Co-owner Robert “Scott” Waddle plans to add four pickleball courts and a 99-site RV park to the property in place of the current driving range, with construction scheduled to begin in 90 days. A new driving range will be built between the first and ninth holes, which Waddle expects will take 18-24 months to build.
Arizona City (Ariz.) Golf Course owner Robert “Scott” Waddle is planning to add a 99-site RV park, clubhouse, and four pickleball courts to the property, the Casa Grande (Ariz.) Dispatch reported.
“And when you see the growth of something doubling like that, it’s time to get in on it,” Waddle said of the pickleball courts. “And those who do not, are the ones who are going to be left out.”
Waddle is also considering placing additional courts on another vacant golf course property. He believes pickleball can make him some money through paid memberships, tournaments, and daily fee play, and that the pickleball courts will add value to the RVer’s experience, the Dispatch reported.
The ownership group (Waddle has two other partners) was working out funding of the RV park last week, and construction should start in 90 days. The pickleball court construction should also begin soon. The planned RV park and courts will be located where the present driving range sits. Waddle plans to later place a new driving range between the first and ninth holes, moving the first hole teebox and a portion of the fairway left of their current locations, making the straightway hole a slight dogleg left, the Dispatch reported.
Golfers will hit floating range balls into a lake that will be created between the two golf holes. The current first teebox and practice greens next to the tee will be removed to create more space for the driving range and one end of the RV park. Waddle said the new driving range will take 18-24 months to build, if all goes as planned, the Dispatch reported.
To many, Arizona City is viewed as a retirement community, and much of the golf course’s dollars comes from the snowbirds during winter months. But, there are plenty of people left to play during the off-season, said the owners, including kids. The club has 150 year-around members, down about 100 from the club’s peak, the Dispatch reported.
“In Arizona City, there is still fifty percent of the community here during the summer. But, you don’t see anybody, any young people coming out to play a round of golf, and heck we’re cheap, ten, fifteen dollars for a round of golf now in the summer,” partner Michael Benedetto said.
For kids 15 and under, summer time golf is free at Arizona City, according to Waddle. With the decline in golf’s popularity affecting profit, Waddle and his wife Marina said they felt compelled to try other business ventures, the Dispatch reported.
“I think that is the only way for golf courses right now, what with all the courses closing down,” Marina Waddle said. “So, you have to look at other revenue streams to be successful.”
“You have to keep your revenue stream up, because if you don’t you’re gonna die,” Scott Waddle said. “We’ve worked hard for the last ten years, and neither of us want to have to do this for a long time, it’s stressful, we both work six, seven days a week, and we work long hours. So we have to try new things to enhance this property, and hopefully they will work out for us down the road in the future.”
Scott Waddle said the club was close to shutting down back in 2006 when he took over. Waddle said he partly jumped into golf course ownership in memory of his dad, who was a fixture at the course. And he promised his father, who died in 1997, he’d stay close to his mother, who at 87-year-old helps out at, and lives, just off the course, the Dispatch reported.
“I think Scott’s father would be very proud of him, all that’s he done here with this golf course,” Frieda Waddle said of her son.