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Golf courses trying to recover after harsh winter

Ice damage has killed a lot of grass that is found on older courses, called annual bluegrass.

The game of golf in Ontario is being affected by the awful winter we had.

"We have damage to about 80 per cent of the greens," says David DeCorso, general manager of Victoria Park East in the Guelph area. He has 22 years of experience in the industry. "I have never seen a winter this bad."

Ice damage has killed a lot of the grass that is found on older courses, called annual bluegrass.

Of their 18 greens, three are still fully closed and nine others are partially closed as they reseed.

DeCorso says it's been a bad start to the season weather-wise as well, with not too many golf-friendly days so far.

"Financially, it's been terrible, even if we didn't have damage to the greens," he says.

One solution is to put in a more durable "bent grass." This is the type of grass DeCorso has at his other, newer course, Victoria Park Valley, which survived the winter.

Markland Woods in Etobicoke has resod 13 of its 18 holes because of ice damage. This time, they put down bent grass. The resodding process has closed off much of the course, forcing members to play on temporary, shortened greens for now.

"Obviously, golfers don't like playing temporary greens," says general manager Alfredo Colalillo, but he adds that this is Mother Nature and asks members to be patient.

"We're going to be better for it," he says of the new bent grass.

Many golf courses will not fully reopen until June.

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