Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dr. James Beard and Traverse City Golf & CC

It was sad news to hear yesterday that Dr. Beard had passed away.  As everyone has said, he was a true legend in the turfgrass research field.  Dr. Beard has a great history with northern Michigan as well as with Traverse City Golf & Country Club and I got to fit into that his history a few times and find out what a kind man he was.  

I met Dr. Beard when I was an assistant at Crystal Downs Country Club.  He was in contact with Mike Morris the superintendent about conducting some green speed research for him, I think the year was 1992.  I was lucky enough to perform that research for Mike and Jim every morning for two weeks on our nursery green.  Jim had a summer home in Leelanau County and was also a past member of our local chapter, The Northern Michigan Turf Managers Association.

In 2001 the chapter gave Ed Karacheski the Distinguished Service Award.  Ed was the golf pro and superintendent at TCGCC for over 30 years and was a founding member of the NMTMA.  Ed's son Jim accepted the award as Ed had died a few years earlier.  Dr. Beard sent a letter to the chapter describing the history he had with Ed, MSU and Traverse City Golf & CC.

Jump back to 1963 when Dr. Beard planted his first test plots for Michigan State University in Traverse City.  Here is a link to that letter Beard History at TCGCC

Dr. Beard at TCGCC during the MSU Field Day in 1972.  Our tennis courts currently reside there now.
The first snow mold research trials  
Fine fescue treatment trials near 15 tee and not pictured to the left of this were the first glyphosate research trials in the country.

Seed mixtures trials

Now jump ahead to 2008.  After attending one of Dr. Beard's seminars, I introduced myself and invited him back to the golf course because you could still see the rough bluegrass trials he planted with Dr. Rieke in many fairways and I thought he might like the tour.  Jim contacted me in 2010 and wanted to see the course and was wondering if his son and granddaughter could play golf while we toured and had lunch.  She played golf for Texas A&M and shot 74 that day.  It was a really bad summer patch year on two of my worst draining fairways so although I wanted the place to look perfect, I took this time to talk about my issues and challenges.     

Dr. Beard and Ed Karcheski 1972

Dr. Beard and me in the same location 2010
Rest in peace Dr. Beard and thank you for your time.

Steve Hammon

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Golf Course Update

It looks like the 2018 golf season has finally arrived.  The driving range is open today and the dry nine will be open tomorrow, Thursday the 26th at 9:00.  Carts are available and we'll have all 18 holes open next Monday the 30th. 

With some warmer weather we'll have the course looking as good as this drone picture from last year's Kids Night Out Slip n Slide as soon as we can.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Freezing and Thawing

The best recipe for healthy turf in the spring is keeping a solid blanket of snow out on the golf course all winter.  We did have a late January thaw but all of the greens remained covered in snow.  This latest February rain and warm thaw had about everything 1/2 melted during the day then it all freezes again at night.    

One of the danger zones in the spring is when we get some upper 40s and lower 50s with melting snow then a cold front comes in and temps drop into the teens or single digits which is called a flash freeze.  This can cause the cells in the tiny little grass plants to freeze and expand killing the grass.  The crown of the plant is the life of the plant and we need it to not expand with ice while it is coming out of dormancy.

It’s very common to get a lot of rain in late February and March for a few days then that freezes which isn’t the best scenario.  The best formula in the spring is once the snow starts to melt you want it to keep melting completely before refreezing again.  The freezing and thawing cycle is the worst.  We had some really bad ice damage and crown dehydration back in 2002 and 2003.

2002 - 7 greens had winter damage.

Let's keep our fingers cross for a quick warm up once spring arrives.  

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Cross Country Trail is Open

The cross country trail is open for the season.  We made the trail longer this year as it follows 10, 11, 12 and 13 then it cuts over to 5 and goes back 4, 3, 2 and you can catch the loop again behind 10 green.  We groom the trail Mon/Wed/Friday between 10:00 and 12:00 pending on how long it takes to plow the clubhouse parking lot in the morning.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cross Country Ski Trail Update

Happy Holidays!

Besides plowing and sanding the clubhouse parking lot and repairing our fleet of golf course maintenance equipment for the 2018 season we will once again be grooming a cross-country ski trail this winter.  Mother Nature need to build up a solid base of at least 15 inches before we can start grooming the trail. 

We groom the trail Monday/Wednesday/Friday between 10:00-12:00 and this year we are going to make it a little longer per your requests.    

The trailhead begins in the parking lot next to the bag drop area.  The trail then goes down 10, 11, 12 and 13.  Then over to 5, 4, 3, & 2 backwards then it loops in again behind 9 tee.  This is where you can catch the loop again if you wish or head back. 

Load up your skis, bring the hot chocolate and enjoy the beautiful winter scenery on the golf course.  For all of you snowshoe enthusiast, feel free to explore any part of the golf course but please stay off the groomed ski trail.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,


Monday, July 31, 2017

The Real 19th Hole

We all enjoy a cold beverage in the 19th hole after finishing the 18th hole but for my grounds staff and I, our driving range is our 19th hole.  Here are some pictures of my guys at work on the 19th hole. 
The ribbon cutting ceremony back in 2006.

An aerial view looking south.

We blow the divots off of the tee three days a week.  This is called a turbine buffalo blower and I bring this down to help blow off the divots.

Here is our John Deere tractor with a blower on the back to also blow divots off of the tee before mowing.  We get Dave out of the shop to help first thing in the morning.  
Our new debris sweeper works amazing at picking up the divots we blow off the front of the tee.

This is JB our driving range set up guru.  We set up the tee fresh every morning, pick up the tees, topdress/seed the divots, change the yardage sign, and refresh the accessories.

Dave H. mows around the tee bank as well as the target green, banks, and chipper.

Dan mows with our groundsmaster around the trees in the east woods.

Here is Tyler mowing the range fairway.  With all of those fingers up to the target greens it takes longer than normal to get it all mowed.

Ben is mowing the rough on the range.  This is where we really count on a pro shop clean pick the night before.

We mow the tee in two different directions on Tuesday and Friday.  We take the grass buckets off to return the grass and nitrogen back to the tee.  



Once a month or so we spray the range targets and fairway with fungicides to keep dollar spot and other diseases from growing in the bentgrass.  JR is our spray technician.

This is what we like,  long rows of divots vs. scattered divots all over.  
This type of divot excavation will take months to recover.

We measured 235% more grass removed from scattered vs. taking divots in rows.

We use two artificial mats each day to help with divot recovery. A lot of members like to loosen up before golf on mats vs the ground.

A view of the tee and range from above.

Looking north.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Prime Time Summer Evening at TCGCC

We really knocked it out of the park last night during Friday night's couples Wine Dine and Nine with kids night out.  The conditions were perfect for using the drone to capture all of the fun.

Pre shotgun start.

The view north with Boardman Lake and West Bay.

Next time we need a slip and slide that can go all the way down the walking path on 1.

Looking south

Maui Jim and Ecco Shoes were on hand with their tents.

We had about 30 kids for KNO with the bounce house, baseball and other fun toys to use on the 1st tee.

Then it was time to run in the sprinklers!
We had three tents set up for wine sampling and appetizers out on the golf course.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Bunker Rakes 2017

During the 2016 season the green committee experimented with the bunker rakes being placed outside of the bunker.  After much member discussion and the survey results coming back overwhelmingly to have them placed in the bunker.
We rake bunkers, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and will be placing the rakes inside the bunker, off of the slope.  The green committee requests that you replace the bunkers on the inside of the bunker and off of the slope.