City plans to open Bijou Golf Course after 2 year hiatus

The city of South Lake Tahoe is planning to open the Bijou Golf Course this year after it has been closed for the past two seasons.
Bill Rozak/Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — After being closed for two years, the city of South Lake Tahoe is planning on opening Bijou Golf Course.

“We have prepared our budget and we’re working to open the course this year,” said City Manager Joe Irvin.

The course did not open in 2020 due to COVID-19 and last year, as the pandemic began to subside, staffing the course over other areas was not a priority, officials told the Tribune in July 2021.

While the City owns the golf course, it doesn’t own the parking lot and negotiations are ongoing with the property owner on a lease agreement.

Irvin said he is offering the property owner a 3-year lease at $19,161 for 2022, similar to leases from the past. For 2023 and 2024, Irvin said the rental fee will be adjusted based on U.S. Department of Labor for Urban Wage Earners, San Francisco Index.

But the owner has countered with a 20-year contract at $25,000 per year.

Irvin said he told the owner he would bring both contracts to the City Council for its next meeting on Tuesday, May 3, but planned on recommending the 3-year option.

Irvin said with the progress they’ve made on the Bijou/Al Tahoe Community Plan that things could change in three years.

It costs the city about $300,000 per year to operate the course, which fluctuates depending on spring snowmelt. The course usually makes an annual profit of about $20,000.

But over the last 10 years (2009-2019) when the course was open, rounds played have decreased by more than 65%, from 19,107 in 2009 to 6,188 in 2019, a city official said last year.

Since the course last operated, management has changed to parks and recreation from public works.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.