Mother Nature may have thrown us a bone this week with a touch of spring-like weather, but there’s still a ways to go before local golfers will be able to hit the links.
Gannon Golf Course, like just about every other course in the Northeast, is still buried under a couple of feet of snow. The only ones happy about that are the sledders and even they might be ready to call it a day.
“We’re as anxious as everyone else to get things going,” Chris Carter, co-owner of Golf Facilities Management Inc., the company that runs Gannon Golf Course, said.
Carter said people keep asking when the course will open and the only answer he can offer up is, it depends. It depends on how the melting process progresses over the next few weeks, how low the nighttime temperatures go and whether Mother Nature has any more surprises in store.
The first step, Carter said, is for all the snow to melt and once that happens, figure out if the frost is out of the ground. Carter said if the frost isn’t out, it gets really muddy and anyone walking the course makes a “muddy mess and the ball makes dents in the greens. As of early this week, Carter said there was still about three feet of snow on the course.
Carter said on average the courses in this area tend open about the third week of March, but he has seen it go as late as two weeks into April (that year featured an early April snowstorm). In general, he said, it happens about of week after the snow has melted providing the weather cooperates.
“All we can hope for right now is for the warmth to continue,” Carter said, adding that everyone is expecting a late opening, but a good thaw next week could make a big difference.
Carter said activity at the course is already starting to pick up. Golfers have been stopping by to chat or pay up their memberships and the 19th Hole (bar) is open Thursday through Sunday. There are also plans for a St. Patrick’s function.
Although three feet of snow on ground heading into the second week in March isn’t what most golfers want to see, there is some good news. Carter said they’re hopeful the turf will be in good condition once it melts. He said it was in good shape when they closed the course and when the snow started coming in January, there was no ice on the ground. Ice under snow can kill grass rather than allowing it to lie dormant. Without the ice the snow serves as a blanket or an insulator.
As far as predictions on when the course will open, Carter said if things work out perfectly he would love to say April 1, but unfortunately there are no guarantees when it comes to Mother Nature.
“People are excited to get out there, especially those who can’t get away in the winter and are getting a little cabin fever,” Carter said.