NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — It’s 8 a.m. and already there are at least a dozen golfers across the course getting in a round before the heat of the day arrives. The sights and sounds of F-15s taking off just about where the golf course starts don’t seem to bother the regulars.
A green oasis in the desert, the Nellis Sunrise Vista Golf Course is a relaxing refuge from the daily military grind.
With two courses of nine holes each and a new four-hole par 3 course, the area is built for first timers to regulars. During the last 12 months, the golf course has invested $700,000 in improvements, including renovated “bunkers” or sand boxes, a fairway project, a new driving range canopy and new golf carts. These projects and purchases came from non-appropriated funds, cost shares and the Air Combat Command’s small project fund. All of these projects were years in the making to give the active-duty and retired community a place to unwind and meet up with friends.
Steve Griffith, 99th Force Support Squadron golf course manager, wants people to come out and see what Sunrise Vista has to offer.
“We just ask that they come back out and give us a chance and see the improvements we’ve made [during] the past two years,” he said.
Its prices, amenities and community involvement make Sunrise Vista a place where members feel welcome.
“It’s the cheapest place for me to golf, and I have a lot of retired friends that I get to see coming here,” said retired Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Hal Hoyle who comes to the golf course five days a week. “I would definitely recommend it.”
Sunrise Vista also offers breakfast specials six days a week, serves lunch daily as well as catering for change of command ceremonies, retirements, weddings, and other social events. They have an indoor seating area with wrap around windows overlooking the course and nearby mountains. Just outside is a stone patio with plenty of covered seating and its own grill.
Retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. John Elam comes three times a week to meet friends and enjoys playing golf on base.
“It’s best to play at a military golf course if you’re military. I’d rather play here than downtown,” Elam said.
The golf course has a fully stocked pro shop and can order equipment as well with the military discount already given by the manufacturer.
“We can generally beat any price out there for a newer model club,” Griffith said.
Annual membership prices vary by rank and it covers all the green fees for a year, 10 percent off merchandise and one extra day to reserve tee times.
The golf course can average 4,000 rounds a month during the peak season and 2,200 during the colder or oppressively hot months.
From tournaments and fundraisers to the men and women’s golf clubs, and also the lessons and programs offered to Airmen and families, the course has something for everyone to enjoy.
For those not sure yet if they like golf, are just beginning the sport or just want to have some carefree fun, the new par 3 course is perfect.
“Basically this course is going to be geared towards women, juniors, and people who want to learn how to play but are afraid of the full golf course,” Griffith said.
The staff is also hoping to use the par 3 for the lunchtime crowd.
“We are going to try and create a lunchtime golf league for the par 3 so active duty or civilians that work on base, [who] only have 35-40 minutes can come and play a quick round of golf,” he said.
The grand opening for the par 3 course will be May 3, and free golf will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“It’s close and convenient and the practice facilities are very nice especially now that the grass is coming in. It looks very nice, and it’s a nice spot to practice,” said Staff Sgt. Jesse, who has been golfing for 12 years.
He recommends that more Airmen use this golf course.
“Definitely to support the local course for sure, the prices are reasonable, the course is usually in decent condition, [and] now it’s getting even better,” Jesse said.
For more information about the Sunrise Vista golf course, visit http://nellisforcesupport.com/Golf_Course.html.