Missing Spray Rig Nozzle

Dear Spring Run Members,

As you are playing golf you may notice the streak of brown grass on #14 green. This was a result of a nozzle that fell off the spray rig as we were applying our weekly foliar fertilizers. When a nozzle falls off like this, the hose where the chemical comes out has a much larger hole. This allows for a lot more spray to flow out than desired, and in a much more concentrated stream. Because the amount of chemical applied is at a much higher and more concentrated amount it can cause a burn to the grass like you see in the picture. This was caught and fixed immediately, and the affected area was flooded with water several times to try and minimize the damage.

 While the grass did turn brown, the chemical should not kill the grass and this brown streak should heal up quickly over the next week or so. Thank you for all your continued support and we hope everyone is having a great summer.

Sincerely,

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Superintendent

End of Season Survey Questions and Answers: F&B Part 2

The F&B Department would like to sincerely thank all those that took part in the End of Year Survey. We actually do look forward to seeing the comments and results each year, as we use them as a baseline for improvements. Constructive criticism is important. If you don’t have a positive experience, we need to know about it. Please feel free to reach out and let us know how we are doing from time to time. I am always available at fb@springrun.com

As a team we each took five comments and formulated responses. We want you to know that we do hear you, and are taking measures that will help us to become a better Club going forward. We want you to be proud of what we do, especially with your guests. We pride ourselves on being a big family in this department, and want you to be a part of that as well.

We will be sending out a survey asking you what you would like to see on future menus. Please be candid and let us know what you are looking for, whether it is a specific dish or specific style of dining. We are looking for everything from the décor, service, drinks, all the way up to the food. We take what we do very seriously, and want to make sure that you all are receiving nothing short of an exceptional experience.

I know everyone is ready to get back to normal, and we look forward to doing so with you. Thank you for your support and for helping us to strive to become the best dining establishment around!

Josh Petrosky
Clubhouse Manager

Part 2

Q: From talking to numerous Owners, I would say the consensus is that Food Quality has gone down since hiring Kris. Personally, we like Kris, but think he tries to be a little too creative with the end result not be what many Owners expect.


A: As a chef, I have always prided myself on being able to bring innovative, compelling offerings to your table. As with any new position, it takes a while to acclimate oneself to the needs and preferences of their new clientele. To that end, I have tried bringing in some new product and worked at presenting it in an attractive way. Clearly, it has not been received as I had hoped. I will do my best to dial it back and present this membership with the food presentations it is comfortable with at the quality level it deserves.

Q: We really enjoyed receiving the weekly dinner menus and we hope you will continue to offer the take-out service.


A: When the pandemic hit, we were scrambling to make sure we were still able to cater to our members in the most efficient way possible while still providing the dishes you loved. We already had an established delivery service and take-out offerings, we just needed to ramp them up a bit. We increased the marketing visibility of our offerings and dovetailed the delivery and takeout options with them, enabling you as members to still enjoy your club’s food & Beverage offerings while quarantined. These dining options will continue to be available for the foreseeable future.

Q: Not sure why a second kitchen and more kitchen staff is necessary for outdoor dining planned in the rehab. When we dine outside now the food is merely carried out from the existing kitchen. And aside from relatively few busy periods, our observation has been that the dining facilities are usually under-utilized with few tables used on many dinner nights.


A: We will be adding over 100 new seats to the outdoor dining areas, including full pool service. With our current facilities, there is no way we would be able to service those seats and turn them over more than once without additional kitchen space and staff. We have also noticed that, during the last year, outdoor seating was at a premium. Understanding that we were experiencing a pandemic that discouraged people from gathering indoors, there is a strong trend towards this style of dining, even after we come out of COVID restrictions.

However, the main reason for adding this kitchen addition is that it is not possible from a logistical standpoint to efficiently run food from the current kitchen to the outdoors, given the configuration of the back of the clubhouse. While we have serviced the temporary pool/outside dining going through the dining room, that is not a long-term solution when all the different rooms are being utilized at once, and food running traffic will create disruption and potential accidents.

Q: I think some of the special event dinners are too expensive.


A: Me too! That’s why we’re always working with our vendors and distributors to source new products that are properly priced and of outstanding quality, so we can pass that savings on to you while still giving you the dining experiences you crave as a membership. We have been using a purchasing program that allows us to compare similar products and shop for the best values available. We also have started buying local Florida produce to offset the rising freight costs the food supply chain is currently experiencing. We have experienced great success using these tools to mitigate our event costs to the membership and will continue to look for ways to return additional value to your membership.

Q: The club did the best they could during this pandemic they should be applauded. I would like to see a bit more variety of things , It is a bit repetitive and by the end of the season I find we are really sick of the choices. Nothing new. This might because of Covid but in years prior this was our feeling as well.


A: We have been open for dinner more this past year than in previous years. For this reason, we have offered many of the same dishes on menus. It would be easy to blame this on COVID, but that’s only part of it. The other part is the staffing issues in the kitchen. Customarily, we have 12-15 staff members in the kitchen. This past year, we had 8. With the current manpower shortage, a great volume of production this past year was dependent upon the culinary management team’s involvement. This allowed us less opportunity to be proactive about implementing new menus. Going forward, we will be proactive in writing and planning new menus for the membership, while working hard to get staffing levels to required levels. As of this writing, we are planning our menus for the next year and devising a timeline for their implementation as well as recruiting new team members. We do this with your preferences and requests in mind, while still maintaining the contemporary and innovative offerings you look for and the menu item quality you expect.

By Chef Kris

End of Season Survey Questions and Answers: F&B Part 1

The F&B Department would like to sincerely thank all those that took part in the End of Year Survey.  We actually do look forward to seeing the comments and results each year, as we use them as a baseline for improvements.  Constructive criticism is important. If you don’t have a positive experience, we need to know about it. Please feel free to reach out and let us know how we are doing from time to time. I am always available at fb@springrun.com

As a team we each took five comments and formulated responses.  We want you to know that we do hear you, and are taking measures that will help us to become a better Club going forward.  We want you to be proud of what we do, especially with your guests. We pride ourselves on being a big family in this department, and want you to be a part of that as well.

We will be sending out a survey asking you what you would like to see on future menus.  Please be candid and let us know what you are looking for, whether it is a specific dish or specific style of dining.  We are looking for everything from the décor, service, drinks, all the way up to the food.  We take what we do very seriously, and want to make sure that you all are receiving nothing short of an exceptional experience.

I know everyone is ready to get back to normal, and we look forward to doing so with you.  Thank you for your support and for helping us to strive to become the best dining establishment around!

Josh Petrosky
Clubhouse Manager

Part 1

Q: We need more options for plant-based diets — meaning Vegan diets. Perhaps something with beans and rice and whole wheat options too for bread, tortillas, etc. It would be nice to see buckwheat pancakes for the brunch option too.

A: We will work on implementing changes like these as soon as possible. Additionally, you can make any nutritional special requests, with a 24 hour advanced notice, and we will prepare your request or some variation of it for you to enjoy either up at the Club or delivered to your home.

Q: Need more waitstaff, also bartender needs to be more consistent. Too many seafood specials! Need more chicken, pork and vegetarian options. More comfort food options, menu items that are geared more towards home cooking, fewer fancy ingredients.

A: During this past season we were understaffed for both kitchen and service, and even though this is not an excuse, it was a reality. But rest assured we are working now to resolve these understaffing issues by implementing early hiring of staff for season. We will take these food requests under consideration when updating our menus.

Q: I have not really eaten at the club a lot due to the pandemic so my comments are very limited. The food service had done a wonderful job on providing delicious food to the residence during the pandemic. I am very satisfied of what they have done.

A: Everyone here is very grateful for your feedback, and we did not let Covid-19 stop us. We are sincerely grateful for the opportunity to do what we love. We are happy to hear that you enjoy and continue to enjoy all that Spring Run has to offer.

Q: The food this year has been subpar. Food taste has been very bad. Rolls hard as a rock. Truthfully the food this year has been the worst it ever been. We want to support the food Dept more but just can’t due to quality of food. Sadly, this is how several of our friends and neighbors feel as well. Chef Mitch does absolutely wonderful food classes. How about incorporating those recipes or techniques into the menu? Servers, Josh and Briana are wonderful!!! Just need to get to the chefs motivated to improve.

A: We will definitely work hard to improve and enhance the food that we produce here at Spring Run.  It is really praiseworthy for us that you enjoy Chef Mich’s classes.  We will definitely follow your advice to include recipes, and methods to help elevate both the taste and presentation of what we put forth.

Q: I have enjoyed special event dining and value. I never have been impressed with dinner food and the quality is only fair and unreliable. Never would think to bring guests and prefer to go elsewhere. Needs great improvement and would need some big discounts to get me to try again. Expanding the club house will not improve the food.

A: These sincere comments motivate us to do our job better. We know we cannot change any unpleasant dining experiences that you have had in the past, but we would like to focus on creating new, and better ones going forward if you allow us the opportunity. One thing we are sure of is that we are working harder than ever before to improve everything we do here at Spring Run. During the pandemic, we were working hard to accommodate the members’ needs, and we will continue to be here to improve of offerings as we go forward. We promise to enhance our offerings, so as to not have a repeat of this past year.

Golf Etiquette

One of the most complex and unique things about the Game of Golf is “Golf Etiquette”.  While etiquette is typically learned on the course, please read through this Blog to help you better understand the proper etiquette on the course.  I will show bulletin points on Playing, Course, and Pace of Play etiquette in this Blog.

Playing Etiquette

  • Showing up for your tee time at least fifteen minutes prior
  • Practice putting. Please do not use more than 2 balls – Putting green real estate can be used by more members.  Try not using 10 balls to practice
  • Looking more than three minutes for a lost ball.  Come to peace with the balls disappearance and move on
  • When a playing partner is swinging or putting, try to stand out of his or her line of vision
  • Please do not stand behind someone while they are putting or hitting a golf shot
  • Not walking in a player’s line on the putting green
  • Be aware of your shadow on the putting green.  Please do not stand in a place that causes your shadow to be cast across another player or that player’s putting line
  • Silence is golden.  As a courtesy, do not move or make any noise when a fellow player hits a golf shot
  • Keep the cell phone on silent and please do not answer or make calls on the course
  • Mark down the scores on the next tee and not on the hole being played

Course Etiquette

  • Filling Divots on the course with sand provided on carts and par 3 tee boxes
  • Repair your ball mark and one other on the green
  • Rake bunkers after use and knock off your shoes before walking on the green
  • Place the sand rakes outside of the bunkers
  • Avoid wet areas and follow directional signs or ropes.  Please step over ropes instead of stepping on the ropes
  • Picking up broken tees which will help prevent damage to costly mower reels
  • Keeping all four wheels on the cart path near tees and greens
  • When entering the fairway, use different paths not to make ruts on the course

Pace of Play Etiquette

  • Maintain a good pace
  • Keep the round moving by being prepared to hit your shot when it is your turn
  • The player that is away hits first in a group.  However, in friendly games, this rule can be ignored in favor of ready golf.  Players hit when they are ready
  • Always try to keep the pace with the group ahead of you
  • Hit and Sit
  • When two players in a cart hit to opposite sides of a hole, drive your cart to the first ball and drop the player off with a few clubs, then drive to the second ball.  After both players hit, meet up further down the hole.
  • Cart path only- use the sand bottles to fill your divot and carry more than one club to your ball instead of going back to the cart for another club.  This takes more time that necessary
  • Always leave the putting green as soon as your group has finished putting

There are numerous bits of Etiquette I haven’t mentioned, like lying the flagstick on the ground carefully, tamping down spike marks when you are walking off the green, and so on.  Following these few tips will allow better playing conditions for the entire membership.  Just know that golf has a way of returning favors, and every piece of etiquette you practice will be repaid.

Thank you,

Jeff Carter, Head Golf Pro

Explanation of chemical applications to be used during re-grassing project

Dear Spring Run Members,

It has been brought to my attention that there are some questions and concerns about the spray applications that will be applied next year prior to re-grassing. I would like to take this opportunity to educate and inform everyone about the products being used and all the precautions that we will take to ensure the safety of all our members, their guests and the environment.

Before I had this posted, I made several calls to fellow superintendents who are either doing renovations this year, or who have done renovations in recent years, to find out what they used for their applications. I contacted Heritage Palms, Palmira, Bonita Bay, and Kensington, as well as talked to several vendors to ask if anyone they knew had substituted something else for round up. Every single one of the people I spoke to all said they used Roundup. The reason is that it is the only thing on the market that will give the most effective and proper kill on the grass. There is no substitute for it. If you remove Roundup from the spray, nothing can replace it, and the effectiveness of the kill will be compromised. As we stated in the Board Meetings, the most important aspect of this project is the kill of the current grasses. If we can’t get a good kill then there is no reason to even do the project. We will because we will be right back in this current situation in a few years and we will have wasted $500,000. Because Roundup is not the only chemical in the applications, we will be using a lower, but still effective, rate of in conjunction with two other products: Trichlopyr and Turflon Ester, along with some ammonium sulfate, and an additive to help the chemical stick to, and be absorbed by, the plant.  

I understand the concerns about Roundup, considering all the news that has been written about it in recent years. A couple facts to keep in mind though, is that it would take years of direct exposure to Roundup to have any harmful effects on anyone in the community. We will just be doing four sprays to the course and it will be completely closed on those days so no one except myself or my assistant will be around the chemicals. No members or guests will be allowed on or anywhere around the golf course.  Once the chemical is dry, it is in the plant and doing what it is supposed to be doing. The morning after the spray, we will run an irrigation cycle on the turf to wash off any residue that might be left. This will ensure that no one will come in contact with chemical applied the previous day. There has also been some concern raised about waterways and the chemicals getting into waterways. We are not going all the way down to the ponds when we re-grass. We will stay about 18″ to 2 feet away from the edges of the ponds, so there is little to no risk of us contaminating any water sources around the property. To ensure that our water is safe from chemical contamination, we will spray down to about 3-4 feet from the pond edge. The remaining 1-2 feet will be hand sprayed to control the application and apply it only to where it is intended. We will also watch the weather closely and make sure not to spray if rain is expected to negate the risk of run off. Leaching is not a big concern since the chemicals being applied are sprayed at low enough rates that the soil will be able to break it down and prevent it from getting to any subsurface water sources.

I can assure everyone in Spring Run that we will take all precautions to make sure that no member or guest comes in contact with the chemical. I hope this answers any questions, but if not, please don’t hesitate to email me or talk to your greens committee representatives. I will be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns anyone has. As always thank you for your continued support as we strive to make Spring Run Golf Club the Best Bundled Golf Community in Southwest Florida.

Thanks

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Superintendent

Fertilizer Burn

Dear Spring Run Members,

As you are playing golf the next few days or so you may see some holes out there that are brown or tan in color. This is due to a fertilizer burn on 15 & 16 fairway. We are currently applying our mole cricket prevention application and incorporating some foliar fertilizers to help with the heal up from the winter damage and struggles we have experienced. The fertilizers can sometimes singe or burn the leaf blades on the grass a little if the air temperatures get to warm before the application can dry.

This is what happened on a few holes. We have made the adjustments to the timing of the application to avoid any future burn issues. This fertilizer burn will not kill the grass or set it back. The burn will disappear in a few days or so and everything will be greened up and growing rapidly. As always thank you for your patience and understanding as we strive to make Spring Run Golf Club the best bundled community in southwest Florida.

Sincerely

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Spring Run Golf Club

Superintendent

Course Conditions and Remedies

Dear Spring Run Members,

I am aware of the many comments and concerns about some of the course conditions we are experiencing this season. I want to assure you that no one is more aware of these issues than me, and we are working diligently to resolve them as quickly as possible. I would like to take this opportunity to explain why we have struggled this year more so than in recent years, and tell you what we are doing to remedy it.

This past year was been very trying for everyone for sure. Beginning in March of 2020, we had to change react differently to a changing and uncertain environment. One of the decisions we made was to perform our closure procedures early last April when the course was shut down and we were in the midst of lockdown. We performed extensive maintenance, and decided to forego the 2nd closure in August so we could stay open and bring in more revenue to help the bottom line. This idea initially worked great, and the club did much better than expected financially. The reasoning was based on the idea that we would be able to do various cultural practices and spot aerifications to weak or struggling areas on the course throughout season that would allow us to get by. That did not pan out like we had hoped, because of the extensive cold spells from November through February. Because of this we had to hold off on some practices as the turf would not have healed properly, creating worse conditions. Bermudagrass needs several things to grow vigorously and heal properly: Sunlight, which we definitely don’t lack here in Florida; Water; Fertility, which we have been pumping out as fast as we can; and most importantly, Warm Temperatures. This turf needs a minimum soil temperature (not ambient temperature) of 65 degrees F to grow. The soil takes a lot longer to warm up after it gets cold. If you get a 2-3 day cold spell where the ambient temperatures fall to 55 degrees or less, the soil temperature will also fall, and once the soil temperatures fall below 65 degrees the turf slows or stops growing altogether. The result is slower healing and increased stress. It can take 6-10 days of warmer weather to get the soil temps back to optimal growth conditions. Therefore, a 2-3 day cold spell stop the growth for up to a week and a half. When the turf stops growing, the canopy of the grass becomes tighter and shrinks. This causes the appearance that we are mowing the turf more tightly… and I can assure you we are not! We actually raise the mowing heights during these periods to reduce the stress on the turf and mow less frequently.

Also, it is important to note that some off-type strands of Bermudagrass, like common bermudagrass (of which we have a lot), will tighten up and thin out, leaving the patches you may see out there in some of the fairways. Common Bermuda occurs when our normal 419 hybrid bermuda, which is an initially sterile plant, mutates back to an “of-type” contamination. Unfortunately, the only way to eliminate off-type grasses are to dig them up and replace them with more 419 or Bimini. The areas on the fairways and approaches that look nice and lush are the 419 and Bimini. The thin areas are mostly common bermuda.

The good news is that we appear to finally be breaking the cycle for the year and moving into much warmer conditions for the remainder of the season.  This will allow us to do a number of invasive procedures that will help these struggling areas healed up. Some of the things you will see us doing is something called “knife-tining”.

These are slits in the ground that will help get water and nutrients into the soil faster, as well as loosen up the soil so the turf and its roots can more easily grow. Along with the knife-tining, we will also be doing some localized core aerifications where we will be removing material from the soil and top dressing it to help provide better growing conditions. I am confident that all these efforts will result in marked improvement very soon.

I will be publishing another article that describes some different practices that we have tried and the results that we have seen.

As always, thank you for your patience and support.

Sincerely,

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Spring Run Golf Club Superintendent

Practice Green Status Update

Dear Spring Run Member,

I am happy to inform you that all the cultural practices on the putting greens have been a success. We have seen a dramatic improvement in the overall health of the green. Though we have seen the desired improvements, we are still cautious of excessive traffic and want to take our time reopening it. The current plan is to reopen Monday morning as the chipping green. The reason is that it will not be the same speed as the greens on the course. Until such time as I can get the practice green speeds matched up to those on the course, we will keep green for chipping only. I am hopeful that it will not take long. Then we will switch the greens back to their normal uses and anticipate a great rest of the season. Thank you for all your support and patience as we have worked diligently to resolve this situation.

Thank you for all your Support,

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Superintendent

Proper Care of the Golf Course

by Jeff Carter, Head Golf Professional

There are a few things that every golfer can do on the Golf Course to help maintain the conditions not only for you but the group that is playing behind your group.
If every member could do just these three things on the golf course while playing, the enjoyment and conditions could exceed everyone’s expectations during their round.

Repairing ball marks on the Green
As golfers, a small amount of our time and attention can go a long way in helping to maintain high-quality playing conditions on our course. Repairing ball marks on the putting greens is an easy way to make a positive impact, but the importance of ball mark repair and the proper tools and technique are often misunderstood. Here are five things every golfer should know about repairing ball marks:

  1. The proper technique for ball mark repair is easy and fast.
    Insert the ball mark repair tool behind the ball mark and gently pull the top of the tool toward the center. Continue working around the ball mark, pulling the surrounding turf in toward the center of the indentation. Avoid using a lifting or twisting motion because this can damage turf roots. Once you have finished pulling turf in toward the center, gently tamp the area down with your putter to create a smooth, firm surface.
  2. Unrepaired ball marks cause lasting problems
    Failing to repair a ball mark may seem like a minor oversight, but there are lasting consequences. Unrepaired ball marks can take weeks to heal, during which time they can cause balls to bounce off line. The damage to the putting surface is also an entry point for weeds that can cause serious problems.
  3. Certain putting greens are more vulnerable to ball marks than others.
    Any putting green that typically receives high, lofted approach shots will be more susceptible to ball marks. The putting greens on par-3 holes are a perfect example. If you recognize that a putting green is prone to damage from ball marks, it is important to be mindful of repairing your own ball mark and a few unrepaired ones nearby.
  4. Soft conditions mean more ball marks.
    When putting greens are wet or soft, ball marks will be more of an issue. This is just one of the reasons why our Golf Maintenance staff works hard to promote firm playing conditions with aeration, topdressing and other maintenance practices. If excessive thatch accumulates beneath the putting surface, ball marks and other turf issues will be more problematic.
  5. Almost any pointed tool can be used to successfully repair a ball mark.
    Many different tools have been created to repair ball marks, including single-pronged and fork-shaped tools. Almost any pointed tool, including a golf tee, can be used to effectively repair a ball mark. Using the proper technique is the key to success. Repairing ball marks is one of the easiest ways that golfers can help Golf Maintenance staff deliver high-quality playing conditions. After hitting a great shot onto the putting green, fixing your ball mark and a couple nearby is an excellent way to keep the green looking great!

If you need a Repair tool, please see the starter before your round. If you need further assistance on how to repair a ball mark, please see any member of our Golf Staff.
Below is a diagram on how to properly repair a ball mark on the green, and Kelsey properly repairing a ball mark on the green.

Finished Ball Repair on Green

Raking a Bunker

Our Golf Maintenance staff works hard to provide good bunker playability and presentation, but the maintenance team can only do so much. Once they have completed daily bunker maintenance it’s in our hands as golfers to keep bunkers looking and playing great. Doing a good job raking bunkers is an easy way to maintain good playing conditions for everyone and it’s a great way to demonstrate care for the course.

The ultimate goal of raking a bunker is simple – use whatever rake is provided to produce as smooth of a surface as possible. This includes raking your footprints and whatever disruption was caused by the golf shot. In addition to this basic goal, there are a few other things to keep in mind while raking that can help maintain the bunker and surrounding grass areas:

• Always enter and exit on the low side of a bunker – do not jump down or climb up steep faces, even if it might be a faster. Climbing steep grass faces can cause serious turf damage in an area where it is already hard to grow grass. Walking up and down sand faces can cause the sand to shift and collapse, which creates playability issues and a time-consuming repair job for the maintenance team.

• When raking near the edge of a bunker, do not pull sand out of the bunker into the grass. Sand can accumulate in the grass around bunkers over time, causing the grass to dry out. Raking sand over the bunker edge also makes it difficult to define the edge, which can be problematic from a rule’s perspective.

• As you are exiting the bunker, use your club to knock any sand off the bottom of your shoes. This is especially important following greenside bunker shots. Walking across the green after hitting a bunker shot can leave sandy footprints that cause playability issues for other golfers and may even damage expensive maintenance equipment.

• The final step is replacing your rake in the location preferred by the course. Courses opt to set things up differently, so you should make yourself aware of the desired location before playing. If you’re not sure what to do, place your rake outside the bunker in a location where it is easily accessible by others and not likely to have a negative impact on play. Lastly, knock the sand off your shoes and then go make that par putt!

Below are photos of Kelsey raking the bunker properly.

Filling Divots on the Course

Just as ball marks require a certain technique to correctly fix, divots also require attention to detail for proper repair. So, the next time you hit a take a divot please keep the following in mind:

When using sand provided on the cart or on buckets that are placed on all par 3’s, it is important to avoid over or under filling divots. Under filling a divot will result in a depression that affects golf ball lie. On the other hand, overfilled divots will damage mowing equipment and create poor playing conditions. To properly fill a divot, bend over and directly place sand in each divot, making sure the sand does not spill onto undamaged turf. Add sand until it is even with the base of the adjacent turf. Finally, just as with replacing divots, use your foot to compact and level the sand. This will provide better soil-to-ground contact to enhance the growth of the turf.

Below are pictures of a divot replaced with sand and a divot that has been left untreated. You will be able to see the growth on the sanded divot versus the divot that has not been properly maintain. Also, pictures of Kelsey properly maintaining a divot on the course.

First day divot left untreated and the other filled with sand.
After one week
After 10 days
Fully healed sanded divot

Golf Course Conditions, Efforts & Concerns

Dear Spring Run Members,

I feel it is important at this time to take a moment and let you know the status of the golf course conditions and the efforts underway to address concerns about it. First and foremost, please know that the staff is working hard to determine the reasons for decline in certain areas, especially at the practice facility. The recent cold spells have really knocked the stand of turf back considerably, as Bermuda grass hibernates when the nighttime temperatures average 55 degrees F or less. This has been going on for periods of time at a stretch since mid-December. The grass never has a chance to get back into growth mode before it is forced to shut down again. When the usually hearty turf stops growing, negative effects from other factors begin to show up.

I have complete confidence in Ben Hanshew as our Golf Course Superintendent. I have managed Superintendents for 25 years, and I can tell you that Ben is second to none. He is dedicated, knowledgeable, and proactive. He has the resources he needs to address any issues that come up. He has reached out to vendors and fellow superintendents for assistance with testing and advice. While we have gotten some good suggestions, no one has said that the course is being mismanaged in any way. Everyone agrees that chemical and nutritional measurements are all in line, and we need to try some new procedures that might get to the bottom of it.

Every course deals with mole crickets, nematodes, Pythium, and other fungus and pesky pests intent on destroying the turf for their own benefit. Thankfully, our pest levels are low due to proactive applications to control them. The course isn’t hungry. Ben has implemented a very aggressive fertilization program to feed the turf. And fungus is just something you have to fix when it occurs, due to various weather conditions. I feel confident the appropriate measures are being implemented as best management practices. So while some other undiscovered issue may be at play, we are doing what normally needs to be done to maintain 92 acres of turf to USGA standards.

This past week, Ben has needle-tined the practice green, with nearly immediate positive results. Aerification gets oxygen to the roots, resulting in incredible proof of growth. He sprayed a flushing agent on all the greens, which begins to bind various organic chemicals, including sodium bicarbonate, in advance of a “flush” of the greens, which will eliminate most of the nutrients, but also any potentially hidden damaging elements. We will immediately replenish nutrients following the flush. Please know that we are consulting with others who successfully employ this procedure on a regular basis with very positive results.

Finally, we are locating the “blowout vents” that were installed in each green when they were rebuilt. We will force oxygen through the network of pipes under each green, permeating the roots of the turf and encouraging immediate growth as it migrates to the surface. This is a novel procedure, but one we would like to incorporate on a regular basis.

While we anticipate that these procedures will be effective, I can assure you of what will be…warm weather and a little rain!

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Mike