Kitchen Creek could have a new watering system in place for this season—if members vote to proceed with the project at the club’s semi-annual meeting April 19.
If passed, Kitchen Creek will have access to a sprinkling system that will water the fairways, as well as the greens and tee boxes, for the first time.
“Last year, the course really took a beating with the ice damage and the dry spring,” club president Steve Lundon said yesterday. “One more bad spring and we could lose some fairways.”
Lundon said with the course drawing more players each year, too much stress was being put on the fairways without replenishing them with the necessary water.
Kitchen Creek had 530 members last year, and is hoping for as many as 600 this year.
“We have to keep abreast with the future,” Lundon stressed, adding they would be dealing with a company that supplies watering systems throughout western Canada.
“You look at [International Falls] and they have 18 holes with a water system,” he noted.
Lundon said while membership fees have not increased from a year ago, he warned dues would increase $40-$50 next year if the new system gets the go-ahead.
But he stressed that’s a small price to pay for improving the quality of the golf course.
Lundon said the club lost a “fair amount” of revenue in green fees due to the ice damage early last spring while also being hit with a $50,000 price tag in work done to fix many of the damaged fairways and greens.
Kitchen Creek suffered extensive ice damage on several greens and a few fairways last year due to a mixture of rain and snow in the fall coupled by a cold, wet spring. It left the grounds crew working extended hours trying to get the course back up to par.
Club pro Gord Workum, starting his fifth season at Kitchen Creek, said the new watering system would be a positive step.
“I hope [the vote] goes through because it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” he said, adding the sprinklers would work on a timing system and would not affect the players while out on the course.
“You can put all the seeds down you want but you need the water,” he stressed.
Greens superintendent Greg Ross also said he would be in favour of the new system.
“They’ve talked about it for some time because all courses need an irrigation system and if you don’t have water, then you won’t be able to create an opportunity to grow turf,” he explained
On the plus side, Workum said the course is “looking good” as he made his rounds, adding it is about three weeks ahead of last year in terms of snow on the ground.
In fact, he predicted the course could be open as early as Easter weekend if the weather held.
Ross also said the course is in much better shape than a year ago.
“Everything’s coming together. We had a lot milder winter and we had less snow and frost on the ground,” he noted.