Since the New Year, storm after storm has hammered Colchester County, leaving heaps upon heaps of snow behind. With spring now in the air and the mercury north of zero, most of the area is done digging out and have put Winter 2015 far out of mind.
But not the golf courses.
Scattered across the fairways and under cover of trees, piles of snow remain on courses across the county. Cox, now operations manager at the Truro course, said the big concern is the greens.
“Things are going pretty good here now, but for a while it was concerning,” Cox said. “Underneath all the snow there was a pretty thick layer of ice, so when the snow melts, the ground beneath the ice starts to heat up.”
The change in temperature can lead to mould and fungus buildup on the greens, particularly Fusarium patch – a pinkish white mould known for infecting turf grass.
To prevent this, the Truro Golf Club, along with several other courses in the province, used snowblowers to clear the piles off the greens and let the sun erode the ice. For local managers like Cox and Mountain Golf’s Ross Percy, it was the first time they’ve ever had to use blowers.
Aside from concerns with mould and fungus, there’s also the worry of losing potential members, Percy said.
“People are always keen so they go to open courses,” he said. “Any time you are opening later than anyone else, you run the risk of losing that customer.”
In Brookfield, course manager Richard Sutherland and his crew are still busy clearing snow. Several tee boxes throughout the course are still snowed in, however ,the bulk of fairways are now cleared and drying.
“We’re still trying to get snow off the course in a lot of places, but it’s mostly bare now,” Sutherland said. “You always want to get out and get started early, but the problem this winter was even just getting out on the course. There was too much snow.”
Sutherland plans to have the course up and running within two to three weeks, as members are getting anxious to get out. In all his years with the club, he’s never seen a season start this late.
Cox, meanwhile, along with course supervisor Caralynn Cullen, hope to have the Truro course running by May 15. Last year, the course was open in early May, while the previous year, it opened March 24.
The effects of losing those precious weeks this season are tough to calculate, Cox said.
“It’s hard to say for sure how big an effect it will have. It’s something that’s really affected the whole province. Everybody is in the same boat this year.”