Allen Lessels' NH Golf: Long, hard winter slows start of golfing season
The season should begin heating up soon: The first qualifying tournament for the men's State Amateur tournament will be held in less than three weeks.
"It was a severe winter as far as winter kill goes," said Bob White of Duston Country Club, a nine-hole course in Hopkinton. "We got snow and then in December a lot of ice built up on the grass. The grass can survive maybe 60 days under a sheet of ice and after that it basically suffocates."
A chilly April did not help golf course superintendents catch up from the tough winter.
"It just hasn't warmed up," Jelley said. "Superintendents are fighting a battle to get grass to grow. I was over at Lake Winnipesaukee the other day and the soil temperature was 49 degrees. They'd like to see it 56 to 58 at this time of year. With these cold nights, it just doesn't get heated up."
"I hear Maine and Vermont have similar issues," Jelley said. "It's more widespread than just around here."
Things will get better.
"In Maine, they're making a point of telling golfers to be patient," White said. "That's what we're all striving for, so golfers don't show up expecting gorgeous conditions. Conditions are not perfect, but they will be. It's just going to take a little time."
The number of those entered to qualify is down a bit at the moment, likely thanks to the weather, Jelley said.
"Hopefully we'll be around 275," Jelley said. "I think we'll be pretty close."
The State Am is at Stonebridge Country Club in Goffstown this year for the first time and will be held from July 14-19 with two days of medal play with the field cut to 64 for match play. Between qualifiers and exempt players, the field will include somewhere around 144 golfers.
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The New Hampshire Women's Golf Association State Championship and a couple of New England Amateur events are among the scheduling highlights of the upcoming season.
The women's New England Amateur, put on by the New England Women's Golf Association and featuring 18 golfers from each of the region's six states, is scheduled for Keene Country Cub from June 30-July 2.