Hank The Cowdog would say.
It's a little after 6 pm here in Eye-Dee-Hoe and we just checked Ye Ol' Inbox. Here's a plaintive note from Maggie:
"Have you been at the golf course all day? Have the aliens that invaded your body taken you off in their space vehicle? You have no posts today!"
Sorry, Maggie, no alien abduction....yet. And, nope, we only spent 15 minutes at the golf course...but more on that later.
Today's been a blurry mish-mash of mixed metaphors. A little bit of this and a little bit of that--a veritable potpourri! LBRs will be happy to know we did not buy any more golf stuff today but Susun did. OH, NO!
Don't worry, she only spent a dollar on a novelty item "just for grins."
We both LOVED the negatory comments rec'd about our new madcap golf goofiness. Keep 'em coming, LBRs, you're our ONLY Hope!
Well, our erstwhile city operates 3 municipal courses and is projected in the next fiscal year to generate a $1,837,000 income solely from those three properties. (Click here to see the full city budget.) Being on the city's Parks & Recreation Commission, I get to hear the insider details on the operation of this business. It's a giant undertaking that employs one heck of a lot of people. The city is very conservative so the golf courses always operate pretty much in the black every year. The upcoming year is projected to be a $45,000 deficit. Normally, whatever tiny profits they might make are rolled back into the either capital outlay or O&M. The cool, wet spring put them behind the 8-ball this year. It's quite a fascinating process, actually. I'm not exactly on the Board of Directors of a golf corporation but it's close enough to feel like the real thing.
Each of the three courses has quite an interesting pedigree. The oldest dates to 1936 and is rated the top municipal course in Idaho and one of the top city courses in the Intermountain West. Sand Creek was finished 30 years ago and it's out in a dune field south of the city. Sage Lakes is the newest one and it's way out north of the city. I've never been there. We've cross country skied Sand Creek but I've not been there during the golf season until today. It was a very interesting visit. (Click here for the city website that describes its courses.)
Green fees at all three courses are $18 for 18 holes. You can buy a bucket of balls for $3.50 at Sand Creek but their putting and chipping areas are free to all. Meanwhile, Sand Creek operates a six hole "juniors course." Get this--the fee for this course is a mere $3.25. Whoever thought to add the 25 cents must be a real bean counter. I am obviously not now and probably never going to be in any condition or shape or skill to play a real golf course. Nor would I have the attention span to do so. But the juniors course has really caught my attention. Why? Well, after school starts there's NO ONE on it. I mean NO ONE. Meanwhile, there's no scorecards, no pars, no nothing. It's just a great place to go goof off. The little "holes," such as they are, are maybe each 75-100 yards long. It's kind of like expanded miniature golf without anyone waiting behind you or looking over your shoulder. Meanwhile, there's a great bar and grill on the course and a real laid back pro shop, too.
Sand Creek is precisely 4.5 miles from our house so one round trip in the Zuki would cost about a dollar in gasoline. To be able to go goof off knocking a small white sphere around some green grass for a couple of hours for about five bucks strikes me as a really good deal.
Now, let's talk about water. Water here is SOOO plentiful it's unreal. No one in the City of Idaho Falls has a water meter. You pay $21 a month and you get ALL the water you care to use. If you feel like running all your hoses 24/7, nobody cares and nobody minds. Why? Because we are at the head of the Snake River with incredible water rights and incredible water resources. The nice thing to know is that ALL the water that's used in this city is returned almost immediately to the Snake River aquifer. In affect, we are simply borrowing the water for a little while as it continues its downstream journey to the Pacific to complete and renew the vaunted Water Cycle.
Even though water is so plentiful and cheap here, the city has been very diligent in reducing its consumption and reducing things like evapotranspiration and so forth. They are really smart irrigators and use computers and all manner of high tech stuff to maximize the water's efficiency. Ditto the chemicals they use and all of the rest of the equation. The more I have learned about the "innards" of how the city manages its turf grass, the more impressed I have become with this place. There are some smart, caring people in at the wheel of this ship and they have my total confidence and respect.
Before I moved to Idaho Falls, my image of golf was one of rampant wastefulness and one of utter disregard for the lower classes. Golf was a rich man's sport and the snobs that built the courses priced "everyman" right out of the picture. I mean can you imagine some developer in Arizona maintaining a juniors course with a $3.25 green fee? Come on, get real, that wouldn't happen in 1,000 years or more. But here, it's just the way it is. This is a Family City and they pay extra to do stuff to help parents entertain their kids. You would be amazed at the stuff this city has for its children. It's awesome and "almost" makes me wanna be a kid again. Oh, well, people say we are Big Kids anyway, so what's the difference?
I checked today and it's legal and welcome for me to play the kid's course at Sand Creek. For a Big Kid like me, that's pretty danged good news. I can hardly wait! No scorecard, no pars, no nothing! No people, just me. How good is that? Very good. (Photos described below them.)
To have this type of resource a mere 4.5 miles from our front door really begs to use it. I mean $3.25 for six short holes? And $3.50 for a bucket of balls? Geeze. Who wouldn't want to enjoy themselves with sweeping views of Mount Taylor and the Snake Highlands out on the ancestral dunes of the Snake River Plain in a place like this?