Win­terkill will close Scots­dale for sum­mer

The Weekly Vista - - Front Page - LYNN ATKINS latkins@nwadg.com

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

to him.

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.

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