Spring off to a slow start.

Unless your working in the Green Department! We cant move quick enough to get the golf course ready for the upcoming season which officially starts this Sunday, April 1st.

If you were in the Philadelphia area for the month of March, you know we spent most of the month under snow cover. The turf that was breaking dormancy in February ( we mowed greens on February 28) has since gone back into dormancy and will require fewer mowing’s to maintain the proper heights. We are out today mowing greens, collars, approaches and fairways with the hope of stimulating growth which is necessary to withstand the wear and tear of play. Lets all keep our fingers crossed for more seasonal weather.

While most of the month of March was spent cleaning up the golf course, we were able to trench for the new irrigation on 6 tee.

And install pipe, wires valves and heads.

isolation and snap valve’s

front head waiting to be leveled, wired and back filled.

My goal is to sod the top of the tee next week and let it root for 3 weeks before opening it and begin working on the back tee. I will ask that once it is open, that you please limit your practice swings on the new sod and if possible use a tee as all tee markers will be located on the lower tee till the back tee is completed.

While the new tee is growing in, we plan on jumping into the bunkers on 13. Unfortunately this project as received no attention over the last 30 days due to the weather. Our new completion date is April 27 for the bunkers.

Warmer, drier weather will allow us to complete the stairs on 1 tee also. We need to add some more stone to the landing areas before we can install the porous pave material.

During March’s Green Committee meeting, the committee approved the recommendation of rounding off corners of the tees. This was a suggestion from the ” Restoration and Master Plan” provided by Wayne Morrison. Wayne was hired by the club to give his professional opinion of improving the integrity of your William Flynn design.

William Flynn:

In fitting a course to all classes in everyday play it is necessary to maintain relative values in the holes. This can only be done by using two and in some instances three tees to a hole-the various players using the tee that fits their particular game.”

“A great many players are averse to using forward tees perhaps because they were originally christened “ladies tees” but regardless of that fact it seems that a great deal more enjoyment could be had if golfers used the tee on the various holes that really suited their game.”  

Wayne Morrison:

Tees –Rounded Corners

Existing and any proposed tees should be maintained with rounded corners with minimal linear geometry. Square or rectangular tees are not only difficult and more time consuming to mow but are unsightly and not in keeping with the naturalized intent of William Flynn. Tees that blend with the natural terrain are a better choice than forcing a geometric shape. Tees should harmonize with the landscape and not stand out as a man-made addition.”

Rounding the corners will save labor while mowing but we will take advantage of this process by increasing tee space by reclaiming teeing area that has been lost over the years from mowing. This loss happens on all features (greens, tees, fairways, etc.) of a golf course from operators not continually mowing up to the edge due to fear of scalping the surrounding rough. Using 12 tee as an example, I believe the time we save mowing rounded corners on tees will be somewhat offset by mowing of slightly larger tees.

left side 12 tee

right side 12 tee

One last note, we are delaying opening the grass tee at the Short Game Area until warmer weather arrives. The tee always receives heavy traffic this time of year. Without the temperatures needed to germinate new seed, the divots will linger well into the spring. I will post the opening on the “daily course conditions” page on website.

Winter update

The moderate February weather gave the green department false hope in having a smooth transition into the the spring. As I mowed greens on February 28th, I noted how little clean up would have to be preformed on the golf course before the season opens on April 1st. This minimal amount of clean up would allow us to focus on the four winter projects that are in progress with a goal of having most of them completed by April 1st.

The plan was to bring back 5 crew members from layoff this week and begin general golf course clean up along with installing new irrigation at 6 tee and installing sod on the top of the lower tee on 6. While the new sod knitted in, we would focus our attention on rebuilding the bunkers on 13, continuing addressing the 19 stumps that remain from the tree health program and finishing up the stairs on 1 tee……

Then enters winter storm Riley! This Nor’easter brought chaos to Philadelphia and the immediate Bala Cynwyd area in particular! Wind gust over 60 mph downed 7 trees throughout the golf course, damaged another half dozen trees and coated the entire golf course with tree debris!

back of 10 green

15 fairway

Fortunately #10 green only received minor damage with #15 fairway suffering modest damage under the weight of the tree trunk falling on the saturated soil. There are multiple branches down and trees that are heavily damaged and will have to be removed. The crew of 8 have begun cleaning up the golf course and was able to open the front nine on Monday afternoon and the back nine Tuesday afternoon with only 10 green being closed. A possible bright side of the storm is the 21 trees that were removed over the winter were deemed dead, declining or dangerous. I feel the golf course would of suffered more damage if we had left these trees standing and a couple of them are on the long term removal list!

Moving forward but not as fast as we’d like as winter storm Quinn is currently unloading 8″-12″ inches of heavy wet snow and predicted wind gust of 25 mph over the area. This will definitely slow us down a bit but we should be able to continue with the tree clean up as the snow melts. And when the snow does melt we’ll resume more detailed clean up of the course along with completing the following winter projects.

Stairs at #1 tee.

All of the wood work is complete. Some back filling on the sides is needed along with filling the landing areas in with stone and ‘Porous Pave”. It should be noted that the “Porous Pave” material needs temperatures above 45 degrees for a 24 hour period for installation. This is the same materiel that is in the landing areas on the stairs leading from 4 green to 5 tee.

#6 Tee leveling.

The top of the lower tee just needs to be floated before new sod is installed. Once installed the tee will need up to 3 weeks before it can be opened for play. When the tee is opened, we will move on to leveling of the back tee. We have all the materials for the new irrigation of the tees. This will be completed as soon as the snow melts and can be done under wet conditions.

Bunker rebuild on #13

Most of the old sand has been removed from both bunkers and stockpiled for future use as fairway topdressing. The next step is grading around the outside of the bunkers to control runoff from running into the bunkers and creating washouts. The left side bunker will require a substantial amount of grading and both bunkers will have catch basins located out side the bunkers. These will tie into the internal drain lines that we’ll install inside the bunkers. Once all of this is completed, new sand will be added and compacted before opening for play.

Tree removals

Between the Green Dept and the Arborist, 21 trees were removed before the storms. 90% of the trees have been cleaned and remove from the course. 5 stumps have been grounded and the grindings removed. These holes will need to be back filled and seeded or sodded depending on location. That leaves one removal, behind 15 green, and grinding, clean up and back filling of 14 more stumps. Plus all the clean up from the winter storm(s).

I will be providing regular updates on a timely basis on these projects. We’ll do our best to have a smooth transition into spring, at the very least, it will be a very busy spring thanks to Mother Nature!