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Mother Nature, vandals team up to put hit on golf courses


August 15, 2011
By Mike Jiggens

As we turn the corner to head into fall, a quick look back at the 2011
season suggests it wasn’t the best for most of Canada, in both the golf
and landscaping sectors of the industry.
In parts of Manitoba, there wasn’t even a season, period.
Out-of-control flooding wiped out the opportunity to play golf in some
areas, and spring—if that’s what you want to call it—arrived much later
than usual for most of Canada.

Spring, for the most part, was merely an extension of winter, which itself was more harsh than usual. Colder-than-normal temperatures and plentiful rainfall presented a dismal start to the golf season and had landscape contractors scrambling to cut thicker-than-usual grass during whatever window of opportunity they could find between rainfalls.vandalweb

When spring finally arrived—in June—it quickly gave way to periods of unbearable heat and humidity to begin the summer season. Pretty much everywhere east of the Rocky Mountains experienced these excessive levels of heat and subsequent drought. British Columbia, on the other hand, was getting rain and cooler-than-normal temperatures, much to the envy of the rest of the country.

Unfortunately for some golf courses, Mother Nature wasn’t alone in her fury. In Thunder Bay, Ont., vandals left their mark at the Strathcona Golf Course, one of three municipal courses in the city. Damage was pegged at up to $10,000 after one or more individuals entered the property at night with an ATV and left their mark on four greens, three tees and a fairway, spinning doughnuts.

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The grounds crew were able to plug the damage and get the course back into reasonable playing condition within days of the destruction, but it still leaves one scratching his head and wondering why.

Bleach was poured onto a green at the Shaughnessy Golf Club in Vancouver during the week of the RBC Canadian Open. Thankfully, the incident didn’t alter play.

These are things we don’t expect to happen and should never have to experience.

With the fall yet to officially arrive, let’s hope we can salvage one good season after three less-than-stellar ones so that superintendents are presented with the conditions they need to properly put their courses to bed for the winter.