Cascade Golf Club owner Keven Stratton says that Orem city's plans to put in a competing 18-hole golf course haven't accelerated plans to expand Cascade to 18 holes.

He won't be counted among those who think it's a poor way to spend tax dollars. He's a champion for the sport."Golf is popular. It gains momentum each year. It's wholesome entertainment, and we need that for families," he said.

He will say he believes golf courses are better run by private enterprise and that city-owned facilities get a few more breaks than businesses like his.

"I think a golf course is something the private sector can do better. The city doesn't have to take the risks," Stratton said, as he outlined plans for the expansion and improvement of the north Orem golf course he runs.

"I'm very supportive, however, of the city's effort to put in a course, and I've expressed that."

Stratton said Cascade is not threatened by another course coming in. "We were already moving in this direction (to expand) before Orem made its decision."

If the economy stays strong and the demand for tee times stays high, both courses will do well, he said. However, if there should be a downturn, the city could bail a municipal course out.

Stratton wouldn't have that same option. Cascade would just have to hang in there during the lean times as it has periodically over the past 30 years since Stratton's father and brothers started the course.

"Golf is a long-term investment. It's not a get-rich-quick deal," he said. "Over time the value increases as the landscape and greens mature, but there is some time and investment required."

It is quite possible that an expanded Cascade course and the new municipal course could open at approximately the same time, two years from now. That would be just a coincidence and not by design, Stratton said.

Cascade is into the second phase of a three-phase master plan for the facility.

Under the first phase, additional property was purchased in the spring of 1994, a little more than 60 acres directly north of the existing course, and a golf course design firm was retained to provide possible layouts for a nine-hole mountain course.

A large row of cottonwoods and poplars was planted to create seclusion for the existing nine holes.

Moving into the second phase this past April, the name was changed from Cascade Fairways to Cascade Golf Club and Practice Facility. A new logo was in-tro-duced.

The clubhouse has been renovated, new mowers and carts were bought. Tee boxes have been extended, and some fairways newly sculpted. New sand bunkers and ponds have been added along with 200 trees.

The driving range has newly added targets and range mats.

Additional water rights are being acquired from Orem for the new nine holes.

A preliminary environmental impact study has been conducted, and Stratton has a fair estimate of what it may cost to expand into the mountainside area.

"It'll be expensive," he said. "I think it will be absolutely beautiful though. Look at the vista we have!"

He's planning to release the details and definitive design for the additional nine holes within a couple of months.

In the meantime, he's not going to be pushed into taking any kind of a stand against the city's golf course plans.

"My position is, it's a really good deal for both sides. It's a win for the city without a tax dollar in it. It's a win for us as an investment in a wonderful business."