It was just a little more than couple of weeks ago when winter still lingered and snow kept falling throughout the Laramie Valley.
After a few short days of welcomed spring-like temperatures, grass quickly turned green and trees began budding leaves.
The chilled, saturated land also warmed up just in the nick of time for the staff at the University of Wyoming’s Jacoby Golf Course to prepare in earnest for the first major summer golf tournament in the state.
The course – laying on a sloping hill on the east side of Laramie – will host the Wyoming State Golf Association’s Match Play Championship today through Saturday.
“All that moisture was actually good, but we needed the soil temperatures to rise about 10 degrees to make things grow,” said Joe Jensen. “I’m proud of what our staff was able to do.
“There’s quite a few players who showed up (Wednesday), and we heard good comments about the course.”
Jensen has been the UW director of golf for 14 years and men’s coach for 18 years, in addition to being the head golf professional managing Jacoby Golf Course. He credited course superintendent Clint Starkebaum and his staff for making the speedy turnaround to get the course ready for a championship.
“The course is pretty good,” Jensen said. “The greens will speed up each day and are rolling well, but there’s a lot of moisture in the ground. Clint has done a phenomenal, wonderful job.
“We have some thick rough. I don’t dare want to say U.S. Open rough, but it’s juicy. The fairways are also somewhat narrow, and we did that by design for the match play – let’s make it a little more narrow and let the rough grow a little bit.”
Jensen said about 100 golfers from around the state will be competing, starting with a slight tweak to the traditional match-play format. The championship flight will have an 18-hole, stroke play seeding qualifier starting at 8 a.m. today with tee times at the No. 1 and No. 10 holes.
Jensen said “there are more players – about 40 - that want a chance to qualify for the 32 spots in the championship flight. The matches will begin in the afternoon and those who don’t make it will be shifted into the other brackets.”
Then it’s head-to-head matches through Saturday.
“Match play is awesome – anything can happen, which makes this format fun,” Jensen said. “In my tenure this is the first time we’ve hosted the state match play.
“We’re to the level where they like having a least one state event of all the different formats at our golf course. Players like coming to Laramie, the golf course and coming to our town.”