At 2200 feet the Whistler Golf Club gets some serious snow during the winter. I often get asked “How do you get it in such good shape so fast!” Mother nature definitely helps but a lot of work goes in. Here’s what a typical Spring season entails:
During the winter our Superintendent monitors the greens for ice build up. Ice kills turf full stop. If we get our normal snow coverage -3-4 feet- then ice is a non factor. The snow insulates the turf. Fungicide applied in the Fall prevents snow mold and general the greens are good to go. But if you don’t get enough snow, and you get freezing and thawing in the valley- well you get:
The only way to remove it is by hand. Not fun. Sometimes you get it in time, sometimes you don’t. If we have green damage the following steps are done to repair the greens:
- Aerate damaged sections
- verticut entire green
- overseed damaged areas
- fertilize green
- put tarps on greens to increase soil temperature and stimulate growth
- Watch for germination of grass and begin hand cutting
With a little good weather the greens are ready to go in no time.
In a normal snow year we start snowblowing greens late February. That’s all it takes. Clear the snow and watch it green up. When the turf starts growing we start cutting- usually early April.
Fairways are first blown free of sticks, debris, dog poop etc to prepare for cutting. Then the fairways are verticut to remove snow mold. From there regular cutting can begin. When soil temperatures allows fertilization occurs and away we go.
Bunkers are pretty much trashed by the Spring. Our bunker crew will turnover all the sand, load in some new sand and prepare the bunkers at playing depths. Edges are groomed for aesthetics and rakes placed in position.
Tees, green surrounds and rough all get the same treatment as the fairways. Heights for all are lowered gradually so as not to stress out the turf.
Our two full time gardeners hit all the flower beds hard in the spring. Bulbs were planted in the Fall so colour hits the beds early May. The Clubhouse drive is beautified and all roads and paths are worked on to remove gravel from the winter.
Next the irrigation system is charged. Our irrigation technician tests every head to ensure no breaks occurred over the winter. Turf cut at low heights can check out quick when it gets hot so its important all heads are functioning properly. All drains are checked to ensure water drains properly off the course. Any breaks are repaired quickly so as not to inflict any turf damage.
Lastly all on course furniture and equipment is placed on course for the guests. After opening the crew focuses on improving turf and playing conditions early. From snow to golfing in less than a month, our crew does a great job in getting the course ready for play. A lot of work goes into getting golf course ready in the Spring in a ski resort! Happy golfing. Click here to see photos of our 2010 Spring preparation.