Grand Junction golf courses itching to open
Grand Valley golf courses puttering through one of the longest winters in recent memory are inching closer to opening, although the weekend snowfall halted a trend of snowmelt on the fairways and greens.
The back nine holes at Chipeta Golf Course on Orchard Mesa opened Friday, only to close Saturday because of the storm. Manager Tina Evans said she hopes to reopen Wednesday or Thursday.
“We are just covered again,” she said. “We couldn’t believe it.”
Doug Jones, golf superintendent for the city of Grand Junction, said Lincoln Park Golf Course could open this week “if the weather holds and it doesn’t get too cold and we keep getting some melting.” The Lincoln Park driving range already is open.
The other city-owned course, on the other hand, “has got a ways to go.” Jones said Tiara Rado, spread out in the shadows of Colorado National Monument, may open the first week of March.
Lincoln Park and Tiara Rado are on track to have their latest openings in Jones’ 32 years as golf superintendent. The current records are Feb. 23 for Lincoln Park and March 6 for Tiara Rado.
By comparison, he said, a mild winter allowed golfers to play roughly 5,000 rounds on city courses in January 2005.
While a stubborn blanket of snow on the grass can get the city off to a bad start revenue-wise, it isn’t necessarily a harbinger of a poor year for the city’s golf fund. A warm spring can make up for the harsh winter. Jones noted that last year Lincoln Park opened the first part of February only to have a chilly, wet March and April chase golfers back indoors.
Adobe Creek Golf Course in Fruita may not be far behind Lincoln Park. General Manager Paul Graebner said he hopes to open the course by the end of next week.
This year’s opening will mark the latest in Adobe Creek’s 18-year history, he said.
“It used to be a bad winter was about six weeks,” Graebner said, noting that the course typically has been closed from the middle of December to the beginning of February. “Now it’s approaching three months.”
Much of Redlands Mesa Golf Course is still covered in snow, and course Superintendent Andy Nikkari said he couldn’t venture a guess as to when it would be ready for play.
He said crews are removing the top layer of snow from the greens to prevent ice from building up, and while a couple of holes are playable, the fairway on the second hole is covered with 4 inches of snow.
Until this year, Nikkari said the 9-year-old course always opened before Valentine’s Day.