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Oakland County

April 21, 2014

The grass is greener at Oakland County golf courses this season

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

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The grass is greener at Oakland County golf courses this season
The greens are getting lusher every day at Glen Oaks Golf Course in Farmington Hills.

OAKLAND COUNTY — Grab your clubs, golfers. Oakland County Parks and Recreation has officially opened its five golf courses, so residents can welcome the long awaited spring weather by hitting the links.

It took a little extra effort to get the greens up to par after the harsh winter, but the courses are ready to roll and turning greener every day, according to Tom Garvey, maintenance supervisor for Glen Oaks golf course in Farmington Hills and Red Oaks golf course in Madison Heights.

“Well, it was a tough winter. But, we actually came through it really well, considering,” said Garvey. “There was very little winter kill, and the greens are in really good shape, considering how long that ice layer was sitting over the top of them.”

Garvey said the greens were under that ice layer for well over 60 days, which is about how long it takes to cause damage to the courses. But after his staff mowed the grass, treated it with some fertilizer and did some general sprucing, the courses were in good shape for opening day on April 9.

It’s a good thing, because PGA professional Paul Simpson, who manages Glen Oaks and Lyon Oaks golf course in Wixom, said that Oakland County golfers had some major cabin fever and were itching to get out to the holes.

“The first two days, we probably saw approximately 250 golfers per course,” said Simpson. “Then, we’ll do somewhere between 25,000-35,000 starts (this season). That’s pretty good for public golf courses.”

Right now, Simpson is busy scheduling golf outings and leagues, hiring staff, and stocking the pro shop with fresh merchandise. The prep work is coming a bit later than normal, since the county’s golf courses have traditionally opened earlier in the year than they did in 2014. Mother Nature had to get a little more chill out of her system first.

“In 2012, we opened right around the 10th of March. Typically, we open between March 15 and April 1,” he said. “It was really good until we got those two days where we got snowed out. It’s been a really tough winter for a lot of courses around metro Detroit. Many are using temporary greens, where you basically put a flag in the ground in front of the actual fairway, and you don’t open until there’s grass on the greens. There are no temporary greens at Glen Oaks and Lyon Oaks.”

Check the Oakland County Parks and Recreation site at www.DestinationOakland.com throughout the season to find out which courses will be hosting special golf events and clinics.

Glen Oaks Golf Course is located at 30500 13 Mile Road in Farmington Hills. Red Oaks Golf Course is located at 29600 John R. Road in Madison Heights.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.