March 08, 2001 11:00 pm
TIME FOR GOLF: Chris Kerr of Island City takes his swing for a test drive at the Buffalo Peak Golf Course in Union Thurday. Kerr is hitting from hole 15, which is a 165-yard par 3. (The Observer/ERIN WITTEN).
TIME FOR GOLF: Chris Kerr of Island City takes his swing for a test drive at the Buffalo Peak Golf Course in Union Thurday. Kerr is hitting from hole 15, which is a 165-yard par 3. (The Observer/ERIN WITTEN).

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

UNION The golf balls are soaring at Unions Buffalo Peak Golf Course, and warm weather is drawing out devoted players.

The course officially opened for the season March 1, although course committee member Ken Michrina said the grass really hasnt gotten much of a start growing yet.

We need the weather to stay warm and for it to rain at night, Michrina said, only half-jokingly.

The course is already getting steady play, though. Michrina said about 25 to 30 rounds were played Saturday and Sunday, and 30 to 35 rounds Tuesday and Wednesday as the weather warmed into the 60s.

Under the guidance of club pro and manager Fadel Nahle, the season ahead at Buffalo Peak is taking shape.

March will feature early-play special prices: $9 for nine holes and $16 for 18 holes without a cart. The prices include weekend and weekday play.

April will be the premier month for Unions new high school golf team, coached by Jim Martin.

Martin, Michrina said, had about 20 teen golfers turn out, including some who have never played the game before but are getting plenty of practice rounds in now.

The teams first home match at Buffalo Peak will be April 6, with a second home match set April 30.

Junes calendar at the golf course already includes a few club tournaments, Michrina said, along with at least one benefit tournament.

Special play days, such as womens and mens league play, havent been scheduled, but probably will be later this spring.

The courses official opening, with special events and guests, is planned for June 29, 30 and July 1, Michrina said. Organizers are still waiting to confirm celebrity guests and other events, but the opening promises to bring some special attention to Union.

For now, those who played the course in its first months last fall will be pleased to learn Buffalo Peak now has power, water and sewer services, Michrina said.

The restrooms are open, and cold sodas, candy, chips, and packaged deli-style sandwiches are available.

Within a couple of weeks, the clubhouse should have its liquor license, he added, and have beer and wine available for sale.

By summer, equipment is expected to be in place for producing hotdogs and other hot food .

Parking lot improvements are also under way and the city of Union plans to go ahead with Fulton Street improvements through the summer construction season.

At the course, groundskeepers are keeping an eye on the mountain snow. The course is irrigated in early spring using some ditch water as well as the citys effluent from ponds on the course. It also has access late in the season to city water.

But Michrina was quick to note that unlike the majority of golf courses, Unions was designed to conserve as much water as possible. Only the tees, narrow fairways and greens are irrigated, leaving the roughs in native grasses and plants.

There had been discussion last fall about renumbering the 18 holes, Michrina said, but the course committees decision was to leave the numbering system untouched.

Fees are also the same as when the course opened last September.

Fees for those who walk the course are $9 weekdays or $11 weekends for nine holes; $22 weekdays or $26 weekends for 18 holes. To use a cart, add $10. Individual greens passes for unlimited play are $450, not including cart usage.

A variety of pass options and family play options are also available and those interested should check at the clubhouse.

Two phone numbers are also available to call the golf course; 562-9031 is listed in the new Verizon phone book, but that number is also used for the courses fax machine. Michrina recommends that golfers use 562-5527 to obtain information.