Storms Costing Courses Business Saving on Water Bills


PHOENIX -- The recent string of stormy weather in the Phoenix metropolitan area is helping golf courses save on water costs but costing them customers.
Scott Anderson, course superintendent at Raven at South Mountain, said his course has saved about 5.5 million gallons of water this season.
Dick Bates, general manager of Arizona Biltmore Country Club, estimated his water bill is $15,000 to $20,000 less so far this year.
But hit by nearly triple the average rainfall so far this year, some courses are reporting as much as a 40 percent drop in play.
'It's killing us,' said Jim Murphy, Gainey Ranch's golf director. 'It's not just a matter of how much rain we're getting, but when we're getting it. The weekends have been brutal.'
Murphy said rounds at Gainey Ranch, a semiprivate Scottsdale course, are down 15 to 20 percent.
Shalimar Golf Club in Tempe reported a similar drop.
Legacy Golf Resort in Phoenix is down 500 rounds from its normal pace, and Raven at Verrado in Buckeye has seen rounds slip by about 40 percent.
Silverado Golf Club in Scottsdale has seen rounds drop about 25 percent so far this year because of the rain, said Mike Elmore, the course's director of golf.
But the rain is helping cleanse high salt content from the soil, and courses are in pristine shape.
'The conditions are incredible, and we're hearing that from everyone on the days they can actually get out and play,' said Murphy. 'Once we get through this rainy spell, the people who play this spring are going to see courses that are absolutely perfect.'
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.