BANGOR, Maine — As have many golf courses in Maine this year, Bangor Municipal Golf Course has struggled to remain playable due to bad weather starting last winter.
That concern became magnified as the dates of this week’s $50,000 Hollywood Slots Greater Bangor Open Golf Tournament approached, but tournament committee president Rob Jarvis said Monday that he thinks the course will be in reasonable shape.
“It’s 100 percent better than it was a week ago,” said Jarvis, who is also an assistant pro at Bangor Muni.
There will have to be some adjustments made for the GBO, which opens today with a pro-am tournament followed by 54 holes of stroke play, including Saturday afternoon’s 18-hole finale.
“The pin positions are usually in the corners, and that’s where the greens were hit worst,” said Jarvis. “So there will be some different pins.”
Jarvis also expects the players will understand that the course is not in as nice a shape as it normally is this time of year.
“Most of the guys know what’s going on in New England,” Jarvis said. “There are tons of golf courses, not just in Maine but in New Hampshire, Vermont and northern Massachusetts, that got hit with this ice issue.”
The problem started late last year when northern New England was blanketed with ice for more than two months in many cases. That caused a serious winter kill of much of the grass.
The grounds staff at Bangor Muni jumped right on that as soon as it could, working 10-hour days for several weeks, according to Jarvis.
Just when it looked like they had turned the corner, the cold, rainy weather started in June, soaking the course.
“We certainly were on the wrong side of things, weather-wise,” said Jarvis.
The warm, sunny weather last week and through Monday has been a big help.
“It’s getting better every day,” Jarvis said.
The forecast is for showers off and on for the next few days, but Jarvis remains upbeat.
“I hope Mother Nature cooperates because that’s the one thing we can’t control,” he said.
The good weather has let the staff catch up on some details.
“Basically, the weather has allowed them to mow it up nice, and the greenside bunkers are in good shape,” said Jarvis. “The guys have been able to do a good job.”
They were also able to fertilize the greens, helping the sun do its job to grow grass.
“Bare spots are susceptible to fungus and black algae. The sun really does a number on that stuff,” Jarvis said.
It also helps warm up the ground, which is another crucial growing element.
“Until four or five days ago, the temperature [of the ground under the] greens was 54 degrees. Bent [grass] won’t grow when it’s cold and wet,” he said.
Head pro Brian Enman believes there may be only one real trouble spot, the rough on the left side of No. 15.
“That could be a rules nightmare,” Enman said.
He is also pleased with the improvement the course has made.
“The last few days has dried it a lot,” he said.
The forecast of showers over the next couple of days could put a damper on that feeling, but hope remains.
“If we don’t get a lot …. As long as the greens can take it, we’ll be OK,” said Jarvis, who believes they will have to make only minimal concessions.
“I don’t expect a lot of grumbling, actually,” said Jarvis.