn healthy but not as soft as its been in the past. We’re really trying to focus on our greens Р make them a little bit firmer.”
Other changes are in the works.
This spring, tractors and backhoes are hard at work putting in an extension of the driving range to a length of almost 500 feet.
“I think it’s a long-needed,” Maughan said. “We’ve tried to get by as a city without spending a lot of money at the course, just trying to maintain it as best as we can. Some of these changes are long overdue.”
The extension will take place on land the city already owns, and it will accommodate world-class players at the upcoming Rockwell/ReMax World Long-drive qualifying tournament, to be held June 19-21.
The qualifier is expected to bring national exposure from NBC Sports and the Golf Channel, putting the course on the map in a big way.
The Girls’ High School State Championships will also be held at the course, said Kelly Class, head professional at Lakeside Golf.
“We’d like to make it a destination course so that not just people from Davis County, but people from all over the country will enjoy it,” Maughan said.
Other changes will include an adjustment to the 18th hole and a narrowing of the ninth fairway. Later this year, the parking lot will get an upgrade, but the city plans to keep the course open throughout the construction.
And there will be no increase in rates, at least not in the near future.
“It’s payback for all the loyalty people have,” said Class. “They’ve stuck with us all these years.”
The course is located at 1201 N.1100 West in West Bountiful, and can be reached at (801) 295-1019. The cost for 9 holes is $12.50 for adults, $10.50 for seniors, and $8 for juniors. All costs double for 18 holes, and carts are $6.50 for 9 holes, and $13 for 18 holes per person.
Clipper Staff writer Louise Shaw contributed reporting for this story.