I am pleased to report that the golf course endured the winter season quite well. We had some staff on hand to remove covers from putting greens and found, as usual, that the turf underneath was not dead. It was, in fact, very green and healthy.
3 Green April 7, 2017. Note burned area in background.
Note the areas of the rough that the greens cover protected from the long winters up here. These covers really do make a difference but they can have their downsides. The first downside is the labor involved in both installing and removing the covers. Labor costs to both install and remove these covers from all putting greens and the practice tee amount to close to $5000 each year. In these days of tight golf course budgets, this is no sum to laugh at. In addition, covers can result in some years in excessive growth underneath the covers which results in greens which are tougher to dial in to being the smooth surfaces many of you have come to expect. This was the case in 2016 when we were unable to remove the covers until April 14th due to weather conditions. This year we were able to remove the covers on April 3rd and 4th and doing so has allowed us to minimize this problem. I would like to offer a sincere thank you to all staff that came in to help us to get this done. I am honored to work with you all.
Another rite of spring at the Wilderness is the open field burning of many of the deep rough fescue areas of the golf course. Fine leaf fescues which we have in these areas build up large levels of thatch over the years and the only practical way (given our limited resources) of removing this excessive organic matter is through burning.
Not only is there an agronomic benefit from this burning but there is also an enhancement to golf course playability after we perform this work. As many of you know, we have many rock faces in play on the golf course and when the grass gets excessively thick and long it can be very easy to lose a ball in these areas. This burning serves to clear out these areas of excessive grass accumulation and make finding your ball much easier.
Hole 16. April 6, 2017
16 is a great example of this as clearing these areas of old growth will make it much easier to find the occasional errant shot.
I am very pleased that this winter is finally over. While on paper this winter was little different than previous ones, even a typical winter in Tower these days has me feeling like the guy below.
I look forward to working with the crew this spring to bring you the best product we possibly can for the 2017 golf season. You deserve nothing less.
See you on the golf course.