Winterkill will close Scotsdale for summer
The past winter was hard on Bella Vista Golf courses, the joint advisory committee on golf learned at its May meeting. Golf maintenance director Keith Ihms let them know how hard it was.
The average temperature was well below normal in January, February and March, Ihms said. All the courses had some winter kill, mostly on the collars around the greens and the tees. His department has already installed 21,000 square feet of sod and will install at least another 10,000 square feet.
Scotsdale was especially hard hit, Ihms said.
The course was renovated and reopened in October 2016 with new Bermuda greens replacing the bent grass greens. Bermuda grass is less resistant to cold weather and the greens were covered with a tarp when temperatures dropped below freezing. In spite of the tarp, some grass was killed, and 14 greens must be reseeded, Ihms said.
Darryl Muldoon, the supervisor at Scotsdale and golf operations manager, said that while this was the second winter for the Bermuda greens, it was actually the first bad winter. In 2016-17, there was little cold weather. But this past year, there were periods of consecutive cold days and even the covered greens were affected. The year-old greens are still considered young. After a few years, the greens may become more tolerant to the weather changes.
The course will be closed to allow the new grass to be planted and to grow in. It takes a minimum of eight to 10 weeks for the grass to grow in, Ihms said, but the course will probably be closed a little longer. The course will be closed right away to prepare for the new grass. It may reopen in September.
While the course is closed, one hole that has been a problem for some golfers will be corrected, Ihms said. The slope on number 12 will be minimized.
Golf operations director Phillip Wright said a few members have complained about the new tags that are tied onto the cart when a member pays for a round of golf. He reminded the committee that his department heard about golfers playing rounds without paying at the pro shop.
Since the courses once again have play managers — part-time employees on the course working directly with golfers — the tags are an easy way to confirm if someone has paid for his or her round. In fact, Wright said, play managers don’t have to speak to golfers if they can see the tag.
At least one member has refused to allow the tag to be placed on his cart. When Wright called that member to discuss the problem, the member refused to speak
When a member of the committee asked about the authority of play managers, general manager Tom Judson said that customer service never begins with a “heavy hand.” Play managers always start with a polite request. In the past, Judson said, he has called members himself to discuss issues. At some point, a member’s privileges can be suspended if he refuses to comply with the course rules.