KINGS BEACH — Early-season openings are the norm at Old Brockway Golf Course. Just never quite this early.
The historic nine-hole course in Kings Beach opened March 16 — the earliest date in its 89-year history, said owner Lane Lewis. The previous record was March 24, set in 1995. Last year it opened April 11.
“The course dried out great. And it’s only been sprinkling here this week. Old Brockway is in the banana belt of Tahoe, where it gets the least amount of precipitation, so we’re able to open a lot earlier. We start composting the snow in early February,” said Lewis, explaining how the Old Brockway staff spreads a black, nitrified humus compost over the snow during the late winter, melting it two to three times faster than normal. “It also perks up the grass a little bit when it gets down there.”
Lewis said the course is in as fine of shape as it’s ever been at the start of spring. He couldn’t say the same last year, as dry winter conditions left the grass ragged come April.
“Everything turned out fantastic this year,” Lewis said. “Last year was the most difficult year we’ve ever had agronomically speaking, because the drought period from November through January when we didn’t have any precipitation, and we had no (snow) coverage and it got so cold, everything didn’t turn out so good. But this year everything came out excellent.”
Lewis credited an early-winter blanketing of snow, which served as insulation for the grass through the cold ensuing months.
Aside from the fortunate winter conditions, the course was created with the intent of early openings, as Old Brockway designer John Duncan Dunn laid out the fairways in a way that best soaked up morning sun, as well as sun low in the southern sky, said Lewis, who typically targets The Masters weekend in early April for opening.
The course’s latest opening date was May 27, in the heavy snow year of 1982, Lewis said.
Old Brockway is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Rates are $30 for nine holes, $50 for 18 holes and $25 at twilight.