Friends of Indian Canyon Golf Course says it will match the city’s contribution with $2 million of its own to improve the 80-year-old Spokane, Wash., golf course, and bring national golf events to the city. The group plans to modernize the golf course, clubhouse, and irrigation system, and possibly build a new events center.
Friends of Indian Canyon Golf Course wants $4 million from the city Park Board to repair and improve the 80-year-old course in Spokane, Wash., saying it will match the outlay with $2 million of its own and bring national golfing events to the city, the Spokane-based Spokesman-Review reported.
The group, which asked the board for the funding at a meeting last week, said the money would fully modernize the golf course, clubhouse and irrigation system, and possibly build a new events center and entrance. The goal is to bring a major national golf event to the course by 2020, the Spokesman-Review reported.
The poor state of the course has been a source of griping and troubles at the city for years. Most recently, Gary Lindeblad, the golf pro at the course, successfully argued that the “severe maintenance issues” at the course had cut into his revenue, which is dependent on green fees and cart rentals. This spring, the city paid him nearly $108,000, settling his claim, the Spokesman-Review reported.
Beyond that, many lament the breakdown of a once great course that used to be home to United States Golf Association and PGA Tour events, and was named the sixth-best public golf course in the nation by Golf Digest in 1981. In their presentation, Friends of Indian Canyon said the course could again be “one of the premier golf experiences in the United States,” the Spokesman-Review reported.
“Our purpose is to be partners with you,” said Steve Prugh, the longtime Manito Golf and Country Club golf pro who spoke to the Park Board on behalf of Indian Canyon. Prugh, who said he grew up playing at Indian Canyon, estimated that the $6 million in improvements could deliver $1.2 million in annual revenue and attract the Champions, Ladies Professional Golf Association or Web.com golf tours, the Spokesman-Review reported.
Eric Sawyer, president and CEO of the Spokane Sports Commission, also spoke in favor of the $6 million improvement plan, saying it would “improve it to a true championship level.”
“It brings Indian Canyon back to what it once was: a destination facility,” Sawyer said. “We have been on their target list for years,” referring to the Professional Golf Association.
Dave Saraceno, with the Indian Canyon group, said the estimated $6 million for needed renovations came from a 2011 report, done by California-based golf course architect Dan Hixson, which was requested and paid for by the Northern Quest Resort and Casino. The report, a hole-by-hole analysis of the course, said the course needed more than $3.5 million in upgrades, including $1.5 million for its outdated irrigation system, the Spokesman-Review reported.
Northern Quest, which is owned by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, issued the report when it was considering sponsoring the golf course, a public-private agreement that would have been a first for the city. Since then, it has abandoned this effort and instead is buying the Spokane Country Club and its 18-hole golf course along the Little Spokane River, the Spokesman-Review reported.
“We have to renovate it to make it a modern course,” Saraceno said. “It will generate dollars down the road.”
Park Board members appeared to be open to the proposal. Ken Van Voorhis, a landscape architect who sits on the Park Board’s golf committee, called the renovations a “lofty goal” but signaled his support. “I think it’s a good starting point,” he said. “There’s some discussion to be had.”
Preston Potratz, chairman of the board’s golf committee, also seemed to be in support. “I’m excited to see where this goes,” he said.