Golf course’s condition is subject of criticismPlaying conditions at Hillcrest Municipal Golf Course came under fire at Monday’s monthly Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. Commissioner Mike Landscoot presented an email from a concerned parent regarding the course conditions during the Blue Jay Invite last month.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Playing conditions at Hillcrest Municipal Golf Course came under fire at Monday’s monthly Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.
Commissioner Mike Landscoot presented an email from a concerned parent regarding the course conditions during the Blue Jay Invite last month.
“It’s not me personally, you hear from the golfers out there and it was brought to my attention” Landscoot said. “As a commissioner I’m going to bring it to your attention. It is a money maker and we need to keep it in top shape.”
“Teams, coaches players, and spectators were appalled at the condition of the course, embarrassed by it, and frustrated with it,” said the email from Tim Hart, Jamestown. “I know it is bad when a parent (who isn’t a golfer) stated ‘This is embarrassing, this is terrible.’”
Parks and Recreation Director Doug Hogan said things at Hillcrest have been difficult with the early spring.
“We’re not trying to cover anything up here,” Hogan said. “We were embarrassed — we’ll be the ones to tell you that.”
Marlyn Bertsch, golf course superintendent, said it’s been difficult to spray for weeds and dandelions, as regulations force a stop to spraying when winds are blowing faster than 8 mph. Winds routinely were faster than that at the start of the season.
But he said the course has come a long way since last month.
“If you go out there tonight and drive around it’s a completely different course than it was a month ago,” Bertsch said.
While Hart’s letter said there no excuse for weeds in May with the early spring, Hogan said that’s not exactly the case.
“Everything basically started a month early this year,” Hogan said. “Trees start budding out, flowers start growing and it came at a time where were basically operating with our winter staff.”
Also, grass grows better in some places on the course than in other locations, and the cost to fix the sand traps so they drain properly is more than $4,000 per trap, Bertsch said. Water tends to stay in the sand traps after rain events.
Golf cart violations, when people drive on the course where they are not allowed to, also damage the course.
Rod Olson, who is running unopposed today for Commissioner Wade Spitzer’s seat, asked if the Men’s Association at Hillcrest could help.
“The No. 1 thing as far as enforcement goes would be to have the Men’s Association take a more active look in cart violations,” Hogan said.
When there is work to do, Bertsch said labor is hard to come by, because of the $8/hour starting wage for course maintenance.
Earlier in the meeting Hogan received unanimous approval from the board to start the hiring process for a full-time golf course maintenance position for a person who recently left. Essentially the position is for an assistant golf course supervisor.
“We obviously need it out there we can’t go that much longer without it out there,” said Commissioner Chairman Larry Knoblich.
In other news, Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously agreed to allow the softball diamond complex in McElroy Park after Kathy Stefonek, a decades-long supporter of girl’s softball.
“We just want her to know how much we appreciate her for how much stuff she’s done for all our programs, from the young girls to women’s slow-pitch to fast-pitch,” said Sue Partridge, a current coach.
After the meeting Hogan said Stefonek is well deserving of the honor.
“She’s been involved with women’s and girl’s, both fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball, for many, many years,” he said. “She’s basically a fixture at softball.”
The commission also heard from Kevin Gall about fast-pitch softball.
Gall, Jamestown College softball coach, and a group of fast-pitch enthusiasts wanted to take current Diamond 8 in McElroy and transform it into a tournament-ready diamond for high school and college fast-pitch tournaments.
The group applied twice for an $8,000 grant from the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation and was denied both times.
“As far as the college goes they’re also trying to attract some tournaments in here, and frankly the teams we’re competing against have nicer diamonds than we do,” he said. “Obviously we’re trying to address the issues.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org