September 27, 2002
The new par 3s on the Delaware Technical & Community College’s Owens Campus look like they will be two tough holes when they are opened for play.
I met with Kyle Serman this week for an update on the progress of the Applied Agriculture Department’s Golf/Turf Maintenance Lab.
Using a mix of donated and purchased materials, student labor, and university staff, Serman is overseeing the construction of the two greens complexes for the College’s successful new program in Turf Management Technologies.
“Since the spring, we sodded in one of the greens, put down more sod in part of the fairways, built the pond and bunker, and now we’re working on the other hole,” Serman explained.
The nearly finished Greenhouse Hole will be 150 yards from tee to the center of the mostly round green, about 5,000 square feet in size. To the front left of the green is a round bunker, about 25 feet in diameter. Almost one-third of the green hides behind the bunker, which will make left-side hole locations a real challenge. The College’s greenhouse, for which this hole is named, sits about 15 yards to the left of the green.
“I’m hoping to put in some Leyland cypress to the front and side of the greenhouse, for shielding. We’ll also install some special material along the side to protect it from golf balls,” Serman explained.
“For this hole, we’ll be using artificial turf on the tee box, after we finish shaping it,” Serman said. “That’s one of the experiments we’re running with these two golf holes.”
To the right and rear of the Greenhouse Hole sits a beautiful pond, with a slightly hourglass shape spread over nearly a half-acre. A sliced tee shot could easily bounce off the downslope and into the water, unless the turf is kept high enough to catch it first. It should look pretty daunting from the tee box, now a raised mound of dark earth.
The summer drought affected the green, and so the students are now working to repair some spots. “We aerated the turf, knifed it to 5 inches deep, and then used a Simple Dimple Seeder to add new L93 Bentgrass seed,” Serman said. “We had a heck of a dry summer here, so we had to deal with it.”
The tee box for the adjacent Lone Pine Hole sits on the other side of the pond, near the access road to the International House. This 164-yard hole should be even more demanding than the Greenhouse Hole, and not simply because of the 70-foot high loblolly pine that stands guard about 20 to 25 yards in front of the right edge of the kidney-shaped green.
This green is also 5,000 square feet in size, but with its added length compared to the Greenhouse Hole, this means a more accurate iron shot will be required.
In addition, a thin stand of trees runs all along the left side toward the green, separating the fairway from the access road. The tree line will force a faded shot to be aimed no further left than the left edge of the green, to make sure no trees stop the shot prematurely. On the other hand, the single tall pine on the right inhibits any attempt to draw the ball into the green, unless the player can also hit it very high.
Think of a 164-yard field goal with a 5-iron, and you have some idea of what golfers will face at this new hole.
Much remains to be done before the two holes are ready for play. The land sculpting for the Lone Pine Hole is nearly complete. Next come the installation of the irrigation and drainage systems, and then the sod for that green and the rest of the fairways.
“We hoping to have them all in by December 15, weather permitting,” Serman explained. “It’s really coming in nice now. In the springtime it’ll really look awesome.”