December 15, 2011

The Year In Review...

It's that time of year, already! They say time flies when you're having fun and man did this year fly by. Seems like yesterday I wrote the first Claremont Turf Department Blog on January 16th of this year. After 35 posts and over 4,600 page views, after 11 months of hard work and dedication from the staff, after a long, rewarding and successful golfing season, we continue to have fun! Nothing beats seeing all the little things the staff work so hard on pay off and with this final post of the year, I will take the time to review the many practices and accomplishments that played a part in the success of 2011.

Fairway Topdressing with Bulk Applicator

Of all the practices that we have adopted over the last few years, it's the cultural practices that have made the largest impact. Cultural practices include aeration, spiking, verticutting, brushing, grooming, topdressing, over-seeding and irrigation practices. While many of these practices are sometimes looked at as disrupting to the day to day playability of the golf course, the results of a solid cultural program speaks for itself. The following is a review of our cultural schedule for the year:
  • Greens were core aerated and sanded heavy 3 times
  • Greens were deep tine aerated 3 times
  • Greens were solid tined or spiked, verticut and sanded monthly from April to October
  • Tees, Collars and Approaches were core aerated, seeded and sanded 3 times
  • Tees and Approaches were Verticut and lightly topdressed monthly from May to September
  • Fairways and Approaches were spiked monthly from April to October
  • Fairways were slit-seeded with a blend of Chewings Fescue and Ryegrass in the fall
  • Fairways were topdressed with sand 6 times with a total of 1800 tons of sand applied
  • Rough was core aerated in spring and fall
  • The practice of deep and infrequent irrigation continued throughout the year; Greens were watered every 5 to 10 days throughout the growing season with each watering equalling a 1/4" rain event; Fairways and Approaches were watered heavy every 4 to 7 days throughout the growing season.
The number one goal for us in the turf department is plant health and the conditions we have enjoyed this year are directly related to these practices. In making plant health a priority, we take a soils first approach to our agronomic plan. This includes the use of organic fertilizer, composted manures and meals, sea kelp extract, compost tea, humic acids, organic acids, molasses and calcium. These products promote a biological diversity and balance in the soil that is key for the development and culture of fine turf.  Moving forward, we intend to use less synthetic fertilizers and less chemicals as we build a more sustainable soil environment.

Drainage Installation Hole 7

The staff in the Turf Department has been hard at work on many in-house projects throughout the year. Projects for 2011 included:
  • Drains on holes 7,8,10,13,14, & 15. Over 1000 feet of drain pipe installed!
  • Tee leveling and re-sodding on holes 16 & 17
  • Removal of the screen and landscape at 9 tee
  • Various tree removals, selective tree pruning and maintenance and repair work
  • Continued Fescue/Native grass establishment and Hydro-seeding on holes 4,7,8,12,13 & 14

Hydro-seeding on Hole 13

 A handful of new tools and equipment were put into place this year including a new fairway mower, a tri-plex mower for tees & approaches, new walking greens mowers, a greens roller, a drum aerator for fairways & roughs and the all important soil moisture meters that are used to check moisture content in the rootzone. This equipment has given us the ability to prepare the golf course at a much higher level on a daily basis. In preparation for tournaments, we are now able to mow the entire golf course in 4 hours. A huge thank you goes to the Board of Directors, the Green Committee and the Membership for their continued support of the Turf Department.

Soil Moisture Meter

The tournament season here at Claremont was a busy one to say the least. Starting in March with the Tal Smith and finishing in December with the Cross Country, balancing the work needed to keep the golf course in shape day to day and then timing everything to peak for the bigger events is an art and science.  With a little luck from Mother Nature and lots of planning and follow-up, this year's tournaments were successful and very rewarding for myself and the staff to be a part of.

It's been a great year for us in the Turf Department thanks to the hard work and detail oriented approach from the staff. We are proud of the work accomplished and the condition of the golf course shows just how dedicated these individuals truly are. Please thank the staff when you see them as they are the ones here at 5am every day ready to present the golf course as best they can. While we are very happy with the progress made, we know there is a long way to go in getting the course up to the condition we expect. Good things come with time and we are heading into 2012 with a long list of course improvement projects. Combine this with a continued aggressive cultural maintenance plan and a sound agromomic plan, we expect to see course conditions improve in 2012 and each year as we move forward.

Claremont is truly a special place and I feel extremly fortunate to be working on such hallowed ground. Great course, great people and a great club. Thanks to all of you who follow the blog and as always, any suggestions are welcome and wanted. Email me anytime at or find me on the course.

Have a great holiday season and we'll see you on the course in 2012! No backlapping please....

November 20, 2011

That Looks Familiar...

I took great interest in watching the Presidents Cup this year for a few reasons. First off, any time a great classic course is hosting a major event I like to see the course as much, if not more than the golf. Secondly, the ties formed between Claremont and Royal Melbourne at this years MacKenzie Cup (the team from Royal Melbourne won the Cup here at Claremont) had me even more interested. In the first few minutes of the TV coverage, I knew we were in for a treat as much of the talk was related to course conditions, the firmness and speed of the greens and the classic MacKenzie design. Perfect for a golf geek like me!

One thing I noticed right away was how the bunkers were maintained. As you can see in the picture above, the bunker faces at Royal Melbourne are packed and smooth raked while the bunker floor is raked as normal. This technique is very similar to what we have been doing here at Claremont for the last two years.

We maintain the bunkers in this fashion for a few reasons. The main reason we smooth rake the faces is to keep golf balls from plugging in a steep bunker face. I, and most golfers would say that a plugged lie in a bunker face is unfair and by smoothing and compacting the faces of the bunker, most of the time, the ball will roll to the bottom of the bunker. Of course, from time to time, a ball will plug in the bunker and all I can say to that is... Don't hit it in there! It IS a hazard. This method of raking bunkers, on most days, allows us to spend less time than usual working in the bunker and gives the staff more time to focus on other detail oriented work. During the golfing season, we rake the entire bunker only twice a week. The other five days, we rake out the bunker floor and do not touch the faces. The time it takes to prepare the bunkers is cut in half on those days when we are only raking the floor all while the look and playability continues to be great throughout the week.

During the winter months, weather dictates how and what we do in the bunkers. Following a large rain event, the priority will be to remove any standing water, repair wash outs and remove any bunker sand that has become contaminated with silt, soil or debris as result of the storm. Once all bunkers are repaired and if the forecast is for clear weather, we will rake the bunker floors and prepare them for play. Many times, if there is another storm on the way, we may forgo re-raking them as they will soon be damaged again. After a large storm, it can take days to repair and re-rake all of the bunkers so please bear with us as we will do all we can to get them back in shape. Thanks and we'll see you on the course!

Josh Clevenger
Golf Course Superintendent

November 3, 2011

Last One of the Year

Monday and Tuesday we performed a solid tine aeration to the greens. This was our last aerification of the year and an important one going into winter. The following is a detailed sequence of events that we use to accomplish our goal of aerification to the putting greens all while minimizing the disruption to play.

Step 1: The greens are verticut in two directions.This vertical mowing results in shallow lines into the turf canopy where grass and thatch has been cut and removed leaving space for sand to settle into.

Step 2: Greens are sanded then aerified with a 1/4" solid tine tine to a depth of 9". The machine used is called a vertidrain and one of it's many benefits is the "kick adjustment". This allows us to adjust the tines to kick while they are below the surface of the green resulting in fracturing of the soil and a break up of the hard pan layer that naturally develops after a typical core aeration program. The point here is, while the result to the surface is a small 1/4" hole, the process is very aggressive under ground opening up new pore space for water, air and roots.

Step 3: Once the sand is dry on the surface, the green is rolled taking out many of the imperfections and working the sand into the turf canopy. We then brush the green with a mechanical drag brush and roll again. 

The finished result was a smooth but sandy surface and all in all, a very succesful aeration. Thanks and we'll see you on the course.

Josh Clevenger
Golf Course Superintendent

October 18, 2011

A Celebration of TEAM!

Monday we held the First Annual "Deep Tine" Open at Claremont CC. This tournament was put together by the Green Committee and meant to celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of the staff in the Turf Department.  A major thanks to Scott Stone for suggesting we hold the event and the idea for the name "Deep Tine Open". 

The staff prepared the golf course for themselves and their playing partners as if it were the biggest event of the year. A 10am back nine shotgun followed by a BBQ in the redwood grove made for a great day for those of us in the Turf Department and the members who joined us.

The winning foursome, with a score of 3 under par was : Don Dorward, Octavio Ramirez, Miguel Victor and Mike Newbould. Their names soon to be displayed on the prestigious trophy that will hang on the wall of the maintenance facility!
I must thank all of the members involved; Matt Heafey, Scott Stone, Rick Weible, Tim Carr, Ken Dorman, Ned Wood, Don Dorward, Hank Carlson, Bill Conn, Ken Meyersieck and Bill Caldwell. Also, a big thank you to all of the club staff involved; Eric Gregory, Jason Asbra, Juan Carlos, Chef Robert Gee and his staff, Rich Strauss, Jay McDaniel and Randy Gai. The help and support from all of you on this event meant so much to the staff in the turf department and without that support, this event does not happen.

I am very proud of the efforts made by the staff this year. For many, this was their first time on the golf course as players, not workers. The day was all about fun but at the same time, the staff got a taste of what it's like to see the course from the perspective of the golfer. We look forward to many years of the Deep Tine Open and many fond memories on the golf course. 

Josh Clevenger
Golf Course Superintendent

September 21, 2011

Fall Maintenance Update

Yes it's that time of year... Again. Aerification!
We have enjoyed some good conditions throughout the golf course this year and this is directly related to the cultural programs that we've put into place over the last two years. Of the cultural practices we employ on the golf course, the most important is proper aerification of the playing surfaces. This will begin Monday the 26th with the aerification and sanding of the putting green and the front nine greens. Tuesday the 27th, the back nine will be closed to play as we aerate and sand. All 18 holes will be open for play Wednesday.

The picture above depicts the effects of aerification in both the soil and to the grass plant itself. After a long growing season, the upper rootzone is compacted from all the mowing, rolling and foot traffic from golfers and maintenance staff and it is critical to relieve this compaction as we go into the winter months. The greens should be back in shape and healed up in 10 to 14 days and we look forward to some great playing conditions this fall and into the winter months. Thank you and we'll see you on the course.

Josh Clevenger
Golf Course Superintendent

September 14, 2011

MacKenzie Gathering

"The best golfing grasses vary in color. They may be red, brown, blue, dark green, light green, yellow and at times even white. A golf course that is consisted entirely of one shade of green would be merely ugly." - Alister MacKenzie

On the eve of the final day of the MacKenzie gathering, I must say that it's been an honor and privilege to be a part of such a special event. The staff in the Turf Department and I are proud of the work that has been accomplished leading up to and throughout the event. It's been a long stretch and it takes a lot of work to prepare the golf course to look and play as it has over the last few weeks. I must say that tournament preparation for me is the most rewarding of all the things we do as Golf Course Superintendents and I will be a bit sad to end the day tomorrow. I've had the opportunity to meet with and spend some time with some very special people who are all so passionate about one thing - Golf. Thanks to all involved and thanks for a great week.

Josh Clevenger
Golf Course Superintendent

August 28, 2011

Bunker Basics

Over the last few weeks I've noticed some poor bunker etiquette. The general idea when raking your bunker is to leave the sand close to, or in better condition than you found it.  The following pictures are all from the last week or so.

This bunker to the left was beautifully prepared by the staff in the turf department and it appears someone simply failed to rake their footprints leaving this for all the golfers that follow.

This picture tells quite a story. The golfer here apparently entered the bunker on the low side, played his or her shot and attempted to rake over their footprints while walking up the steepest point on the bunker face. While this is an improvement from the last photo as an attempt was at least made to rake the bunker, there are still footprints across the entire bunker and piles of sand where the golfer attempted to exit the bunker. Please remember to enter and exit the bunker on the low side. This creates much less work for you the golfer and helps to keep the integrity of the bunker faces and bunkers noses.

Here is one that is way too common... The sandy footprints tracked all over a green early in the morning. These footprints were on the green all day affecting the experience for each following member and guest. Please remember to tap your shoes off before walking across the green. The staff in the turf department cleans and mows or rolls each green daily by 9am and after that, it's up to the golfer to make sure the golf course is left as he/she found it.

Following these simple tips on etiquette can have a major impact on the golfing experience here at Claremont. While mainly up to the golfer to make sure the course is left as he found it, at times caddies may be made responsible for the bunker raking and fixing of ballmarks. Currently we are scheduling a training day for the caddies to review many of the practices that have an affect on the golf course and the golfer. Thanks and we'll see you on the course.

Josh Clevenger
Golf Course Superintendent

August 11, 2011

The Fine Art of Handwatering

I received the question yesterday: Why do you do all this handwatering? There are many different reasons why we handwater. The fact is that no irrigation system is perfect and to provide the consistent playing conditions that we strive for daily, we must do some amount of handwatering.

Miguel handwatering new sod at #9 Tee.
Our number one goal in the turf department is plant health. Our philosophy with regard to irrigation is deep and infrequent. For the course at Claremont this means a heavy or "deep" irrigation cycle every 7 to 10 days where we water the golf course to the equivalent of 1/4" to 1/2" of rain. In between these deep watering's, we supplement the areas that need extra water with area specific irrigation and handwatering.

The deep and infrequent program does many good things for plant health and for the playability of the golf course. First and foremost deep watering promotes deep rooting and in turf, it's all about the roots. With water comes oxygen and when we water deep enough we actually pull oxygen into the rootzone. As the water moves down through the soil profile, we allow the surface to "dry down" and in turn, the roots of the plant go down searching for that water. Deep Roots = Good Turf.

Micro sprinklers set up in the rough

A wise old superintendent once told me that if you are not handwatering, you're over watering. We could just turn on the irrigation every night, water enough to keep things green and go home at 2:30. This promotes a shallow root system and in turn, turf that will not hold up to the stresses that we put it through daily. The move for golf courses to use less water and promote firm and fast conditions is not just good for playability but good for the environment. Remember, a little brown grass is OK. Thanks and we'll see you on the course.

Josh Clevenger
Golf Course Superintendent

July 12, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy!

As you can tell  from the lack of activity on the blog, we've had our hands full on the golf course over the past few weeks. What has historically been the quiet time here at Claremont (the weeks following the 4th of July) has also been the window for us in the turf department to do all those little pesky thing that make the members wonder "Why are they doing that?" Well, wonder no more.....


This is nothing new here at Claremont. What is new is the addition of a cultural practice called "Slicing". Slicing is a form of solid tine aeration that helps water to penetrate the soil, helps to allow air down into the root zone and give us some pore space to actually work the sand into.

Bulk Sand Truck In Action

Moises on the Fairway Slicer

Fairway after Sand & Slice - Prior to finish Dragging


The greens were core aerated with a 3/8" hollow tine and sanded heavy on July 5th and 6th. Despite some difficult growing conditions going into and throughout the aerification process, the greens are healing nicely and in just a week we are seeing the holes close up. The greens should be back in great shape by this time next week. This is a new process for Claremont from a timing perspective only. Typically, greens aerification has only been performed in the spring and fall. A mid-season aeration of the greens will help us to properly manage them at a high level throughout the rest of the growing season and help us to provide the firm and fast conditions that we all have come to expect and enjoy.

#5 Green One week - Post Aeration - Few Holes Remaining

#5 Green One week - Post Aeration - No Noticeable Holes

The number one goal for us in the Turf Department is a healthy stand of turf throughout the golf course. A large part of attaining that goal is the need to perform these all-important cultural practices. While at times, we will have to put up with less than perfect conditions around these practices, we are committed to the idea that a healthy stand of turf is one that will thrive and in the end, will require less inputs in the form of chemicals, water and fertilizer. Thanks to all for your understanding and we'll see you on the course!

June 20, 2011

US Open Set Up

Another US Open is in the books and as we watched Rory lap the field, talk of course set up became the focus. I thought it would be interesting for many of you to get a taste of what it takes to set up a golf course for the US Open. The link below is a clip of the superintendent at Congressional Mike Giuffre and Mike Davis of the USGA discussing the set up and preparation of the golf course leading up to the tournament.

Hat's off to the staff and 120 volunteers at Congressional for preparing the golf course to look and play as the major championship venue that it is. The golf course looked and played fantastic leading up to the event and then the rains came and softened the course to the point that the best in the world could go low. What's the point here? All the work, all the blood sweat and tears that go in to making our golf courses great can be diminished on many levels by Mother Nature. Weather a US Open or a Men's Invitational it's something that we, as superintendents deal with daily and the weather dictates many of the practices we employ especially around tournament time.

Next year, the US Open comes to San Francisco and the Olympic Club. Myself and a few of the staff from Claremont will make the trip across the bridge for the entire week to volunteer for the tournament. We will be just a few of the 100 or so other superintendents and assistants volunteering to rake bunkers, handwater fairways and help the staff in any way we can as Olympic Club sets up for their big event and I can't wait! The opportunity to be part of such a tournament is one not to pass up and for me, setting up a golf course for a big event is really what it's all about. As a superintendent and a staff, you are tested on all levels. The US Open or the Invitational at Claremont, either way it's time to step up to the plate! Lastly, for those of you still interested, a link below details the week at a US Open for the volunteer.

Thanks and we'll see you on the the course.

June 14, 2011

Invitational Update

I know it's been quiet on the blog page for a while so I thought I'd share some of the pictures I took while setting the course for the Men's Invitational. The course looked and played great throughout the week for the men and continues to shine for the ladies this week. Thanks to the staff in the turf department for their hard work and attention to detail over the last few weeks. The staff looked like the professionals they are, all dressed in new uniforms. They stepped up to the plate and hit a home run during those three days of tournament time when all the pressure was on. Enjoy the pictures in the slide show above and we'll see you on the golf course.

May 29, 2011

Ball Mark Repair

After seeing the greens this morning I thought it would be appropriate to re-post the video on ball marks. We found many ball marks that were not repaired this morning with #7 green having a total of 17. Something to keep in mind is with the firm condition of the greens, many times your ball mark is well short of where your ball may come to rest. The 7th green is a good example of this as many balls will hit the green and end up just off the back.

My Dad taught me as a kid to always fix my ball mark and one other with the idea being to leave the golf course in better condition than I found it, thinking about the players that follow me. Little did I know that one day I'd be blogging about this lesson learned from Dad!

Please pass this around, tell a friend and don't forget, there are free ball mark repair tools in the golf shop. Thanks and we hope you enjoy the course!

May 26, 2011

May Team Member Profile

Richie Pilat 

Maintenance Team Member Since 2003
Position: Greenkeeper
Duties: Equipment Operator
Family: Single, son Elvis
Interests: Biking, snowboarding and IPA

Richie spends most of his time here at Claremont mowing Tees & Approaches.  He is part of the weekend crew and helps with mowing and rolling of the greens and general set up of the golf course.  Richie's easy going attitude and good sense of humor keeps everyone in the turf department smiling.  Keep up the good work Richie!

May 21, 2011

Golf Course Maintenance Update

As we approach the summer growing season many important practices are being performed by the staff in the turf department.  I want to take a minute to update you all on what has been our focus over the last few weeks and where we're going as we lead up to the men's and women's invitationals.

  • If you have played the golf course recently I'm sure that you've noticed the greens being faster than usual.  This is directly related to the new greens mowing equipment that has been put to use over the last month.  These new mowers are fantastic and we are seeing the results already with smoother and faster greens.  Setting them up to achieve what we want will take some trial and error as we are seeing the greens a bit faster than our target speed.  The goal for green speeds are 10 on the stimpmeter for weekday play and 11 on the weekends. 

  • We have finished going through all of the bunkers on the course.  Each bunker is inspected for the proper depth of sand and adjusted accordingly.  Dirty or contaminated sand is removed and new sand is added to "freshen" the look of the bunkers.  Finally, the sand is turned over throughout the entire bunker to relieve the compaction that we see as a result of the winter rains.  The bunkers will be a bit inconsistent for a period of time as the newer sand will settle and keep in mind, a bunker is a hazard!

  • The bare areas in the fairways have been re-sodded as of last week.  The bare spots are a result of heavy traffic throughout the rainy season.  Many of these areas become to wet in the winter and struggle to survive as we continue to keep the course playable.
  • All fescue areas and "native grass" hillsides have been mowed down for the final time this season.  Soon these areas will dry up and brown out to create a nice contrast from green maintained turf to the brown natural look found on hillsides throughout California in the summer.
  • Greens, Tees and Approaches were verticut and sanded in the last two weeks.  The process of verticuting helps to remove thatch and "true" the surface and combined with a light sand topdressing, is an important cultural practice for healthy turf management.  This will take place every 3 to 4 weeks throughout the growing season.
Please remember to leave the golf course better than you have found it by doing these few things:

  • Fix your ball mark and one other
  • Rake out all foot prints and scars once leaving a bunker
  • Tap the excess sand off of your shoes before walking onto the green
  • Please use sand and seed for all divot repair
 Thank you all and we'll see you on the golf course!

May 11, 2011

New Divot Repair Policy

As you may have noticed we are keeping the golf course firm and fast this spring, a practice that will continue throughout the summer.  One result of the drier conditions is the inability for divots in the fairways to re-establish as seen in the picture below. 

The new policy we'd like you all to follow is simply to use the sand and seed mixture to repair all divots.  Please do not replace the grass divot as it will not have a chance to survive.  There are sand and seed bottles provided on all golf carts.  For those of you who walk the course, please take with you a bottle from the box at the first tee.

There are re-fill stations at the tee on holes 2, 6, 10, 13 & 16.  When you run out of sand and seed in your carry bottle, we ask that you place the empty container in one of these stations and take a full one with you.  This will help us greatly in keeping a sufficient amount of full bottles at each station.  Please remember to fill the divots level with the surrounding turf and step on it to tamp it down.  Thank you and we'll see you on the golf course.

May 5, 2011

It Feels Like Summer Out There!

Things are heating up and the staff in the turf department has been very busy for the last few months prepping for the upcoming growing season.  With temperatures in the low 80's for the last few days it seems as though spring is gone and summer has officially arrived.  Our main focus for the next six months will be the proper irrigation of the golf course.

The climate here in California, with the extended dry season makes proper water management essential to providing outstanding turf.  There are many things to consider with regard to irrigation, it's much more than just turning on the sprinklers.  The varied soil types, many different grass types and the amount of elevation change here at Claremont present a challenge to say the least.  We have a good irrigation system over-all but no system is perfect and to provide the turf conditions that you expect throughout the summer we will need to hand water portions of the golf course.  At times you will see the staff pulling hose and hand watering areas on the golf course that do not receive the proper amount of water via the irrigation system. 

This winter, we've built a few "micro sprinkler" sets that the staff can easily carry around course to set up in rough and out-of-play areas to help the efficiency of our program. 

Micro Sprinkler Set on #5
One thing to remember, when you are out in the morning you may see sprinklers up and running throughout the golf course.  This is the only time of the day that we can efficiently test and inspect the sprinklers and this process is critical to maintaining the system.  These sprinklers will only run for a few minutes and we will do our best to monitor for any golfers around this work.

April 26, 2011

April Team Member Profile

Jesus Frutos-Victor "Chewy"

Maintenance Team Member Since 2006
Position: Greenkeeper
Duties: Equipment Operator, General Labor and Detail work
Family: Single, 1 child
Interests: Long distance running, work

Chewy started here at Claremont as a seasonal staff member in 2006 and was promoted to the full time staff in 2009.  Over the last year Chewy has taken on many new job assignments with great enthusiasm helping the entire operation become more efficient and cohesive.  While being a quiet person, he always comes to work with a great attitude and leads by example with a tremendous work ethic.  Thanks to Chewy for a job well done!

April 13, 2011

The Taming of the Fescue

One of the things that makes Claremont so special is the bunkering.  The classic style, the way the bunkers just fit where they are and look as if they'd been there forever really gives us the sense of working on a 100 acre art piece.  One that is continually evolving, growing and being beaten up by golf carts, animals, tractors and the like.  This place just has it.

A major feature of the bunkering here at Claremont is the Fine Fescue "eye brows."  Fine Fescue is a grass found growing native in California and other parts of the world and is truly a poverty grass, meaning it does best with little to no water and fertilizer and infrequent mowing.  Coming out of winter, the fescue is long, lush and hard on the golfer.

 So, today we tamed the fescue around all the bunkers on the golf course.  Ten team members armed with weed eaters, rakes and blowers.  The guys bounce their weed eaters against the fescue to beat it up and give it that natural, rustic look that I think is so cool.  The end result is what I like to call Weed eater Art.  Plus, now you may find your ball!

Last fall, our consulting agronomist and friend Dave Wilber made a visit just as we had finished the new bunkers on 1 & 18.  Below is a link to his blog that is posted on where he discusses that visit.  Dave is brilliant, a great writer and has some very nice things to say about Claremont.  Enjoy, and we'll see you on the course.

April 6, 2011

Greens Aeration Step 4

Step 4 is the dragging and brushing of the sand.  Once the sand has dried on the surface of the greens, we pull a mechanical drag brush behind a small turf vehicle.  Typically, we'll make two passes over each green with this unit attempting to work the sand into the hole.  This can be quite stressful to the turf so after a few passes, we stop with the drag brush and go to our hand brooms to do the finish work.  Getting the sand right is the most time consuming process of the aerification and is critical to the over-all success of the project.  Over the next few days, we will go back on some of the greens to add sand to some greens to completely fill the holes.

April 5, 2011

Greens Aeration Step 3

Step 3 is a deep, solid tine aeration using our tractor mounted vertidrain.  With this piece of equipment, we are able to punch a 3/8" hole to a depth of 9 inches.  Really, we are aerating the greens twice this spring, all in one process. 

As you all know, the greens here at Claremont are native soil (clay) greens that have been modified with sand topdressing over many years.  The sand layer is anywhere from 2" from the surface up to 6" from the surface and varies on every green.  With the deep aeration along with the traditional core aeration we will, over time even out the current inconsistency in the root zone resulting in better playing conditions year around.  Please enjoy the following aeration footage!

April 4, 2011

Greens Aeration Step 2

Here is step 2 of the greens aeration - a heavy sand topdressing.  Sand is applied to each green following core aeration.  Once the sand is dry, we will drag the sand around with a mechanical brush working sand into the holes. 


Greens Aeration Step 1

Here is the first step in the aerification process, the coring & clean up.  This step will take 12 staff members approximately 6 hours to complete. Enjoy and check back later for step 2!

April 3, 2011

Spring Aeration

Spring is here and finally, it's time to aerify these greens!  I sure that's exactly what you've all been thinking for the last month or so, right?  Maybe not.  Well, the clouds have parted and we've been given the green light from mother nature to get on with our springtime aeration.  The schedule is as follows:

Monday 4/4 - Back 9 greens & putting green

Tuesday 4/5 - Front 9 greens & chipping greens (front nine closed this day)

Wednesday 4/6 to Monday 4/11 - Tee, collar & approach aeration & sanding

Monday 4/11 to Friday 4/15 - Fairway Solid tine aeration (no disruption to play)

Monday 4/18 to Friday 4/22 - Rough core aeration

We will do everything possible to get the greens back into exellent condition and with our current forcast being ideal, this should be no problem.  We will be posting to the blog throughout the next few days detailing the aerification process for our greens.  There will be multiple posts and no email notice will be sent out so those of you interested, please check back here for the latest updates.  This is the most important time of the year for us and a succsesful aeration will set us up for great conditions throughout the year.

Thank You all from the Turf Department.

March 28, 2011

Etiquette 101

Good Day Golfers, Hack McDuff here to point out some correctable behavior on the golf course. A few weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, I came upon the forth green to notice a significant amount of sand on the putting green surface. I know for a fact the green's crew had earlier in the morning performed their cleaning, mowing and rolling operations so they could not be blamed for neglecting their duties. Clearly what took place was a player not taking the time to knock off the sand from their shoes while they were still in the long grass of the rough. Upon walking out of a bunker a light tap to the sole of your shoe with your club, while you are in the rough, will solve the problem. During the morning hours there is a significant amount of dew throughout the golf course and while walking your shoes become wet outside; as you walk into a freshly raked bunker the sand will attach to your wet shoes and will be deposited on the putting green as you walk. This amount of sand can be a real bother to a ball rolling on the green unless it is cleaned off. Please pay attention to the LPGA and the PGA players the next time you are watching an event on television, they expect perfection at all times and they are very careful not to leave debris in their own way. I am posting this photo because truly a picture is worth a thousand words. See you next time. Fore!

March 20, 2011

A Wet Spring Ahead!

As I write this post, all that comes to mind is rain!  Rain total for this past week is now at 3.5" and the forecast is for more of the same.  We in the turf department, like many of you in the golfing membership are itching to get on with our spring time practices but mother nature obviously has other plans in store. 

Looking at the bright side, we have nearly completed all of our winter time maintenance detail including:

  • painting and re-finishing of all benches
  • oiling and water-proofing of bunker rakes
  • re-finishing wooden flagsticks
  • raising and leveling of fairway sprinkler heads and installation of yardage markers on sprinklers
  • six drainage projects (7, 14, 15 fairway, 18 approach, 8 & 10 green/collar)
  • the leveling and re-sodding of #17 tee.
This winter has been quite productive despite the above average rainfall (23.52" to date) and needless to say, we are ready for the golfing season!!!

I've added a link below to a thread on the discussion board of Golf Club  This website is all about the world of golf course architecture and is frequented by many of the big names in that field.  Last October, the golf pro from Cork in Ireland played the course during the RIX tournament and posted his thoughts along with pictures of the golf course.  Keep in mind, this is a discussion board with many people sharing their opinions, including our consulting architect Jim Urbina.  Many good comments to the golf course and the restoration work done here and all involved should be proud of the work accomplished.

Please enjoy the pictures and commentary on Claremont with the thought of summertime firm & fast golfing conditions planted in the back of your head!,46286.0.html

March 16, 2011

Greens Aeration Update

As per our spring aeration schedule, we went ahead with greens aeration on holes 1 through 9 on Monday.  Despite the forecast for dry weather, we received over .5" of rain throughout the day and were unable to topdress with sand following core aeration.  As we sit now, the forecast is calling for showers and/or rain for nine of the next ten days making it impossible to properly apply sand to the greens and obtain the desired results.  We have made the decision to postpone the aeration until the forecast changes to more of a dry weather pattern.

As you all know, spring weather in the Bay Area can be unpredictable at best.  What is important to the over-all health of the turf is that we pick the right time to perform this important cultural practice.  We in the turf department thank you for your understanding with this process.

March 8, 2011

March Team Member Profile

Juan Berrios

Maintenance Team Member Since 1993
Position: Greenkeeper
Duties: Section Detail
Family: Married, 3 children
Interests: Family, Golf, Raising Border Collies

Juan is a veteran team member who is responsible for section work on holes 14,15,16, and 17.  Section work consists of green & tee set up, all bunker maintenance, handwatering and general detail work within the section.  Juan is one of 5 section members we have here in the turf department and he continues to do great work.  Thanks to Juan!