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Golf course gets a break in the heat

Chattahoochee to close down on Mondays to ease stress on greens

POSTED: August 2, 2010 12:16 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Golfers at the Chattahoochee Golf Course complete the hole during a round of golf Sunday afternoon. The course will start closing on Mondays because of the effects of this summer's extreme heat on the fragile greens.

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At Gainesville’s Chattahoochee Golf Course, intense summer heat brings new challenges when it comes to preserving the greens.

Starting today, the course will be closed Mondays to give the greens a chance to rest and recover from the heat, said Rodger Hogan, golf course director.

“We just had an extra hot summer, and it’s happened a lot earlier than normal,” Hogan said. “It just puts the greens in a stressful condition.”

The course consists of bentgrass, which Hogan said is a cool-weather grass. He said when temperatures climb above 90 degrees, keeping the grass alive becomes more difficult.

And as thermometers consistently register more than 90 degrees — some days more than 100 — now’s the time to take action.

“Closing the golf course one day a week is going to make a tremendous difference in just giving the greens some relief,” Hogan said.

“If you don’t do it, the more traffic that we have on the greens, the more grass you lose, and it just takes longer for the greens to recover.”

To further combat the summer swelter, Chattahoochee increases its maintenance hours, sending crews to the course every day to mist the greens with water and keep them cooled down.

Hogan said if the grass on the course died, the loss would be devastating and costly. Costs would come not only from bringing the grass back but also from lost patronage on the course.

“When your greens go bad, golfers will tend to go somewhere else and pay their money to golf on a course where the greens aren’t dying,” Hogan said.

He said other golf clubs also take such precautions, and two or three golfers have already let him know they don’t have a problem with the closings.

“Every one of them thought it was a great idea,” Hogan said. “It’s all for the health of the golf course. A true golfer is not going to have an issue with it. They want to play on the best conditions possible.”

And Hogan stressed that the closings were a preventative measure — the greens are still healthy.

“We’re just looking into the foreseeable future and trying to do the right thing for the golf course,” he said.



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