HARRISONBURG — Shenandoah Valley golf courses have had quite a bit more water hazards than usual over the past few weeks, courtesy of a mix of steady and heavy rainstorms.
Several courses had to close earlier this month, and when they were open, the wet weather has been deterring golfers from hitting the links.
“We’re down,” said Glenn Payne, general manager of Shenvalee Golf Resort in New Market. “No one likes to play in the rain and the mud. It’s just not fun to be outside.”
Shenvalee closed for only a half-day on the weekend of June 2-3, while other area courses had it worse.
Harrisonburg’s Heritage Oaks Golf Course closed June 2 and 3, and Lakeview Golf Club in Massanetta Springs was closed on June 2 and 3 and May 29 due to flooding.
Staff members have had their hands full dealing with the aftermath of the storms.
“The rains over the last week have certainly left their mark on Heritage Oaks,” staff for the city-owner course posted on Facebook on June 4. “Our amazing maintenance crew is working diligently, but there is a lot to do, and it will likely take a few weeks to get back to where we were. There are bridges out, washed out bunkers, and damaged cart paths, not to mention all the mowing that needs to be caught up on.”
Payne said Shenvalee saw “mild flooding,” affecting three of its 27 holes.
“We just avoided the affected holes on the golf courses,” he said.
The golf cart paths were most affected by overflow from Smith Creek, he said.
“It was mainly just the creek overwhelming the banks and blocking the cart paths,” Payne said. “The cart paths that run along the creek flooded, and it looked like a couple feet deep in the pictures I saw.”
The saturated ground also has affected the mowing routine at local courses.
Payne said it will take the maintenance crew a few days to catch up.
Monday was a slow day for Packsaddle Ridge Golf Course in Keezletown, with one brave soul golfing in the late morning despite the downpour.
Packsaddle, though, hasn’t had to close.
“We drain really well here; so, that’s one of our advantages that we can rely on. Being on the side of the mountain, everything runs off. So, we don’t have a lot of flooding issues,” said Brad Powell, the course’s manager. “It just affects us more on the business end than anything.”
Powell said revenue for the month of May was lower than last year.
Even golfers who may not mind a wet course may be deterred by another factor.
Whenever it rains and the ground is soaked, golf carts are restricted from driving on the grass, which means players must walk to wherever the ball lands, Powell said.
“I want to say we had 10 days [in May] where we were cart-path only, and last May I think we had two,” he said.
That affects business because “people like to be able to drive out to where the ball is,” he said.
On the bright side, the rain is helping make for some lush courses.
“It’s good grass-
growing weather,” he said. “Our turf tends to like a little bit more of the soggier environment. Typically, June and July are drier months, and when you have bentgrass and rye grass, they’ll tend to go dormant like your front yard. … Our type of grass works really well in the spring and fall. Our grass is growing really well, and we’re enjoying the good conditions.”