It has been a long time coming, but the course is showing signs of waking from its winter slumber.  It has been a slow start and the forecast is not showing signs of breaking that pattern yet.  Temperatures in the 50s will be hard to come by over the next couple of weeks.  Conditions have only allowed for a short period of time on the golf course to begin cleanup of leaves and branches.  We have not set a date for opening the greens yet.  We will need a few days of good weather to get on the greens before we can open them.  Check back for updates.

Overall, the course has come through the winter well.  However, we have been left with evidence of the severity of the weather patterns of the past few months.  While the greens and tees are fine, there are some areas in the fairways that look very weathered.  These are areas in the shade where snow sat for extended periods, or drainage patterns where ice formed.  The recovery of these areas will depend on when warmer temperatures begin to stick around.  Here are some photos of the worst areas around the course.  Again, they look bad now, but will heal as weather permits.

Slowly but surely we are gradually seeing more grass on the course.  A favorable forecast this week looks like that slow and steady melt will continue.  With so much snow left to melt, frozen soil and saturated conditions, we cannot speculate yet on a potential opening date for the course.  One thing we are expecting - once the course is open, it will be a slow spring.

This picture was taken this morning and show how much is left to melt yet.  This picture also shows what we are seeing in spots as the snow does recede.  The brownish area of fairway grass in the middle of the picture exhibits signs of grass that has succumbed to the winter weather.  We are seeing small areas like this in fairway drainage areas around the course.  I suspect more areas will exhibit similar signs as more can be seen.  Plugs have been take from these areas to see exactly how much damage has been done.

This is not the first time this type of damage has been observed on the course.  This picture was take during the spring of 2010 (blog post here).  The brown spots are patches of annual bluegrass, similar to the picture above.  Annual bluegrass is more susceptible to winter stresses than the bentgrass.  I anticipate seeing several spots around the fairways display this type of damage.  If we do find this type of damage once the snow melts, we will take the opportunity to sod and seed bentgrass into these areas.  The result however, will be a slow spring start to the season.

These are the only observations we have to this point.  We still have several areas covered in ice and snow.  None of the tees or greens show any observable damage from the winter.  However, 1 green, 5 green and 10 green are still covered in snow.  We will have more pictures up this week.  I am sure you are just as anxious to see some grass on the course as we are.
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