Future of Gavilan College golf course out of the rough?

Todd Peterson, from Hollister, putts on the green at hole eight

For as long as Gavilan College President Steve Kinsella can
remember, the 25 acres south of campus have been home to a par 3
golf course. But for now, the future of the course is a question
mark.
For as long as Gavilan College President Steve Kinsella can remember, the 25 acres south of campus have been home to a par 3 golf course. But for now, the future of the course is a question mark.

In good years, the college has made as much as $30,000 by renting the course out to an independent operator. The operator rented the course, maintained the grounds and reaped the profits. But these days, the college is having trouble finding people to run the course without even charging a rental fee.

That contract expires later this month and Gavilan staff is hoping to secure a contract with another operator for at least six more months, Kinsella said.

Don DeLorenzo, general manager of Gilroy Golf Course, said he has reached a deal with Gavilan College.

“Gavilan and I have worked out a deal for me to operate the course over the next nine months to give them time to weigh all their options. So Gavilan golf course will be open Monday morning November 1st for business just like usual,” stated DeLorenzo in an e-mail sent to the Gilroy Dispatch at 4:18 p.m. Thursday.

Finding someone to maintain the course hasn’t been easy, said Gavilan spokeswoman Jan Bernstein-Chargin.

“The real big value is that they maintain the land,” Bernstein-Chargin said. “But it’s not a whole lot of income for the college.”

Complete with a driving range and a small clubhouse, the walkable course costs $17 for nine holes and $23 for 18 on weekends. Weekday rates run $13 for nine holes and $18 for 18.

Low rates and a 90- to 120-minute playing time make the course an ideal venue for working golfers, according to the course’s website.

Still, the sleepy course “doesn’t generate enough business to support itself,” Kinsella said. “The economy has changed and golf has never been a real moneymaker.”

In recent years, the college has discussed developing the land for residential housing to support an educational program targeting older adults. But direction from the state chancellor discouraging community colleges from getting involved in older adult programs caused Gavilan staff to take another look at possibilities for the swath of land, Kinsella said.

Though Kinsella is waiting to hear suggestions from the college’s academic senate later this year, he said he hopes future plans will support Gavilan’s educational program and generate further student enrollment.

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