Thursday, January 29, 2015


In previous post I have mention that a lot of emphasis this winter has been placed on removing underbrush and cleaning up key wooded areas throughout the property in combination with the yearly tree removal program.  Years of neglect and nature for that matter have created overgrown wood-lines containing down branches, down trees, veins and thick underbrush.  The warmer weather and lack of snowfall during the first part of winter has allowed us to stay ahead of the game on cutting trees while dedicating small crews to address certain wood-lines.  Not only will cleaning these areas help the overall aesthetics of the property; but it will improve airflow and light to areas of maintained turf.  Some may even see a benefit of playability on wayward shots (example being #5 green).  I wanted to share some pictures of the areas that we have been working on:

Rightside of #6:

Hard to believe that just a few short years ago, this is what the right side of #6 looked like....The project conducted prior to my arrival provided added airflow and light to an area of turf hampered by its surrounding growing environment.

The end result of the tree removal project left a extensive clean-up project.  Last Winter, we hired a tree company to come in and remove the large timber that was dropped and this winter we began the final phase of cleaning up the remaining debris and stumps from the project.  Here are some pictures of the finished product.

The snow may make these photos difficult to see the progress, but all the existing material has been removed and the surface is ready for the seeding of a native mix this spring.

Clearing of underbrush started at the tee and continued up the entire right-side of the hole, 20-25 feet into the wood-line.

The same process was conducted to the right of the green.

Rightside of #5 Cart Path:

The underbrush along the entire right side of the cart path has been removed to improve on aesthetics and aid in playability for those wayward tee shots that may be found in the hazard.

In addition to clearing by the green, emphasis was place on touching up the area in the gully to the right while crossing the land bridge.


#12 Tee:
This past fall, we created a new tee box on #12 to provide a different angle and much needed additional tee space on a par 3.  The tree line to the left of the tee had to be cut back because it was encroaching on the line of sight and ball flight.

Outside of addressing the left side of the tee, the entire wood-line in the cove of the upper tees were addressed to improve light and airflow to the three tee boxes.
The entire hillside was stripped a good 30-40 feet up, exposing rock features while creating a possibility of a new bed with plant material in the near future.
What's next?
Number 2 is becoming such a popular spot for the club when entertaining members and guest while enjoying Dining with a Vue, wedding photos or even taking in one of the best views on the property during a round of golf.  This week, we began the process of addressing the wood-line to the right of the tee box by removing the underbrush and any down branches that have accumulated over the years.  The cotoneaster that received damage from last year's harsh winter is being removed to create a new bed containing a mixture of perennials and annuals for an added pop to my favorite hole on the property (well, maybe a close second to #17).
It's the little things that may go unnoticed, but will go a long way in improving the aesthetics and growing environment of Longue Vue.
Till next time, stay warm out there!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Winter Update

Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone had a joyous holiday season spent with family and friends.  The start of a new year brought our first recordable snowfall of the winter and the greens department is fully engulfed in annual winter tasks.

Maintenance Compound:

As mentioned in previous posts, construction continues on phase 1 of the maintenance compound.  The new material storage structure is near completion with only the pouring of the concrete remaining. 
The four bay structure is a welcomed addition to the operation from a fiscal and efficiency standpoint that has been highlighted in previous posts. 

The framework began on the chemical/fertilizer storage building last week.

The 60 x 24 building will serve as storage and filling station for the lifeline of our operation.  I fully anticipate both buildings being operational by the first of March.

Tree Removal:

The yearly tradition of tree work is in full swing as the staff is ahead of schedule (thanks to the warm December weather).  Various trees throughout the property have been removed due to disease infection or damage due to adverse weather conditions.  Emphasis has also been placed on continued cleaning and selective clearing of wood-lines to improve growing environments and aesthetics:
  • Underbrush was removed in the area left of #3 green and #4 tee to aid in airflow for both the tee complex and green
  • The entire corridor of the back tee boxes of #12 was addressed to improve light and playability for the new tee that was added this past fall
  • A small crew has been dedicated to the clean-up on the right side of #6 since the first of December that has drastically improved the cosmetics from the major tree removal projects over the past couple of years
  • The removal of the two large Oaks in #3 gully in addition to the limbing of the two Oaks adjacent to the new back tee is slated for the first of March.
The tree list is extensive and work will continue of the next couple of weeks at addressing key trees in playable areas now that the course has a blanket of snow and the ground is completely frozen.

Equipment R&M:

Another aspect of the operation that is addressed during the winter months is the maintenance on the entire equipment fleet.  Each piece of equipment is worked on from top to bottom by replacing bearings, belts, hoses, fittings, etc to ensure proper working order for the upcoming season.  Following the preventive maintenance, each cutting unit is ground and set to be ready for action. 


Every accessory that you may or may not notice on the course during the season has brought into the shop for refurbishing.  Benches, trash cans, ball washers, tee markers, hazard stakes. rope stakes. cart directional signs/posts and yardage plaques are all cleaned, stripped and painted/stained.  There are even a few new additions to provide that attention to detail that hopefully each of you have grown to appreciate:

Our new cart directional signs will have a wooden theme to match the benches and tee markers

The post that accompany the signs in the fairway have been painted/stained to provide that wooden look
Another important aspect of the offseason (and probably my favorite part) is the time spent brainstorming and working with the assistants towards the upcoming year.  It is the opportunity to sit back and reflect on the past season while pointing out what we can improve on for the next season.  Outside of the daily logistics, the assistants work closely and are exposed to preparing the budget, chemical/fertility applications and capital planning for the 2015/16 fiscal year.  All valuable educational experiences for them to prepare towards their next step of becoming an Golf Course Superintendent.
Outside of the business aspect, the entire management staff takes advantage of the educational conferences provided on the local, regional and national level.  All of us are attending a local seminar next week for the Greater Pitt section and I will be attending two conferences (regional and national) in February.  Continuing education and networking is important for their future, my constant desire to learn and the success it can bring to the course from what we learn in a classroom and from others.
Stay tuned for a update in the next couple of weeks, til then....stay warm out there!