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On a late Thursday afternoon last week there were a number of groups working their way around the nine-hole layout at Forest Hills Country Club.

Most were in short sleeves enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and the beautiful green golf course.

A pair of golfers finish up on the ninth hole at Forest Hills Country Club last week. 

That’s music to the ears of the country club’s board of directors.

“The prolonged good weather has been an absolute blessing for us,” said board member Joe Zelinsky. “The small amount of rain has greened the course up, but not overly softened the course.”

The golfers on the course included Forest Hills members Jeremy Calcote and Ryan Sullens.

The two described the condition of the course as amazing and said it was great to have the course playing so well in mid-November.

Nobody knows the course better than longtime Superintendent Rick Miska, and he described this as the driest fall he can remember.

“It’s been an extremely nice fall weather-wise,” he said. “It got dry enough that I had to irrigate later than I’ve ever irrigated.”

Miska turned on the irrigation during the first week in irrigation. Most years he doesn’t do that much after Labor Day in early September.

Like Zelinsky, he said the course is beautiful because of the conditions.

“Fall is my favorite season,” he said. “When we get a shot of fall rain, the golf course greens up.”

Forest Hills was built mostly over clay, which impacts drainage when it’s wet and how dry the course gets when it isn’t, Miska said.

A group of golfers putts on the fifth green at Forest Hills Country Club last week. 

“Forest Hills is at the mercy of Mother Nature all four seasons,” he said. “If Mother Nature treats us good, it stays in pretty good shape.”

And this fall, Mother Nature has been taking care of the course.

“It’s been an incredible fall, period,” Miska said. “Any time we have good weather like this, the property is blessed by it.”

Miska said he is encouraged that the Forest Hills membership has stabilized after years of decline because of the economy.

“We’ve kind of weathered the storm,” he said.

He is particularly excited that a lot of the play the course has bene enjoying in recent weeks has come from non-members, which is a nice boost.

An angel statue greets golfers near the first tee at Forest Hills Country Club. 

With the holiday season coming up, Forest Hills is promoting its nine-hole punch card program. A punch card for 12 nine-hole rounds is $199, or $259 with a power cart. Additional savings are available for seniors and active military.

For more information, visit the pro shop, call the course at 541-271-2626 or pay an online visit to www.golfreedsport.com.

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Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at john.gunther@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.

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