Jim Meehan: New Prairie Falls owner keeps golf in the family
For Billy Bomar, golf is the family business.
At one time, three of the four Bomar brothers (one is deceased) were professionals. His 26-year-old daughter, Brittany, has been playing professionally for three years. Bomar has won more than 100 club tournaments, taken four swings at PGA Tour qualifying school, played on pro circuits in Europe and Asia and attempted to qualify for selected Champions Tour events.
When Bomar was looking to relocate from Anchorage, Alaska, one of his considerations was son Chase having an opportunity to play high school golf. There are junior golf programs in Alaska but not a prep season.
Mix in an intriguing listing on the PGA job-finder website for a golf course that had been for sale for years, a large airport (wife Kimberly is an Alaska Airlines flight attendant) and the family business has now set up shop in the Inland Northwest.
Bomar and partner Jerry Neeser, who grew up in Coeur d’Alene, are the new owners of Prairie Falls Golf Club in Post Falls. The Bomars purchased a home in Greenacres and Chase will attend Central Valley High.
“Our house sold in Anchorage on May 1 and we closed on the course on the same day,” said Bomar, who has been the head pro at several courses in Alaska and had an ownership stake in Settlers Bay GC in Wasilla.
Bomar decided to check out Prairie Falls in November on his way back home from a tournament in Arizona. He hooked up with realtor Mike DeLong, formerly the director of golf at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.
“Mike had just got the listing a few days before,” Bomar said. “He took me out and the course was still very playable and in good shape. It impressed me right away. I was expecting flat greens, but the more we kept driving around it was, ‘Wow, this is nice.’”
So nice that Bomar and Neeser bought the place. Bomar runs the golf operations.
“Mike was like a long-lost frat buddy,” Bomar said. “He kept the deal going if it looked a little slow at times. Anything I needed he helped out.”
The course, which opened with nine holes in 1999, wintered well and is in great condition.
“In Alaska you’re really weather dependent,” Bomar said. “If you get a nice summer, it’s great … but every other year seems to be a bad one and you’re trying to recover from it if you lose a month due to rain.”
Bomar likes Prairie Falls’ layout and has no plans for major renovations. Bunkers were spruced up recently with white sand.
Bomar has been busy with paperwork and day-to-day operations, leaving him little time to play and no time to give lessons. He expects that to change soon. He plans on competing in area tournaments and wants to make a run at qualifying for the Boeing Classic at Snoqualmie Ridge.
He’s played only three rounds this season and hasn’t taught a lesson. He was in Alaska last week running a fundraising tournament. He’ll accompany Alaska’s team to the Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey later this month.
Bomar was involved with First Tee and Get Golf Ready programs in Alaska. His junior programs typically had 600-800 participants and he hopes to do the same here.
“I like being outside the clubhouse more than inside,” he said.
Bomar admits it’s a pretty good gig – owning a golf course and eventually providing instruction and finding time to work on his own game.
“It’s kind of fun to go to work,” Bomar said. “You get here early, stay late. You’re making your own future.”
Former Clarkston High standout Joel Dahmen broke through last week for his first win in five seasons on PGA Tour Canada. He shot a back-nine 32, including a birdie on No. 18, to finish at 16 under for a one-stroke win at the PC Financial Open in Vancouver, British Columbia, the first event on the 2014 Canadian circuit. Dahmen pocketed $27,000. He was 5 under on the par-5 18th over four rounds. Dahmen is in contention at this week’s Bayview Place Island Savings Open in Victoria, B.C. He’s at 7 under and tied for sixth entering today’s third round.