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Cattails swings into season

Posted: Friday, Apr 5th, 2013

Cattails Golf Club and its new restaurant are gearing up for the 2013 season. Mullligans is set to open next week.

Courier editor

ALAMOSA — After going through a rough patch with the restaurant at the course, the Cattails Golf Club and its new restaurant lessee are ready for the 2013 season.

Members of the golf board met with Alamosa city councilors during a work session Wednesday night to exchange progress reports.

Cattails Board President Ron DeSautell thanked city staff, specifically Recreation Director Heinz Bergann, for getting the building back in shape. The city, which owns the property, has spent more than $60,000 out of the city park/recreation budget in maintenance and repairs in the last few months to get the clubhouse in shape. This included new carpeting, cleaning, electrical work, heating/air conditioning modifications and $20,000 in new and used kitchen equipment for the restaurant.

Of the amount the city has paid to refurbish the clubhouse, about $7,000 could be requested to be reimbursed from either the former restaurant lessee or the club, Bergann said. These include items of deferred maintenance or no maintenance that should have been addressed by either of those parties, he explained.

DeSautell said issues came to a head after the club asked the former lessee to correct deficiencies, and he chose to terminate the lease.

“We brought whatever pressure we could bear on them,” he said, “but we didn’t have a big enough hammer I guess.”

Golf board member Steve Atencio said the board has taken measures to make sure this situation does not occur again.

DeSautell told the city council new restaurant lessee Kevin Martinez will be re-opening the restaurant next Wednesday, April 10. He said Martinez had 170 applicants for positions in the restaurant and has hired 42 people so far, with several more yet to be hired. The positions include bartenders, kitchen staff, hosts and servers.

DeSautell said the philosophy of Kevin and his father Ronny Martinez, owners of Mountain View Restaurant in Monte Vista, has been to promote service as their number one priority, “and they want everybody that comes out there to have a good experience and a good service, so he’s not going to have the restaurant understaffed at any point in time during the day.”

DeSautell said Kevin Martinez was very appreciative of the improvements the city made at the restaurant.

DeSautell said the golf board has completely overhauled its budget.

“We have cut every expense that we can out of the equation,” he said.

For example, there is no line item for equipment this year.

“The crux is there isn’t enough revenue to do capital expenditures,” Bergann said.

DeSautell said the club relies on Course Superintendent Robbie Jackson to keep things running because he has the ability “to put any equipment back together with bailing wire and chewed bubble gum.”

DeSautell said the club tries to acquire used equipment when it can and has not bought anything brand new since 2006-2007. The “new” mowers acquired last year were refurbished.

The club increased dues this year but lowered the junior pass to $100 to try to promote the next generation of golfers. Also, a discount is still offered for twilight golf after work.

Single memberships increased from $550 to $575, and family memberships are now $875 annually. For a single day during the off season, the cost is $20 for nine holes and $28 for 18 holes, with twilight play, the final four hours of the day, set at $15. Costs during the regular season are $28 for nine holes and $40 for 18.

“Even though we increased fees, we are keeping them at a place where they are still affordable for our area,” Golf Pro Bryce Bervig said.

“We are a pretty good bargain,” DeSautell added.

Bervig said compared to courses in cities similar in size to Alamosa, like Montrose, Delta, Gunnison and Pagosa Springs, Alamosa is in many cases 30-100 percent cheaper.

Councilor Marcia Tuggle said she believed Cattails’ rates are reasonable compared to other communities.

“It’s competitive and in line,” Bervig agreed.

DeSautell said the golf board keeps local golfers in mind when it considers fee increases because the board wants to maintain a course local golfers can afford.

He said the club is working with the restaurant to offer discounts for members as an added perk for membership.

Councilor Tuggle suggested the club could partner with other groups like the recreation center or senior center to give those who were members of those organizations a discount for becoming golf club members as well.

DeSautell said the golf board has established a business development committee to help increase play at the golf course.

“We want people to come to Alamosa, to be excited about coming here to play golf,” he said.

Bervig said he hopes to see destination golfers come to Alamosa and other golf courses in the San Luis Valley to play. He said the local marketing district provided a $2,500 grant to the club for marketing and promotion and has sponsored the Cattails booth at expos in Denver and Colorado Springs.

Bervig said that in addition to promotions to draw guests from outside the Valley to play here, the club offers clinics and lessons for those in the community who may not have played before but might be interested in learning about golf and playing in the future. For example, “Get Golf Ready” lessons are available for $99 for five lessons, and corporate members like the city are entitled to two free clinics.

Bervig is also available on the range to offer free tips from 12-3 p.m. on weekends, he said.

He encouraged folks to come and try it out and said no one should feel self conscious about their abilities or lack of them.

“Golf is a lot more fun when you realize how bad everybody else is,” he said.

City councilors commended the golf board for the progress it has made and urged the board to keep the council apprised in the future of any issues that arise so they can be addressed immediately.

Likewise, DeSautell encouraged the city council to let the golf board know of concerns it might have.

“We hope we can have an open communication,” he said.

The golf board meets at 4 p.m. the third Thursday of every month at the golf club, he said. Councilman Greg Gillaspie serves as the city’s liaison with the club.

A representative of the restaurant lessee will also be attending the golf board meetings from now on.

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