To all our loyal members as well as our valued guests,
Those of you who played at RGC during July and August witnessed the terrible effects of the prolonged drought throughout the northeast.
On a weekly basis, there were thunderstorms predicted, but always missed us to the north or south. As our water supply dwindled, we had to make the difficult choice to discontinue watering tees and fairways in order to keep our greens alive. Once all the remaining water was used up, we had to purchase water to remain open and keep the greens alive. The rain finally came on September 5&6, and much of the dormant turf recovered. Unfortunately, there remains a tremendous amount of dead turf on our tees and fairways that will need to be addressed. The process will involve aerification and re-seeding. In addition, the practice range tee will need renovating as well, including installation of irrigation.
The Town of Ridgefield has been supportive throughout this ordeal, understanding that if the greens were in good shape there would be no interruption in our revenue stream. The town approved the purchase of water on two occasions totaling $12,800. Our members and guests were also supportive by continuing to play and support the course even while the condition of the tees and fairways deteriorated.
In addition to the money we spent on water, the re-seeding and range repairs will cost around $60,000. These expenditures will put us tens of thousands over our annual approved grounds care budget. Our plan is to use the Ridgefield Golf Course Improvement Fund (RGCIF) to raise money to offset the shortfall in the budget so we can begin the repairs and not have to cut corners.
The RGCIF is a 501(c)(3) that was founded in 2012 to raise money for course improvement projects that were beyond the scope of our annual approved maintenance budget. In the early years, we held fundraising events like golf outings, 5k races, silent auctions, etc. Almost all the bunkers on the course were renovated using these funds. Additionally, we built the staircase on the forward 16th tee, and did the tree clearing for the new range netting. In more recent years, we have counted on regular donations rather than running specific fund-raising events. Many of you have been regular donors over the years without being solicited, and we thank you for that. We have not done any active fundraising since 2019, feeling that people had more than enough on their plates with the Covid problem and the associated shutdowns.
As we sit here at the end of the 2022 season, we are asking our members and guests to make a tax-deductible donation to the RGCIF so we can restore the course to pre-drought conditions, which most will agree were well above standard for municipal golf courses. Normally, September is the month we raise money for The Folds of Honor through Patriot Golf Day. We are skipping that this year so we can focus on the restoration of the course. Many of you are very passionate about FOH and the work they do. You can go to foldsofhonor.org and continue your support.
Finally, depending on the weather and the rate of growth on the tees and fairways, we may close the course a couple weeks early this year. Eliminating March & December from our schedule has paid dividends over the past couple years because of the excessive wear and tear caused by cold weather golf. Once the soil temperature gets too low and the grass stops growing, we are going to shutdown to allow the new grass to get firmly established. We are more concerned with conditions next May than this November.
Thank you for your understanding and your generosity. Together, we can put the 2022 drought behind us and have the course conditions in 2023 that we all deserve.
Frank A. Sergiovanni PGA
Checks can be made payable to the RGCIF. Your charitable donation can be given directly to the Ridgefield Golf Course Pro Shop or mailed directly to:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT 06877