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Finkbine Golf Course prepares to face winter

BY TOMMY REINKING | NOVEMBER 08, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Finkbine Golf Course will soon close down to prepare for the blistery white snows of winter that are right around the corner

The links will close on Nov. 11 as the many course workers make preparations to give the fairways the best chance to thrive once the snow melts.

“People would be surprised at how much we work throughout the winter,” course superintendent Mike Hoffman said. “It seems like we have less and less downtime each year. Winter goes by pretty fast.”

The first step the workers will take to prepare the course is vacuuming up the leaves off the greens and fairways as quickly as they can.

Clearing the course of debris takes one to two weeks. After that, they will blow all of the water out of underground irrigation pipes so that they don’t freeze during the winter months. The workers will then put fungicide and other products on the turf to prevent snow mold. They also store all of the benches and ball washers.

Hoffman said he will continue to work outside as long as he can. There are numerous areas of the course he would like to continue working on, such as the bunkers. They also take precautions so that no one can use the course after they close.

“We plug the holes on the greens so that no one tries to go out and play after we’ve closed,” Hoffman said. “There’s a lot of equipment we have to maintain. We take care of all of our own equipment.”

Just because there’s snow on the ground doesn’t mean Hoffman and others stop working. Every piece of the course’s property that needs to will get repainted. One hundred cutting units will be taken apart, have the blades sharpened, and be put back together. The carts will also receive maintenance as needed.

As long as the snow isn’t too deep, the course itself will also get worked on throughout the winter months. Workers will go onto the course to trim trees as well as continue to work on any sections of the course that still need it.

While the summer drought affected other local courses, Finkbine remained green and didn’t suffer because of the lack of rain. Director of grounds Ted Thorn said the fall season was very beneficial to the health of the course after the intense summer.

“The heat hurt the golfers more than the course,” he said. “We were blessed with some nice fall rain. It honestly helped a lot. The upper foot has the moisture it needs right now.”

Surprisingly, golf courses actually benefit from snow cover. The snow acts as an insulator from the harsh winds that may cause desiccation or extreme dryness.

Hoffman said workers will continue to water the course as long as they can to make sure the greens have plenty of moisture before the first snow fall.

One part of the course that will remain open is the clubhouse.

Clubs, shirts, and shoes will still be available at Finkbine throughout the winter. The fairways won’t open again until sometime in March 2013.

“Last year, we opened on March 20,” said Director of Golf Steve Moore,” We try to have everything ready by the first Monday after spring break.”


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