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Opening the Golf Course...

At this time of year the question always arises “When are we going to open the golf course?” Each and every year the opening date is based upon a number of factors.

Moisture: We at HCC immediately think of moisture. Being a heavy clay based property, we tend to hold onto the moisture from the winter snow, rains etc. The club has invested a large amount of capital funding into a drainage project that has mitigated a lot of previously experienced issues, but there is still a lot of property not completely drained. In the spring there is a large amount of water at or just below the surface of the turf due to the fact that it hasn’t dried out in over 6 months. Traffic on this turf can result in heavy, more permanent damage like root shear and rutting. To open the golf course we feel that waiting for at least one drying event prior to opening protects us from this type of damage.

Growth and recovery: In the early spring the soil temperatures are obviously very low. Turf growth does not begin until the soil temperature reaches a consistent 10-18C. Therefore traffic and play on cool soils can result in damage unable to recover on its own. Once the soils warm up and the turf is growing, we feel that the golf course is one step closer to be ready for play.

Debris clean up: The winter of 2018 treated the entire property very well. Our crew was able to efficiently clean up all debris in just a few days. Unfortunately the day we completed the task a 2 day wintery ice storm hit. The result of that storm left the property far messier than the entire winter had. A solid 6 days of clean up followed the storm. The rains also soaked the golf course to the point that it was not possible to get vehicles out to pick up the debris. As soon as we were able to traffic the property for clean up, we did. Clearing the golf course free of sticks, fallen limbs and downed trees makes the property safer and more playable, therefore one step closer to opening.

Standards: Highland CC is one of the best private golf clubs in southwestern Ontario. As a department we feel that there is a definite standard condition that the golf course and our membership deserves to be open and ready for play. Once all of the previously mentioned factors/situations are achieved the grooming and preparations begin. We feel that all of our short grass areas (greens, tees, approaches, collars, fairways) should be mowed at least 2-3 times prior to play. This task presents our feature playing surfaces at a condition that our club deserves. The winter can take a toll on bunkers..snow, debris and heavy rains make hard work to bring the bunkers to a playable condition. Completing a thorough bunker routine gets us one step closer to opening. These standards are what sets our club in the position that it deserves and belongs.

As you can see preparing the golf course for opening is a well established and planned task. This season has brought upon us a colder, delayed start than in previous years. Out team has worked efficiently and effortlessly to ready golf course for the enjoyment of our membership, while protecting the investment for the long term of the season.

2018 Opening Day: Thursday, April 26th


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