The golf course finally opened on May 17-just in time for our first rainy period of the year. The course came through the long winter season very well with minimal damage which is something to be very thankful for. The challenge with a late opening-such as we are having this year-is the reduced amount of time to get the course ready for play. Normally we can start working on the golf course a solid month before we open. This year we had sixteen days. Thankfully, we have a very experienced and dependable crew that handled this challenge with relative ease. The golf course would be nothing without them and all of us owe them a huge debt of gratitude for a job well done.
Conditions being what they are, we have decided to not perform aeration on putting greens this spring. While this is not something that should be done with any regularity, we can afford to skip spring aerification once every four of five years thanks to our decent control of fertility, regular topdressing program, and our normal practice of deep tine aerification in the fall after we close. That being said, avoiding spring aerification is not something that we want to make a habit of and so please do not expect this every year.
As we move into the golfing season, we would be remiss not to mention the need to respect both the golf course and your fellow player. On Saturday the 18, we noted that virtually no divots were repaired/seeded on the golf course-particularly the Par 3 tees. It seems as though the prevailing attitude among many of today’s golfers is that doing these tasks is “not my job” and that it is the golf course worker’s job. The fact of the matter is that both should take responsibility for these tasks. Back when golf started, there was very little done in regards to golf course maintenance. What few golf course workers on site were busy just keeping the golf course mowed and playable. Divots, ballmarks, and raking bunkers after playing in them were solely the players’ responsibility and knowing this, golfers took it upon themselves to build the tradition of repairing their own damage-to leave the course better than when they arrived. This meant a better course for everyone. Gradually over the decades, this tradition of respect has eroded to what it appears to be today. In the days when golf was booming in the 80’s and 90’s, this was not as noticeable as golf course maintenance had the money and manpower to compensate for this lack of care. Superintendents would simply assign staff to cover for these lapses. Different story these days as budgets are tighter and staff is not as plentiful. Maintaining a golf course costs a lot of money both in supplies and labor and revenues have not grown at the same pace to support these costs. All this being said, we are asking for help from all of you to revive the tradition of respecting the golf course-not just at the Wilderness but at any facility you may play at. Golf, after all, is a game of tradition and by embracing traditions we richen the experience not just for ourselves but for other players around us as well.
Thank you for your patronage and hope to see you soon.
Vincent Dodge CGCS