Lake Monticello golf course is looking good

Fairways, greens, tees boxes and fringes are not little details on a golf course. All of these big details are looking good under the Casper groups’ management. Fairways on the course are generally thick and very playable. Prucnal and his crew have been seeding with fescue in thin areas and this prudent use of seed has not only thickened the fairways, but has also made some of the rough areas less rocky and more golf club friendly. Most of the greens are now beautiful and running true. The greens that were rebuilt recently are coming along nicely. There has been a lot of trimming around the ponds and streams. Fewer golf balls are going into deep weeds were they cannot be found.

Prucnal also said that it has been “a good year” for dealing with the goose grass. Much of the invasive goose grass that has been a problem on fringes, collars and greens is now gone, hopefully for good. Collars have been seeded with a rye grass that Prucnal believes will result in important improvements in these areas as well.
Prucnal said that he is pleased with the staff he has been able to put together. He describes them as “enthusiastic.” He also notes that it has been helpful to have the staff in place for the whole year, with no turnover. The number of workers on staff during the busy season has been up slightly from the past, but may drop off as the course transitions into the winter season.

Next year the plan is to do more of the same. Prucnal expects that there will be more hand mowing involved, which allows more precise treatment of greens and fringes. He expects to promote more Bermuda grass seed on the tee boxes to allow for a fuller grass cover there as well. He also expects that the separate men’s senior tee on the eighteenth hole will be restored. During the off season, some tree trimming will be done to clear lines along the woods. The lake course is one where the woods are a serious factor, discouraging errant shots on a number of holes. Prucnal also notes that he is thankful for the support that he has received from the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association Board of Directors, which he feels has been very supportive of his efforts.

Mark Marshall the Golf Pro at the Lake, who is in charge of the pro shop and golf operations, reports that that outside play on the Lake Monticello course is up very substantially from 2011. He notes that weekend outside play is up by nearly 100%. The “four can play for $120” promotion has brought in a host of players from outside Lake Monticello, and Marshall advises that the promotion will continue through the winter. He hopes that bringing in this increased volume of outside players will result in more players becoming regulars.

To date, contract play has remained relatively flat. Marshall notes that there are a lot of programs that are available to players looking to make the Lake Monticello course their home course. Senior men have had the nine hole and eighteen hole Gray Foxes for many years. Women have the nine hole and eighteen hole groups, which are not senior only. There is also the Dogwood league on Monday nights. There are programs for beginning golfers that offer mentors to help new players navigate their way around the course. There is also a very vibrant youth program that Marshall is very enthusiastic about.

The Billy Casper Group has a three year contract to handle maintenance at the Lake Monticello course, so they still have two years to go. Things certainly look good so far. The Casper organization has a lot of knowhow and experience. According to its website, it owns or operates 140 facilities in 28 states.

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