COLUMBIA CITY — Despite excessive heat and last week’s storm, Eagle Glen Golf Course in Columbia City hasn’t had a decrease in customers.
Though temperatures passed the 100-degree mark, employees said avid golfers are still on the course.
“People have been golfing early in the morning or later in the evening (after 4 p.m.),” employee Shelly Davis said.
Last week, the course provided free bottled water to linksters who played during the 100-degree heat, with coolers set up throughout the course.
“It was something we had done in the past,” Davis said. “We thought we’d do it again with the temperatures this high.”
Head Groundskeeper Dave Hockgeiger said he was surprised at the number of people on the course during the heat.
“I was shocked to go out at 6 p.m. and see that many groups out,” Hockgeiger said.
Hockgeiger’s job has been busy in the last week, not only with the desert-like climate, but cleaning up after the storm that swept through the county last Friday.
Hockgeiger said many cart paths, fairways and greens were littered with debris from trees, and a tree even poked through a green on the front nine.
“Our guys did a great job coming together after the storm to get things cleaned up,” Hockgeiger said.
Though the clean-up process was time consuming, Hockgeiger is putting his Turf Management Degree from Eastern Illinois University and 34 years of experience to work with this year’s drought.
“The weather has absolutely affected the course,” Hockgeiger said.
Though the fairways might not be as green as Sycamore Hills, Hockgeiger said the crew has watered the course well.
“We’re probably going to have a record amount of water used this year,” Hockgeiger said. “We mow seven days a week. If you give it enough water, nutrients and sunlight, it will grow.”
Eagle Glen, similar to many courses, mows its greens to 110-thousandths of an inch. With proper care, the course has kept its greens from burning out, while many courses in the midwest have suffered from dead grass.
“I’ve had several customers come in and compliment us about how well the course looks,” Davis said.
Andrew Thompson, employee and Columbia City boys golf coach, said while usually 20 percent of the customers typically walk instead of ride in a cart, during the heat, walkers were few and far between.
Eagle Glen Golf Pro Bruce Wood said the course is considering offering cheaper prices during afternoon hours in the summer.