Spring has been slow to take hold on Long Island, but it seems to have arrived for good at Spring Lake Golf Club, and it doesn't have anything to do with the name. All that was missing at the Middle Island course this past weekend were the leaves on the trees, which works in golfers' favor for just a short time longer.
Approaching the course from the opposite side of its namesake lake provided the perfect vantage point to admire the deep summer-esque green of the course standing out between the brown trees, themselves just starting to show first signs of color. The course's fairways were in beautiful shape and the greens rolled fast and smooth -- if you ignored the bare branches and the hand-stinging chill that rolled in as the afternoon round wound down, you'd think you were playing in June.
Spring Lake's crew deserves credit for having the course in such impressive condition so early in a season of cool, uncooperative weather. Last fall, new drainage systems were installed on #1, #7 and #10 of the Thunderbird Course, with more planned for this season. The grounds crew was hard at work this weekend preparing the 13th green for play (a temporary green stood in).
You're running out of time to take advantage of the relatively bare limbs at the heavily wooded Thunderbird Course and the Sandpiper nine. Once May hits, trees overhanging the rough and fairways will be in midseason obstructionist form. Good weather or bad, balls that settle inside the treeline sit at the mercy of green-blocking tree trunks.