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Golfers still hitting the links

McDuffie County golf course managers say the links are in good condition and staying busy during the difficult winter season.

"The course is in really good shape," said Clark Willingham, the golf pro at Belle Meade Country Club.

At Thomson Country Club, manager Mack Cartledge said a decision to dye the greens instead of over-seeding with rye grass has kept them in good shape "but a little quick."

Visits to the courses Friday and Saturday confirmed the course professionals' claims.

Stewart Young joined Mr. Cartledge in a Saturday round. Mr. Young, who knows the course well and says he has aced every par 3 on the course, said the fairways are in good shape despite the unusually cold winter.

"They painted the greens," said Mr. Young. He explained that the procedure cuts down on maintenance.

Mr. Cartledge said that when the Bermuda grass has gone dormant in past winters the course managers have seeded the greens with fast-growing, hardy rye grass. Leaving the browned Bermuda grass in place has worked so far this winter, he said.

"When we get some 60-degree nights it will start to turn green again," he said.

Saturday golfers Donald Brooks and Dale Ricks, both of Thomson, agreed that the course is suitable with the alternative strategy this year.

At Belle Meade, Mr. Willingham said good conditions and a 10 percent winter discount are keeping the course busy.

"We had a pretty good crowd here yesterday," he said Thursday. "You can see we've got a full parking lot on a decent day."

He said cabin fever broke out after the recent snow, and golfers were flocking to the semiprivate course.

He said the pro shop is opening a bit later for the next few weeks.

"The greens are in good shape, and they're holding the ball well," said Kevin Steinmeyer, of Evans.

"I think the course is in great shape. I'm pleased with it," Mike Sleeper, also of Evans, said Friday. "It's just a nice, pleasant place to play."

Web posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011

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