A lot of work goes into preparing a golf course for the steady stream of players who come when the weather warms.
Hillsboro Municipal Golf Course Superintendent Gary Andrews worked on the course’s five mowers all winter. He checked bearings, sharpened blades, tuned up the engines, and changed the oil.
“You make sure they’re ready to go,” Andrews said. “You don’t want them breaking down on you during the summer.”
Every mower is used often during peak season. Andrews trims the greens to less than a fourth of an inch every day, the tee boxes are mowed to seven-eighths of an inch three times a week, fairways are trimmed to three-fourths of an inch three times a week, and the roughs are mowed to 2½ inches twice a week.
Sand traps — the nemesis of many amateur golfers — take the most maintenance. During the winter, Andrews and a crew of 12 volunteers trim the edges of the six sand traps and refill the traps with sand.
“The best part about this place is the volunteers,” Andrews said. “They love the golf course. They do it to keep membership costs down.”
In the spring and summer months, Andrews will rake the traps four times a week. Before spring, Andrews also changes the pin placements in each green. He has applied a fresh layer of fertilizer on all of the course’s vegetation and he has just started to mow. He is set to get the irrigation system on the fairways up and running in the coming weeks.
Along with the regular course maintenance, Andrews put in a few new additions over the winter. He planted five trees to add to the 100 or so trees living on the course. Andrews tries to plant five or six trees every winter to replace some of the trees that have died. During his 20 years as the full-time course superintendent, he has seen the pine trees grow from 7-foot saplings to 20 feet tall.
On Tuesday, there was still a 10-foot pile of dirt near the eighth hole. Andrews is in the process of adding another sand trap to the course. He is also putting a fresh layer of gravel on the course parking lot.
Andrews continues to improve the course because he wants to maintain the reputation that the course has earned. Other courses in the area were hurting for golfers, but Hillsboro’s public course still has 100 members.
“Last year was a fairly good year for us,” he said. “I’ve heard it’s due to the course condition and the very reasonable cost.”