Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Open? No. Why Not? Some Insight...

The first nice days of spring always rev the excitement of the coming golf season, and the first question members ask is "How do things look out there?", which is quickly followed with "When are we opening?".

With golf courses in the area starting to open their doors it only makes sense you want to know when we will be opening ours.  Every golf course is different, even those in the same area can have very different environmental conditions that will effect the decision process. I love the fact that the Island View GC membership has never been overly pressing and demanding, many have the opinion the course will open when it is ready to open and the management staff will make that call. At IVGC the management staff is the Golf Professional, Club Coordinator, & Golf Course Superintendent. The members trust us to make the right decision for the club and as a team we have revenue, membership, and course conditioning all on the table and part of the discussion.

From a Golf Course Superintendents point of view, the course is first and foremost on our minds no matter what time of year. Turf condition and the long term ramifications of early traffic and use weigh heavily on our decision to open the golf course for the season. Obviously weather plays the most important role in effecting that decision process. A few nice days scattered amongst cold days can make it much more difficult to decide that opening date. During this time of year, even though things are greening up, the turf is not growing let alone recovering from any type of damage. Cart traffic, foot traffic, divots, and ball marks won't start recovering for weeks if not months. Though the daytime temps might reach very comfortable levels, the soil temps where plants are actively growing are still too cool for any growing to take place. Traffic during the freeze/thaw cycles of spring only increase the likelihood of compaction problems later on in the season. All these items can result in poorer turf conditions, not only now but later on through the season. These areas will require more spring/summer aerification, increased fertilizer & chemical use, and higher maintenance levels then is typical. At this point we are not only considering the potential damage now but how that will affect the season to come. The decision to open the course is not as simple as asking yourself "Is it warm enough to play golf?" Our goal is to provide excellent playing conditions and an enjoyable experience throughout the year, and opening date effects that.

Just a little insight into the decision making process. And with that, we are still closed but the doors will open pretty soon.


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