Whether our guests are here to visit the Baseball Hall of\r\nFame, tour the museums, or see some of the beautiful sights around Lake Otsego,\r\nmany make the time to play a round of golf right on our grounds here at The\r\nOtesaga Resort Hotel. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Leatherstocking golf course is one of the East's most scenic and challenging resort\r\ngolf courses and offers a premier golfing experience in one of the country's\r\nmost picturesque natural settings. Designed in 1909 by Devereux Emmet, the\r\ncourse features a natural contour terrain that sweeps along the western\r\nshoreline of Lake Otsego and offers gorgeous views from varying elevations. It\r\nalso offers lovely, manicured scenery that inspires the senses, while relaxing\r\nthe mind. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWith\r\nthe arrival of spring and warmer weather beginning to thaw the greens, we\r\nwanted to get a better idea of what it takes to get Leatherstocking Golf Course\r\nin the pristine shape its players are accustomed to. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe 12 person staff that is tasked with bringing the course\r\nback to life is headed by Bernie Banas, the golf superintendent who has been on\r\nthe staff for 22 years. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n“We typically begin in the first week of April, when most of\r\nthe snow has melted away. The first step is a two-week surveying of the course:\r\nraking, picking up debris, fixing any damage the winter has done.” \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nOnce all that has been taken care of, the crew shifts their\r\nattention to preparing the driving range for the flock of locals and guests who\r\nare ready to dust off their golf games. One flock they try to keep away,\r\nhowever is the returning geese. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n“Keeping the\r\ngeese off the course is always a challenge in the beginning of the year. We\r\nhave a Border Collie named Buddie who helps us patrol the grounds. Geese are\r\nafraid of wolves, and Border Collies like Buddie resemble them so closely he\r\nscares off the Geese for us.” \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhile Buddie\r\ntakes care of intruders, the team has moved on to mowing. Since the greens are\r\nmowed so low, they need to be tended to first so that the grass doesn’t grow\r\ntoo long. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAsked what task\r\nhe is most meticulous about, Bernie said “Oh, definitely the greens. We\r\nhave to be careful, especially on a mild winter like we had this year, when\r\npeople are trying to play the greens while there is still frost on the greens.\r\nThis can leave indents on the grounds and cause permanent damage. So we need to\r\nbe very careful to make sure the greens are cared for just right.” \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBernie’s team then gets into edging the bunkers, raking the\r\nsand, redistributing the sand to keep uniform depth, measure the depth of all\r\nbunkers, etc. This process takes about a week. Once that is done, the most\r\ndaunting task is all that remains. \r\n\r\n“Once the\r\ngrounds are all set and we are just mowing and maintaining, we shift our\r\nattention to the sprinkler system. It takes two of us about a month to get\r\nwater in the pipes, check every sprinkler head, and look for leaks. You never\r\nknow what damage you are going to find there. You just hope for the best.” \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAfter that, Leatherstocking Golf Course is open and ready\r\nfor action. We asked Bernie if he had a favorite hole to play on the golf\r\ncourse. He was hesitant to name a favorite, as they each have unique quirks\r\nthat he has found from spending so much time on the grounds. He finally gave in\r\nwhen pressed for a favorite. \r\n\r\n\r\n“Oh, I mean they all are so unique. I will say I do love the 4th\r\nhole at night. When the sun is beginning to go down, you can see the shadow of\r\nthe bunkers and it is very picturesque. But the whole course has so much\r\ncharacter.” \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSo the next time you are in Cooperstown, try to leave some\r\ntime to enjoy the beautiful views Leatherstocking Golf Course has to offer.\r\nKeep an eye out for the 4th hole if you are playing in the late\r\nafternoon. And make sure you thank Bernie and his staff for making\r\nLeatherstocking Golf Course the jewel that it is.