Vail Golf Club sticks to May 15 opening |

Vail Golf Club sticks to May 15 opening

VAIL<An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure come summer.That’s the thinking of the Vail Recreation District (VRD) when it comes to the opening of the Vail Golf Course. With Cotton Ranch already open in Gypsum and Eagle Ranch slated for an April 13 opening, golfers in the Vail Recreation District are eager to grip it and rip it.But Vail, the county’s highest public golf course at 8,150 feet, will be sticking to its May 15 opening date in order to make sure that the course is in tip-top shape when the height of the golf season arrives.”We’re planning on opening as soon as we can without causing damage to the course,” VRD president Piet Pieters said. “I think a little patience will pay off in the long run.”The bottom line is that winter obviously lasts longer and causes more damage to a golf course at 8,150 feet than it does at lower altitudes. The good news, according to Vail superintendent Jim Myers, is that treatment work on the greens late last season has left them in great shape this spring.Vail’s fairways and tee boxes sustained some damage and Myers’ crew are already at work. Next week, they plan to aerate the tees and slit-seed the fairways to allow the course to grow back in.The rub is that it wouldn’t be good for the growing process to have golfers and carts running over the newly seeded turf.”Once you get new seeding in and a ton of people are trampling on it, obviously, it doesn’t give the plant a chance to get established and get moving,” Myers said. “That’s what most people don’t understand. They see, “Oh, it looks great. Let’s fire up. Let’s go.'”Another concern is that, despite the pleasant spring temperatures of the last week or so, winter isn’t necessarily over, especially at 8,150 feet.”What was it? Five years ago, we had snow on the Fourth of July? It’s nice out now. That’s good. That gives us a good start,” Myers said. “We’ve got greens open. We blew all the snow off the greens, got them open. Just letting the sun get on them and just letting them breath for a little bit. They’ve had snow on them for how many months now?”Weather permitting, Vail will open May 15 with discounted early-season rates. In the meantime, the VRD hopes to get the driving range up and running and Myers expects good conditions for a busy season.”June and July, once we get all that seed established and grown in, I think conditions will be good,” he said. “I think greens will be 10 times better than they have been in the past, especially with no damage during the winter. That’s a major bonus right there.”

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