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Courses begin drought recovery

The rain has come back, and the brown spots on the fairways and greens are starting to disappear.

While Citrus County remains in a drought, its golf courses appear to be doing just fine.

In fact, some are thriving.

"We've come out of it all right," said Mike Murphy, director of golf at Twisted Oaks Golf Club in Beverly Hills.

"We're in real good shape right now."

As recently as two months ago, Murphy said, that was not the case.

Water restrictions combined with continued hot weather and dry conditions resulted in the formation of brown spots on some fairways and greens.

"There was a stretch there where we got a little brown, a little dry," Murphy said. "Especially the fairways, in May, June and July. They restricted us on water, and we were just burning up. Finally, we started getting some rain, so that offset (the drought).

"Everybody in the area went through that, though. We're back on schedule, even a little ahead of it."

Twisted Oaks is not alone.

"With the rain, the greens are coming along pretty good," Lakeside Country Club teaching professional Hank Brancato said. "I've seen them progress, and the rest of the course is in pretty good condition, too, considering the drought.

"Everybody is looking pretty good."

Most Suncoast courses should peak in January and February.

TOUR OF TEACHING: Brancato was honored recently by the PGA of America for his 50 years of service in the organization. He received a certificate and a lapel pin engraved with the words "PGA 50 Years."

"I've been teaching for 2,000 years," Brancato said jokingly.

VETERANS EVENT: The Disabled Veterans Golf Classic, scheduled for Oct. 10, is being played at World Woods Golf Club in Hernando County.

The event is a fund-raiser for the Service Office of the Disabled American Veterans, Suncoast Chapter 139. Play in the four-person scramble begins with a 9 a.m. shotgun start. For more information, call Ward Cady at (352) 795-5155.

SPECIAL TOURNEY: Lakeside Country Club & Van Der Valk's second annual Citrus County Amateur Golf Championship, benefiting Citrus County Special Olympics, is scheduled for Oct. 21-22. The 36-hole, medal play event is limited to the first 120 players. For more information, call Lenny Peluso or Cheryl Swartz at (352) 726-1461.

ALS CHARITY EVENT: The 15th Masonic District Golf Outing to benefit ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) is Oct. 7 at Lakeside Country Club. The tournament, which begins with a shotgun start, will use a four-person best ball format.

For more information, call George Young at (352) 341-3006 or John Deakins at (352) 489-1611.

CHS CHORAL GOLF TOURNAMENT: The Citrus High School Choral Department is sponsoring a tournament with an 8 a.m. shotgun start Oct. 28 at Lakeside Country Club.

The $35 entry fee includes greens fee, cart rental, on-course refreshment, full buffet lunch and team prizes. Proceeds will benefit the choral department. For information, call Brendan Luce at 860-2089.

ASK THE PRO: Is your short game in need of assistance? How about your long-iron play?

If so, we might be able to help. Send your golf-related questions to Niebuhrsptimes.com or fax them to (352) 860-7320 and we'll get some answers from area professionals.

_ KEITH NIEBUHR

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