Williams is a tourist destination. Tourism drives the economy of our small town.
As a result, our amenities and attractions need to be well managed, attractive and a good value. Bad reviews on travel websites mean less visitors. Bad experiences mean folks won't likely come back for a repeat visit.
Williams has a lot going for it. The Grand Canyon Railway keeps visitors coming year round. Bearizona offers a unique wildlife experience. The Cataract Creek Gang provides fun and humorous gun fights throughout the prime tourist season. There are great places to stay and eat. And, the golf course offers 18 holes of fantastic mountain golfing.
The Williams City Council recently terminated the city's contract with current management at Elephant Rocks Golf Course. Williams City Manager Brandon Buchanan cited "missed opportunities" at the course as a reason for the early termination. He also said the course's marketing was lackluster.
Williams can't afford anything resembling lackluster marketing. In the dead of winter, tourism starts to grind to a halt. Businesses need to make their money in the fall, spring and summer.
A well run golf course is an essential part of Williams' tourism economy. A steady stream of golfers making their way up from the Valley or from Las Vegas to play in the cool pines of northern Arizona can only help.
How can Williams keep the golfers coming? By offering a golfing experience that can't be beat. Good food. Good service.
The course looks great. Really great. No problem there. But, maybe there is room for improvement in other areas.
There might be ways to market the course as a wedding destination. Sure, that's not pure golf, but diversifying the way the course brings in money is a good thing.
Williams has a lot to offer and the potential to be an even better destination for those looking to experience Route 66, the wild west and the Grand Canyon.
The status quo isn't always the best way to move forward. Let's hope shaking things up at the golf course helps make it an even better tourist draw and vital part of the Williams economy.