By Lindsay Briscoe
After opening about a month later than normal, the Red Lake Golf and Country Club held its annual general meeting last week where the board and members discussed how they plan to move forward in a season cut short by lingering snow and cooler than average spring temperatures.
Golf course superintendent and clubhouse manager Chris Globush says memberships have hovered around 350 for the past few years – with a steady loss of about 100 old members and the adoption of about 100 new – but this year’s short season will likely spell a drop in memberships. He also had to open with four temporary greens as they were damaged over the winter which turns players off, he says.
Snowmachine traffic, which several board members say seems to be getting worse and worse every year certainly took its toll on the course this year (one year Globush says the damage from snowmachine traffic cost the club about $20 thousand). The board has decided it’s time to construct a fence around the course – part temporary, part permanent – which they hope will deter snowmobilers.
“Something needs to be done. As Chris indicated, there is a cost associated with the damage to the course. Unless we do something, that’s not going to change,” said board member Ian Russell. “Unfortunately, the other thing from a liability perspective, we need to do our own due diligence. If someone ends up killing themselves on this course on a snowmachine, we’re going to be thrown in the mix of this.”
The fence will be wire mesh, about four feet high and will ring in at about $15,000 for materials alone. Russell says at this point the fence is a “discussion piece,” and the board is open to comments from members, but they’d like to have it ready for winter.
But despite a rocky start to 2013, Globush says he looks forward to the season ahead and is committed to continuously improving the game for players.
“We always like to improve the course just to give members a new look at the same course,” he says. “The addition of hazards…you know, things to make it seem different and nicer and make it more aesthetically pleasing.”
He also says talks of a new clubhouse are in the works – a place to host wedding and other events throughout the year – a “staple of the golf course and the area.”
Globush is on his way to becoming a master superintendent next year – the highest recognition in the golf superintendent’s profession in Canada and a position held by about 20 people in the country. He participated in the University of Guelph Turf Managers’ Short Course this year and excelled not only in his class but achieved the highest marks in the program’s 44 year history.