LEBANON COUNTY GOLF PREVIEW: Course conditions a problem locally
Depending on where you teed off this summer, it's possible you had a rough time.
Not because of the rough itself, but because several courses around the area were chewed up due to treatment issues.
Royal Oaks, which made it to the midway point of the season without any issues, saw some greens become a little chewed up later in the summer. Monroe Valley battled some minor issues as well.
Further west toward Harrisburg, where some area teams may venture depending on league, a handful of courses battled treatment issues; of note, Blue Ridge Country Club, which had to shut down late summer to renovate its greens and fairways.
In York County, Royal Manchester was closed for the majority of summer and under repair, and only recently opened back up.
Some area teams, such as Northern Lebanon, have already encountered issues in early league matches.
"Regarding area courses, from what I have seen, several courses are in the worst shape I have ever seen. I wasn't aware of the chemical issues at Royal Oaks, but as a league we have been forced into playing winter rules at several courses due to such poor conditions," said Vikings coach Derek Margetan.
Palmyra coach Tim Refi said, "We play some awesome courses that most people do not get to play, for example, Hershey Country Club, Harrisburg Country Club as well as Lebanon Country Club for our (county) tournament, as well as our home course. Each public course has its unique things that aid in or hinder the course. I think that all the courses are in good condition and they are making strides to improve the course, despite the tough summer, and challenge even the best of our golfers."
First-year Lebanon Catholic coach Ryan Morrison said that Iron Valley has been in great shape all summer and should be throughout the remainder of the year, but added he noticed some issues during a match at Royal Oaks to kick off the season.
Course conditions aren't the only thing Margetan has had to deal with. After graduating five seniors from last season, his No. 1 golfer going into this season, senior Trevor Shirk, had to have his appendix removed days prior to the Vikings' opener. Margetan said it's unclear if Shirk will be able to return.
Noah Gingrich returns from a season ago and Margetan will have three other seniors, Ryan Biever, Billy Fellows and Austin Via, all in the lineup. Sophomore Cole Felty and junior Christian Weaner will round out the Vikings' lineup.
"We have an incredibly inexperienced lineup and as a result, we are more focused on improving and learning the game of golf than competing within our section this season," Margetan said.
Here's a look at the rest of the area teams:
Coach: Dean Metzgar, 7th year
Returning players: Tyler Schrader, sr., Mason Moore, so., Ben Miller, so.
Notes: Schrader was low man with an 88 at Royal Oaks in the second match of the season. Moore, who was a promising freshman a season ago, and Miller kept Annville in the hunt during that match, which was won by Lancaster Catholic, by shooting a 90 and 100, respectively.
Coach: Rick Dissinger
Returning players: Evan Dissinger, sr., Tim Bomberger, sr., Colin Kosko sr., Trevor Firestone, sr., Adam Hartman, so.
Notes: Dissinger, Bomberger and Kosko all qualified for districts a season ago Bomberger was low man on the team through the first three meets with an average score of 78.
Coach: Dave Meyer, 7th year
Returning players: Cody Tobias, so., Ryan Woelfling, so., Kyle Rosengrant, sr.
Keep an eye on: Blaine Weaver.
Notes: The trio of Tobias, Woelfling and Rosengrant got off to a fast start, helping Elco to a second-place finish at Royal Oaks earlier this season. Tobias was the low-man for Meyer's bunch with a 79 Woefling followed that up with an 82 at Monroe Valley ... The Raiders have shown, at least early on, that they plan on hanging around Lancaster Catholic in Section 3.
Coaches: Ben Brewer, 10th year, and Tim Speraw, 2nd year
Returning players: Cameron Weaver, sr., Liam Maguire, jr. Tim Spangler, so.
Notes: Lebanon hasn't found much success early on, and its section is tough with Lampeter-Strasburg leading the way, but Weaver has shown potential to keep the Cedars competitive and possibly snag a win along the way.
Coach: Ryan Morrison, 1st year
Returning player: Tyler Bender, jr.
Keep an eye on: Katie Blauch, so., Faith Kostow, so., Joe Gates, sr.
Notes: Lot of new faces, reports Morrison. "Just about every golfer we have has just picked up the game," Morrison said. "The kids are passionate about the game, they're passionate about getting better. So far in each match we've seen better results." Kostow is the sister of Annalia Kostow, who qualified for the PIAA East Regional tournament last season.
Coach: Tim Refi, 9th year
Returning players: Tyler Julian, sr., Ben Butcher, sr.
Keep an eye on: Andrew Alquist, fr., Caleb Randall, fr., and Braden Vernet, jr.
Notes: Julian and Butcher return with post-season experience, with Julian making the district field a season ago.