TROY – Thanks to new course superintendent Greg Tudor and his staff, Frear Park Municipal Golf Course is green once more. And that’s great news for the golfers competing in this weekend’s rescheduled Rensselaer County Men’s Amateur golf tournament.
The RCMA will be played Saturday and Sunday. It was moved back a month because at least five greens and many fairways suffered numerous bare patches earlier this summer, making the course virtually unplayable for major tournament conditions, especially for its biggest event of the year.
“It’s always a work in progress, but I think the greens and fairways are in pretty good shape now,” said Tudor, a 37-year-old Hoosick Falls native who lives just a few blocks from the course. “I’m focused on making improvements every day. I think the greens are pretty consistent now. In November, we are going to [aerate] the greens and fill in some sand. Right now, they are a little soft.”
Tudor said Frear’s problems early this summer were caused by “injured grass.” Troy officials were quoted as saying the bare spots were created because of over fertilization, as well as the extremely rainy weather, a lack of staff knowledge on turf issues and a staff shortage.
Tudor, a SUNY-Cobleskill turf management major who spent 10 years as the course superintendent at Waubeeka Country Club in Williamstown, Mass., as well as two more years as an assistant at Schuyler Meadows, started to correct the problems immediately when he was hired this summer.
“It’s been a group effort,” Tudor insisted. “I couldn’t do this by myself. We work as a team, and my staff has really jumped in all the way. I’m only as good as my guys,” he said. “Plus, we couldn’t have accomplished what we did without tremendous support from my boss, (Troy Parks & Recreation Commissioner George Rogers), and several members of the council.”
“In the next month or two, we are looking to get some new equipment, but right now, we are focused on improving the tee boxes and the greens, as well as edging the bunkers. We don’t have enough sand right now to improve all the bunkers, but we will pick and choose to fix what we can,” he said.
SOLID 2017 FIELD
Roughly 120 golfers are currently listed for Saturday’s opening round. Two-time defending champion Steve Quillinan Jr. won’t be back as he has moved out of the area, but Dave Arakelian, the three-time defending champion in the senior division, will be back to shoot for his fourth straight over-50 crown. He also won the open division once.
EJ Cardish, who has captured an unprecedented 12 open division championships, is also competing, as well as other former champions like Michael Kelly (2013), Dave Mooradian (2003, 2011), Dan Ireland (2008) and Ray Henry (1982 and 1990).
Other top contenders include Jimmy Sullivan, Tim Flanigan and former senior division champ Fred Case (2013).