My favorite local muni is still cleaning up the golf course from winter and spring storms. It’s a big job on a course lined by so many mature trees.
After a relatively mild winter, southeast Michigan has experienced a puzzling spring. March arrived in April; April arrived in May. All of our weather seems to be a month behind.
A wind storm on March 8 brought sustained velocities of 60 mph or more. That left more than one million without power, uprooted trees and just generally created a horrific mess. Even with the aid of outstate linemen, it took a week to get everyone back online.
The event was even more notable for its lack of accompanying thunderstorms. The wind blew in on a sunny day.
On my home course, a large number of trees were uprooted. Branches were everywhere.
That freak event aside, there seem to be more blustery days than usual this spring. My sense is that trees damaged, but not catastrophically, by the March windstorm now are shedding those cracked branches and trunks.
Whatever the cause, the result is a big mess for the groundskeepers. Branches large and small are everywhere. Fairways, greens and tee boxes are clear, but in areas just off the course, it still is a sea of twigs.
I don’t blame course management. Like most local government endeavors these days, the course is underfunded and understaffed. Golf is a hard sell in good years, and these are the days of taxpayer revolt and fiscal squeezes from the state house. Given that, I think that we are lucky to have a course as good as we have.
An older member I played with the other day reminisced about the days when course conditions always were pristine thanks to the labor of prisoners from the local jail. In exchange for an opportunity to get outside the bars, they were pressed into picking up sticks, trash and other debris on the course.
Not an option anymore, it seems. Too bad.
I have long thought that a municipal golf course would be a good place to create a partnership with local schools and employment agencies. Teens (and others) could get entry-level work experience maintaining the course. A caddy program would be unusual for a muni, but grounds crews would fit nicely. It seems to me as though it would be a win for everyone.