City Park Golf Course eases out of dormant winter; expects full play in May

The City Park Golf Course will offer more tee times starting in May. (BusinessDen file)

The full reopening of City Park Golf Course is within sight.

The city-run, 18-hole course was closed for renovations from late 2017 through last September, when it reopened for “limited play,” meaning no carts and fewer slots for golfers than normal. Then it closed entirely for the winter.

The city’s director of golf, however, told BusinessDen that while the restrictions from the fall remain in place in April, the plan is to revert to normal come next month.

“Right now it’s tentative,” said Scott Rethlake. “Still, April it’ll be limited. No golf carts and a few less tee times than normal. Wider spacing in between. Then May 1 is the anticipated date to go to regular tee sheets and allowing carts.”

The restrictions and the closure over the winter were to protect the new turf.

“Grass doesn’t grow well or at all with low night temperatures,” Rethlake said. “We know the newer grass will be able to handle the wear and tear of golf and golf carts once the temperatures get warmer because they’ll be able to grow and regenerate. It’s just about having a better environment to grow and survive before we allow a regular tee sheet.”

But scheduling tee times 15 minutes apart in the fall, instead of the 10 minutes normally used at city courses, also made golfing at City Park a hot commodity. New slots open up 14 days in advance, at midnight. And night owls often grabbed all the tee times within minutes.

“I tell them to get online and log into your reservation account at 11:55 p.m., and just keep hitting refresh on your browser until you see times pop up and grab the first one you see,” Rethlake told BusinessDen in October. “Don’t be picky because if you’re looking and trying to decide for two to three minutes, you might lose out to other people online.”

Speaking last week, Rethlake said the grounds crew is pleased with the current condition of the course.

“It’s looking pretty good,” he said. “Don’t really know that well until temperatures get warmer at night and it grows and greens up, but so far so good. We’re buttoning up a few maintenance items out there and fixing some things, but mostly waiting for the weather to turn so we can start mowing.”

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