Future Looks Bright for Mather GC

The upcoming addition of 36,000 new homes near Mather Golf Course is making the facility’s owner, Sacramento County, believe positive things will be happening soon.

The former military layout is now owned by the county, which spent $6 million to acquire the 18-hole course from the U.S. Air Force in 1994. Due to a nearly $340,000 budget shortfall in 2002, however, the county renegotiated the purchase and reduced the sale price to $4.4 million. Although the county had set aside funds for the original price of the property, the $1.6 million saved has been used for new equipment and on-course improvements.

This year, Mather is making money, netting $439,769 after expenses in 2003-04. Total revenues were $2.74 million. Sacramento County, which also owns and operates the Ancil Hoffman and Cherry Island courses, utilizes an enterprise system for its golf program. Such a system is independent of the county’s general fund, thus enabling revenues generated by the facilities to be reinvested in capital improvements.

Local golfers have noticed the improvements at Mather. “I think it’s just gotten better,” Mike Callahan of Lincoln told Molly Dugan of the Sacramento Bee. Callahan, who’s played Mather for 15 years, added, “Everyone I know who comes out here feels the same way.”

Carol Hegner has been playing the course for 30 years. She, too, has enjoyed the enhanced playing conditions. “We used to go through up to our knees in water,” Hegner said. “They really take care of it now.”

The course is overseen by CourseCo Inc., which has a contract with Sacramento County for Mather’s maintenance and operations. According to general manager, Paul Henderson, more upgrades are on the way pending the expected increase in green fee revenues. Future plans include a new irrigation system, remodeled greens and clubhouse improvements.

Like the county officials, Henderson expects Mather’s round counts to go up with the new homes. “You need a lot more growth around a golf course to see a spike in rounds,” Henderson told the Bee. “But Mather is well-situated with all the growth taking place off Sunrise (Boulevard).”