January 12, 2007
The past week’s weather conditions finally started matching up with the calendar, so Cape Region golf courses should see a bit of a slowdown in the number of golfers taking advantage of sunny days and semi-warm conditions.
For Cape Region golf course superintendents, that means that they’ll face fewer interruptions as they try to complete their list of wintertime projects.
The keepers of the green in this area depend on the winter to give them the chance to do some of the larger maintenance and landscaping projects that are hard to tackle during the regular golf season.
For example, each winter Shawnee Country Club’s Steve Zeveney tries to rebuild some of the old bunkers, often converting them from sand-faced traps to grass-faced, while also reshaping and improving their drainage systems. Right now he and his staff are in the middle of revamping the right greenside bunker on the eighth green, as shown in the photo accompanying this column.
Many Cape Region golfers will applaud this change, with none-too-fond memories of burying their golf balls into the formerly steep sand-faced slope of this bunker. They may not yet appreciate the fact that grass-faced bunkers can create their own special challenges, especially if the turf is allowed to grow out a bit.
Zeveney and his crew are also doing their regular wintertime work of repairing and readying their equipment for the upcoming season, as well as continuing to clean up tree damage from last fall’s storms.
The staff also posted signs warning the golfers of their plans to spray Round-Up™ herbicide on the dormant Bermuda fairways when the weather conditions are favorable. The chemicals won’t harm the Bermuda grass, but will kill off the invasive poa annua grasses that dot the fairways in some places.
Jamie Palokas started his new job as the superintendent at Baywood Greens in November, after a four-year stint at the highly regarded Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Maryland.
“We’re doing a lot of renovations,” he said. The biggest alteration is a significant upgrading of the first tee box, expanding it by 4500 square feet. “That took 60-70 truckloads of dirt,” he said. “We’re also putting in new drains for some of the bunkers, and reshaping and edging them. We’re doing a little bit of sod work on the bare and damaged patches of rough, too,” Palokas said.
The Baywood maintenance staff have also completely aerified the rough areas throughout the course, using an Aerovator that rolls along punching dimples 1 ½ to 2 inches deep into the soil.
Rob Marshall, owner/operator of Old Landing Golf Course, would like to continue some of the recent success he’s had rebuilding some of the venerable golf layouts’ greens. “The new greens on 16 and 3 turned out well,” he said. “I’d like to do 12 and 14 in February, and 4 and 13 in the spring.”
Mike Maney is the new greens superintendent for Rehoboth Beach Country Club, and began his new duties last March. Previously he worked as a superintendent at Overbrook Golf Club near Philadelphia.
“We’re doing some major work on some of the tee complexes,” Maney said. On the 4th and 7th holes, the tees were all lengthened, so they’ll play a little bit longer. We also made the ladies’ tees bigger, on the second, third, and eighth holes.”
Maney also noted that they are installing new fairway bunkers on the first, fourth, and ninth holes. “These are mainly for the longer hitters, and they’ll act as directional bunkers. They should make those holes play a little harder for those golfers. We’re also reworking a few of the greenside bunkers.”
Many golfers don’t seem to appreciate the hard work required to keep their living playgrounds in good shape for the golf season. These superintendents and their counterparts at the other Cape Region courses deserve our praise and thanks for their efforts, especially during the winters.