By Burt Graeff
The recent housing boom in Vail has been a boon to many. Included among those benefiting: the del Lago Golf club. The bottom line: the more houses, the more potential golfers. The housing, parlayed with del Lago ownership pouring $1.5 million into upgrading the course over the last year, has created a marked increase in play at a time when the golf industry around the country is soft. “I can honestly say we are now truly competitive with courses like Arizona National and Sewailo (Golf Club),’’ said del Lago Director of Golf David Kromminga.
Kromminga said membership has doubled in the last year. “Right now,’’ he added, “we have outings booked every weekend through June.” Houses have sprouted up (or are proposed) along del Lago’s eighth hole (21 units) ninth hole (76 units proposed) and 10th hole (140 units proposed). In all, there have been several thousand housing starts in the Vail area over the last two years. “For a long time,’’ Kromminga said, “Vail used to be considered far out from Tucson. That is no longer the case. It has become one large community. We are getting golfers from Oro Valley, from Green Valley, from Benson.” The closing of the golf course at Davis-Monthan Air Force base in May 2018 brought more traffic to del Lago. “We do offer discounts to veterans to play golf and to dine at our restaurant,’’ Kromminga said.
Del Lago, built in the early 2000’s, is a sporty desert course with no holes running parallel to each other. “With five tee boxes,’’ Kromminga said, “golfers at all levels can feel comfortable and not get beat up.” Kromminga said there will be one significant change in the del Lago layout. The 60 bunkers totalling 115,000 square feet will be reduced. “Bunkers mean heavy maintenance man hours,’’ Kromminga said. “This will be one way to cut back on costs.” Kromminga added that del Lago recently became the seventh course in the Tucson area to be part of the First Tee program. “We’re excited about this,’’ Kromminga said. “The First Tee program is dedicated to helping the area’s underprivileged young people.”