CURTIS C. WYNNE/NEWS-SUN
EUNICE — Starting next year, Eunice’s city-owned Coyote Crossing Golf Club will sell alcohol to golfers, but with strict rules.
Pro Shop Manager Marsha Robinson on Monday presented ideas for a proposed ordinance to the city council with four regulations she hopes to promulgate. The city recently acquired a liquor license for the golf course in an effort to gain some control over an increasing usage of alcohol and inherent problems at the course.
City Attorney Tommy Parker told the council Monday certain state laws must be enforced in order for the city to retain the license. He encouraged Robinson, who has more than 20 years experience in alcohol sales and service, to develop a plan for rules.
“I wanted her to bring it before the council so you guys will be aware of her ideas,” Parker said. “We can put together an ordinance that sets out specifically what this says. I think it’s a good idea because we (need) some structure, especially since we do have a liquor license out there, … We need to make really certain people comply with the law.”
Robinson’s recommended first rule, tied to the state law, prohibits personal coolers on the golf course.
Coolers and ice will be provided by the pro shop free with purchase of alcohol, or rented for $1 to non-drinkers who bring their own water or soft drinks. All coolers must be returned to the pro shop or the golfer will be charged $10 for replacement.
The second rule recommended by the pro shop manager strictly prohibits any alcohol being brought onto the course if not purchased at the pro shop.
“Any person breaking this rule will be dealt with in a three-step process,” Robinson said. “The first offense will result in the person to be asked to leave the course immediately. No refunds will be issued.”
A second offense of bringing one’s own drinks to the course would result in being banned from the course for 30 days. A third offense would result in a one-year ban.
A golfer may appeal the third offense punishment only to the city council, Robinson suggested.
Robinson told the councilors, “If it’s the third time and we catch them and we ban them for one year, they have to come and be heard by ya’ll and explain to you guys and the city at large, ‘Okay, I broke your rules three times and I don’t agree with the punishment.’”
She anticipates few if any third-offense cases since members of the club likely will have become aware of the rules and her insistence on compliance. Once the rules are finalized, signs will be posted, she said.
More economic in nature, Robinson’s third rule refers to book credits, popular during tournaments, which will be used only for the purchase of memberships, cart rentals and merchandise, not alcohol, other drinks or snacks.
Introducing her fourth rule, Robinson said, “The pro shop/golf course is not a bar. The alcohol will only be sold to players and gallery at tournaments. We do not have the staff or space to have the general public stopping in for drinks.”
Robinson noted that while pro shop hours can be changed on a case by case basis during tournaments at the discretion of the manager, daily hours will not change.
“The players have all been very respectful of making sure that they are off site by dark or shortly after and I see no reason why this would not continue in the future,” Robinson said.
Asked how the rules will be enforced, Robinson took responsibility. She said she has renewed her license every three years since first acquiring it at age 21 and she has the experience.
Police Chief Casey Arcidez, seated quietly in the back corner of the council chambers throughout the discussion, responded when asked what if the police have to be called.
“If the police are called, somebody’s going to jail,” Arcidez said.
Other state liquor laws also will apply, Robinson pointed out, such as no city employees allowed to drink alcohol at the golf course while on duty. By law, that includes city councilors and the mayor, as well as volunteers, Robinson said.
“The one thing that is not up for any discussion is when somebody is told they’re cut off, they’re cut off,” Robinson said. “If it’s one of the girls that work for me that cuts them off, I cannot overrule them and I wouldn’t expect anybody to try. That’s a standing rule anywhere you go. A person’s license is on the line.”
Parker, the city attorney, assured the council the city’s liquor license depends on ensuring compliance with state liquor laws.
“We need to make a good faith effort every day,” Parker said. “People are going to appreciate the beer, but they’re not going to appreciate the fact that we have to enforce the rules to keep our license.”
Parker told the News-Sun an ordinance could be brought before the council for first reading in December or January. It would only become effective 30 days after a second reading and approval.
Meanwhile, councilors will consider possible changes, if any, to Robinson’s recommendations.