While there has been no official action taken, it is apparent that Wyoming’s oldest golf course, the Warren base golf course, may be on the chopping block and may not reopen for next golf season.
Understandable, as the Warren course has not been a money maker, nor even a break even proposition in the recent past. The bulk of members are military and civilian retirees. For many reasons, getting young people as regular golfers continues to be a problem around the world. The length of time it takes to play and the expense involved are often sited as problems for younger people. But making it more fun for young airmen at the base course could go a long ways toward bringing more of them in on a regular basis.
Offering 6 hole or even 4 hole quick rounds, fun instruction, single scooter type golf carts, simple contests, and special activities are just some of the things that could be used to attract young airmen.
How about using that beautiful patio and clubhouse for non-golf type events geared to the younger set. Maybe that could become a location for smaller weddings, receptions and other activities.
Last summer’s golf season was especially difficult as many, many breaks in the irrigation system occurred after replacing one of the water pumps. This led to many baked out fairways, greens and tee boxes. The small groundskeeping staff worked hard to keep things going, but could not keep up with the needed repairs.
A cadre of volunteers spent many hours using a water trailer donated by Cheyenne’s Reiman Corporation to hand water the worst areas in an effort to keep the course playable. Some even brought in their own mowers to knock down the most scraggly areas of the rough.
In focus group meetings we were told the base was seeking a big Air Force grant to replace the entire irrigation system. Notification on whether that money would be awarded is due sometime this spring, but will be moot if the course closes.
As a base course member, and community member, I am hopeful some way can be found to keep the course open. If not, pressure will be put on Cheyenne’s public courses to handle the extra rounds, and some will travel out of town to golf.
As a glass half full guy, I see some potential opportunity in this situation. With the impending impact of the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent replacement for the Minuteman III ICBM system, and the new housing development by Gate 2, there will be more potential golfers/customers in proximity to Warren Golf Course.
With improvements, and good marketing and advertising, Warren’s course can be successful.
If the base wants to be out of the golf business, perhaps some sort of agreement could be made with the City of Cheyenne, or the Cheyenne Country Club to manage the course.
The Country Club land is leased from the Air Force and borders the base golf course. If base security issues can be addressed, it could be a simple thing for Country Club groundskeepers and staff to manage the base course along with their own facilities. It has even been suggested that perhaps the Air Force could create a long term land lease with the country club that would allow them to develop some golf course housing. Perhaps, something similar to the Enhanced Use Lease being used to build new housing near Warren Gate 2.
Balfor Beatty owns and manages Warren on base housing and is the developer for the coming Gate 2 area housing. Would they have any interest in an agreement to take on the base golf course?
The long term plan for the Sweetgrass housing development just south of Laramie County Community College includes a new golf course. If they are already talking to a golf course management company, would that company be interested in managing another course here?
These are some ideas that could be persued offering the benefit of economies of scale for those already in the golf/development spectrum in Cheyenne. I’m sure there are other possibilities smarter people that I could come up with. Maybe these options have already been looked at and rejected by base leadership. If so, I would encourage a second look.
In limited contact with Cheyenne Recreation and Events personel and a Country Club board member I have found a willingness from them to listen and perhaps entertain some workable ideas. Nobody wants to see the base course close. It is recognized as an asset to both the base and the community. If this asset goes away it will probably not come back. The expense involved in bringing back a defunct golf course would be prohibitive. There ought to be a way to keep this asset alive.
Granted, none of these ideas would be easy to accomplish. Any agreement would have to be a win-win for all parties involved. We all know dealing with the Air Force is not a quick nor easy process, but it can be a positive and rewarding one in the long run. A headache for Warren Air Force Base could become an opportunity for an enterprising commercial entity.