With St. Patricks’ Day approaching on Friday, it was appropriate that everything at the Course at Wente Vineyards also was coming up green.
Thanks to the record rainfall, the hills surrounding the course are verdant and the weeds are exploding with the warm March temperatures (there will be some heavy lifting for the maintenance crew when it comes time to weed whack those small bushes).
The course– greens, fairways and tees– was in excellent condition. With the rough grown out to say nothing of the weeds, miss the fairway and good luck finding your ball. It’s that lush. It’s reminiscent of the years when Wente hosted the Livermore Valley Wine Country Championships on the Nationwide Tour (now the Web.com Tour). One year the course played so tough thanks to the deep and lush grass in the rough that it ranked with the U.S. Open in terms of difficulty.
I recall one pro who missed the fairway on No. 9 taking five whacks (he finally switched to a sand wedge) to get the ball back in play.
So, if you take advantage of this month’s great conditions, two thoughts:
- Bring plenty of golf balls unless your game is really tuned in
- Heed the warnings from the starter and the marshal to say nothing about the messages on the GPS—the mature rattlesnakes are now moving about the property.
This time of year, the snakes could be anywhere. A friend of mine was bitten during the summer a couple of years ago, when he topped his tee shot on the 7th hole. When he stepped into the taller grass at the front edge of the tee box to fetch his ball, a rattler nailed him in the leg. That experience was enough for me to rein in my wandering in the rough.
Once the wild grasses dry out, the snakes are likely to lurk near irrigated areas because that’s where their prey hangs out.
The only place you will see rain damage is on No. 6 where a mud slide threatens about half of the fairway near the green. The maintenance staff has covered the slide with plastic to hopefully avoid any further damage.
I swapped emails with Phil Wente who also played last week and was delighted with the conditions. He reported that they have had 19.5 inches of rain on Arroyo Road, well over the season average of about 14 inches.
We capped our round with a late lunch on the grill patio—I wish I had thought to wear shorts. It was that pleasant and the tri-tip salad and bratwurst appetizers were tasty.
By Tim Hunt