February 5, 2010
The Cape Region’s golf course superintendents usually don’t have much trouble scheduling their wintertime projects. That’s because there is usually plenty of relatively dry, relatively warm weather in which to tackle the kinds of golf course renovation projects that just can’t be done during the season, when the courses are (hopefully) overrun with golfers.
Thus far this winter has been the exception to that general rule, and it’s clearly bugging the greenskeepers.
Jim Prucnal, the course superintendent at Kings Creek Country Club near Rehoboth, said he was painting his office while waiting for all the snow to melt.
“It’s been a pretty unproductive winter so far,” he said. “Usually it’s so mild you can do a lot, but not this year.”
Prucnal said that he and his crew were able to do a little bit of drainage work before the snowfalls in mid-December, but they’ve been largely stymied since then. He said they plan to do more work on the bunker drains at the first hole and adjacent to the tenth green.
He said they also filled in some bunkers on the target-style course, in keeping with a master plan for course renovation adopted several years ago. “We graded off some of the bunkers, and re-sodded the area. We plan to do some more eliminations as we can. Some of these bunkers were penalizing the short hitters, and this course is tough enough,” Prucnal said.
Chris Adkins, the co-owner and course superintendent at The Rookery Golf Course near Milton, said “I’ve had just about enough winter,” and then laughed.
“We’re redoing the drainage in some of the traps, and putting in new sand,” Adkins said. They buy their bunker sand from Tilcon, an upstate borrow pit owner. “They bring us samples, and we get a load and see how it looks. We check for the size of the sand grains, and also the color,” he said.
Adkins also mentioned that if the weather breaks, they’ll do some “cosmetic landscaping.” He stressed that they aren’t planning on making any major changes to the course.
Sussex Pines Country Club in Georgetown has a new course superintendent. Robert Crouse, the new greenskeeper, formerly worked at Cripple Creek CC in Ocean View, Aronimink CC in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, and The Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. He began his official duties at Sussex Pines January 1.
The North Carolina State grad earned degrees in Turf Management and Agricultural Business, and had a volunteer stint at the 2004 U.S. Open, held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Long Island.
Crouse noted that Sussex Pines finished its recent reconstruction of thirteen greens, and now has some other chores to tackle.
“We’ve been working on a few bunker restorations,” he said. “We removed the old sand, found the old edges of the bunkers and rebuilt them, and installed the subground drainage systems in the bunkers.”
They finished that work on a bunker at the fifth hole, and plan to work next on the bunkers at the sixth and eighteenth holes. The plan is to eventually re-work all of the greenside bunkers.
Crouse said they are also going to top-dress the new greens, to “aid in the spring green-up.” They did some of this work before the snow hit, and now simply have to wait for better weather to return to that task.
The new greenskeeper also said they’ve been doing some “selective cutting” of the trees on the course, much of which has become heavily wooded. For example, they cut down 22 trees to the left of the twelfth green. “Those cuts have greatly improved the sun’s access to that green in the morning,” Crouse said.
The weather forecast for the next week or so may gladden the hearts of Cape Region kids, who probably don’t mind a few more snow days interrupting their school time.
However, the area’s greenskeepers certainly don’t share that carefree attitude about the white stuff.