Hot, dry summer takes its toll at Oak Brook Sports Core
A golfer gets ready to hit his next shot Tuesday at the Oak Brook Golf Course. Attendance was up a bit Saturday to Tuesday, but hot summer temperatures have resulted in a 20-25 percent drop in overall play. | Chuck Fieldman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 3, 2012 1:02PM
OAK BROOK — Despite being in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record, Ed Campbell hasn’t missed his weekly tee times at the Oak Brook Golf Course.
But the La Grange resident admitted the hot weather has shortened some of his rounds.
“If you’re an avid golfer, you still are going to come out and play, but sometimes we’ve quit after nine holes,” Campbell said. “I play in a league, and the seniors aren’t going to play 18; it’s just been too hot for that.”
The weather has had a significant effect this summer on the Oak Brook Golf Course, and to a lesser extent the rest of the Oak Brook Sports Core, which includes the swimming and diving pools at the Bath & Tennis Club, and eight tennis courts.
“Golf has been the place where we’ve seen the biggest impact because of the weather,” Sports Core Director Trey VanDyke said. “The number of rounds has decreased. They came out the first couple of hot days, but then decided it was just too hot to be out there.”
There has not been a noticeable change in the number of people playing tennis, VanDyke said.
“I think tennis players have tended to always stay away from that 2-4 p.m. time when it’s usually the hottest,” he said.
VanDyke said the number of rounds played on the golf course is down 20-25 percent from the norm because of the hot weather.
“Along with the heat, we have had so little rain this summer,” he said. “It makes it tough to not have any rain days at the pool; everyone needs a rain day and a break once in a while. But we’re very fortunate that we don’t have to buy water for the golf course. We pump our own well water.”
While having an ample supply of water has kept the grass green on the golf course, VanDyke said staff has dealt with another issue.
“We’ve had a fungus problem because of the high heat and humidity,” he said, adding that chemicals are used to deal with the fungus. “It’s a difficult situation overall because we’re spending more to maintain, while the number of people playing goes down.”
While the number of rounds played on the golf course this summer has decreased considerably, pool attendance is up about 15 percent, VanDyke said.
“When it gets 95 and hotter, even the pool suffers because a lot of people just don’t want to be outside,” he said. “A lot of people have changed their patterns; they stay away from coming during the hottest times of the day.”
Stacy Cordes, a member of the Bath & Tennis Club at the pool Tuesday, said the hot summer has had a minimal effect for her and her family.
“We still come, but maybe don’t stay as long,” she said.
Evan West, a first-year lifeguard at the pools, said he got more than he bargained for this summer with his job.
“I didn’t expect it to get up into the 100s,” he said. “I jump into the pool whenever I can, and I did go home sick one day from the heat.”
VanDyke said lifeguards use umbrellas while working to shade themselves from the direct sunlight. They also are encouraged to stay hydrated by drinking water.
“We’re careful, too, with the kids we’ve had in different camps,” VanDyke said. “That really hasn’t been a big issue, though, because we don’t have them for more than a couple of hours at a time.”