Thunder Valley tribe buys Whitney Oaks golf course

From the Sacramento Bee - April 5, 2012


"Whitney Oaks rounds out the resort aspect of Thunder Valley," said Doug Elmets, a spokesman for the tribe.

The deal should be a boost for Whitney Oaks, which has been neglected in recent months by its previous owner, the Carlsbad-based Bright Star Golf Group. Elmets said course fees should be unaffected and that most of the current employees will stay on after the transition.

"Anyone who has been to Thunder Valley knows the tribe only does things first class," Elmets said.

Elmets said the tribe was approached about buying Whitney Oaks in the past, but as the price dropped the deal increasingly made good business sense.

Elmets said the tribe was approached about buying Whitney Oaks in the past, but as the price dropped the deal increasingly made good business sense.

 

The tribal owners of Thunder Valley Casino have added a golf course to their resort portfolio with the purchase of Whitney Oaks Golf Club in Rocklin for $3.95 million.

While a spokesman for the United Auburn Indian Community made clear it was the tribe making the purchase, it's also clear that the two operations will be linked. Whitney Oaks is 6.3 miles by road from Thunder Valley.

"Whitney Oaks rounds out the resort aspect of Thunder Valley," said Doug Elmets, a spokesman for the tribe.

Along with Thunder Valley's hotel, spa, pool and entertainment, the golf course adds another offering aimed at luring out-of-town guests to the gambling operation.

The deal should be a boost for Whitney Oaks, which has been neglected in recent months by its previous owner, the Carlsbad-based Bright Star Golf Group. Elmets said course fees should be unaffected and that most of the current employees will stay on after the transition.

The tribe said it intends to upgrade the current fleet of sputtering golf carts, purchase new equipment to make course maintenance more efficient and refine the clubhouse.

"Anyone who has been to Thunder Valley knows the tribe only does things first class," Elmets said.

Elmets said the tribe was approached about buying Whitney Oaks in the past, but as the price dropped the deal increasingly made good business sense.

"This was a great opportunity for us to acquire and preserve one of the finest golf courses in the region," tribe chairman David Keyser said in a prepared statement. "The UAIC is committed to working with the stable workforce at Whitney Oaks and continuing to provide unparalleled service to our valued customers."

Elmets said it's important to the tribe that outside amenities make business sense and not divert player from the gambling floors. Elmets said the golf course fit the bill.

The United Auburn Indian Community isn't the first casino-owning tribe to get into the golf game. Cache Creek in Brooks has Yocha Dehe, and Rolling Hills in Corning has Sevillano Links.

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