Local golfers say more public courses are needed

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- If you are a fan of public access golf courses, you may have noticed there are fewer options than about a decade ago.

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Local golfers are worried that trend may continue. October 25, 2017, local golfers held a State of the Union on local golf to shed light on the dwindling number of public golf courses in Washoe County.

It's a concern for those hoping to make golf more accessible for those who can't afford to join a country club.

"It's coming to a point where we see it as a crisis in public golf," said Mike Mazzaferri, local PGA professional.

Mazzaferri says in the last 11 years, five public access golf courses have shut down. He is worried that trend may continue.

"The wrong kind of courses are closing. All of the affordable public access courses are going away. There may come a time where there are not any public courses anymore," said Mazzaferri.

He and other public golfing fans say Wildcreek Golf Course could be the next one to join that list, if the Washoe County School District decides to build a high school there.

"All the members of Save Wildcreek committee want the schools built for the kids. We simply oppose how the projects are being approached," said a concerned citizen.

The ‘Save Wildcreek’ committee was also at the meeting to raise concerns regarding the school being located at Wildcreek.

Mazzaferri says if Wildcreek is lost, there will only be two public courses left, Washoe County and Sierra Sage Golf Courses.

"Nobody goes and joins a private Country Club and says 'By the way, you need to teach me how to play golf.' They go learn golf at a public facility and then they move up into the fancier higher end course," said Mazzaferri.

The owner of the Wildcreek Golf Course, Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, says it loses around $200,000 to $300,000 a year.

Mazzaferri believe the course can be saved, if run by a professional golf management company.