December 18, 2014

Winter Storms Continue

Winter has started off with a bang this year, literally.
On Tuesday morning one of the old Cypress trees behind the 1st green came down.

The ground has become so saturated with all of the recent rains that the old tree gave way. When it did, it fell on the back of the green causing significant damage.

There will be a temp green in play on the first hole until further notice as the tree crew finishes their work and we begin to repair the green.

Two of the large limbs punctured the green over 5 feet deep!

Rain totals for the season are just over 15" with over 11" falling in December alone. We are out mowing greens and tees today for the first time in a week. Bunkers are being repaired for the third time this week. It will may be quite sometime until we can get out and mow fairways or roughs without causing any damage to the turf.

November 18, 2014

What a Difference a Week Makes

I'm happy to report that all of our cultural practices are now complete for the year. The last of these practices were wrapped up a few weeks ago with the aeration and sanding of the fairways. 

This is an important part of our agronomic plan for the golf course and we are quite pleased with the results. Applications of 10 tons per acre were made on Monday and again on Wednesday bringing the total applied sand for the year to 1200 tons. To work the sand into the turf, we drag the fairways with a plastic mat. This is disruptive especially to the warm season turf and due to the damp conditions we had to drag fairways again and again. All the sand and dragging made for some rough looking fairways and for a short time, less than ideal playing conditions. Just a week later, conditions have improved greatly thanks to the work of the staff and a light rain courtesy of Mother Nature.

This soil plug was pulled in 2012 and shows why we have modified our approach to the maintenance of the fairways. The layering seen in the top 4 inches shows each year of sanding (light color material) and the thatch that accumulated in between each of the sand applications. This kind of layering in the soil can result in localized dry spots, poor rooting and increased insect activity all leading to unhealthy turf grass. Due to this layering, we implemented a plan to core aerate fairways three time per year and apply sand at the same time. The results have been successful...

No layering found in the picture taken today.  Moving forward into 2015, we will use various soil testing methods to determine how we adjust our plan moving forward so as to maintain the sand base that's been built up throughout the years.

The fairway sanding program here at Claremont has resulted in an outstanding soil to grow turf on. It's also allowed the course to stay open throughout the winter rains with very few days when the course is closed to carts. Now, Let It RAIN!

September 30, 2014

Fall Greens Aeration

We are halfway through the aeration process on greens. The back nine will be closed for the day and we appreciate your cooperation with this important practice.

Please check out the video from the USGA detailing the how's and why's of aeration.

Josh Clevenger; Golf Course Superintendent

September 25, 2014

First Rain in 5 months!

He's baaackack...........

Yes, it's been some time since this blog was updated and I couldn't think of a better reason to do so... First rain of the Season! As I speak the creek is running, the rain gauge shows .5" with  more forecast to fall throughout the day. It's been a long year for all of us in the Turf Department and a good September rain gives us some hope that this season will be a wet one. Without a doubt, the best day of the year.

This rain will no doubt help some of the stressed areas on the course perk up as we enter our busy fall golf and tournament season. It will also get these greens growing nicely leading up to next weeks aeration helping to speed recovery.

Dave Procter - Lead Assistant Superintendent

I'd like to introduce Dave Procter as the newest addition to the management team in the Turf Department. Most of you know Dave by now. He's made his way to Claremont from across the pond in England with stops at Olympic Club and Ruby Hill along the way. Thanks to Dave, Assistant Superintendent Ismael Valadez,  Equipment Manager Mike Newbould and all the staff on the course for their efforts this year.

As we move forward the Turf Blog will evolve into just that, a true blog where we will update more frequently on a wide range of topics involving all things on the course and more. We will periodically send out an email to the members notifying of an update to the blog. With the addition of "On The Course" to the monthly newsletter, we are communicating to the entire membership with big picture stuff. Look for this page to include a wider array of topics... Stay tuned and check back often.

Thanks and we'll see you On The Course.

Josh Clevenger; Golf Course Superintendent

April 5, 2014


It's been quite some time since I've updated the blog as Spring has sprung and we've had our hands full on the course. If there is one thing that stays the same, it's change. This saying goes especially well for those of us who've chosen the career of managing golf courses. Here goes for the update on what's been going on and the many changes that have kept us on our toes over the last month or so...

In March we welcomed new Assistant Superintendent Ismael Valadez to the Turf Department. Ismael comes to Claremont by way of Monterey where he spent 13 years working at Tehama Golf Club. His knowledge and work ethic have already made an impact with the crew and on the course. Welcome aboard Ismael!

First Assistant Superintendent Corey Beelke has moved on to a new position in Bend, Oregon. For sure a tough time of year to loose such dedicated employee and a great friend. Corey was with us for over two years and will be missed. Currently, we are searching for his replacement and we wish him the best in his new role at Broken Top Golf Club.


One of the changes I've been looking to make for some time now was in the accessories marking on the golf course. The old look, with the white, metal cart directional signs, green plastic rope stakes and standard yellow rope was kind of tired to say the least. Well, this is what we came up with.

These wooden directional markers can be found at the end of each fairway approaching the green and mark the cart boundary. Once you reach these markers, please follow left or right to the nearest cart path. These markers will be moved daily and help to redistribute wear and tear on the course.

Buzz is checking out the new look rope and stakes. Or, maybe just a squirrel in the distance. Either way, the new accessories are much more appealing to the eye and fit with the natural look we are going for. The staff in the Turf Department has been hard at work rummaging through our dump pile looking for just the right branches to cut and shape for use on the course.


As seen in the newsletter and in many a blog post, we like to aerate the golf course! Well, it might be better said that we like to do whats right for overall health of the turf so that it can withstand the punishment that we in the Turf Department put it through in preparation for daily grind of the golfing season. The actual process of aerating the course is a lot of hard work, long hours and puts stress on the turf and staff alike.

We have made some significant changes to the fairways by being aggressive with the aeration over the last few years. The picture here is from 2012 and you can see the layers of thatch in between the sandy soil in each of the cores pulled.

This picture shows a dramatic reduction of layering in the plugs from the fairways that were aerated a few weeks ago. Really cool to see these kind of changes in the soil and to know what we are doing is paying off. Less layering means better rooting, less localized dry spot and over all improved fairway playing conditions.


We have finally received some much needed rainfall and the timing was just about ideal. In the six week period form late February to early April, over 6 inches of rain has fallen on the course with the majority coming on the tail end of the spring aeration. The staff has had their hands full during this stretch of time and my hat is off to them for a job well done! The Quarry pond is now at full capacity and we will have more than enough water to irrigate the course for the season.

The Turf Department is looking forward to a great season. Thanks and we'll see you on the course!

February 16, 2014

Ballmark Repair

Now that the course has received some significant rainfall, we are seeing more ballmarks on greens than we typically do during the dry season. The greens are softer now and due to this each ballmark is more severe. My Dad always made sure I repaired my ballmark ( if I was lucky enough to hit the green ) and one other. Doing so assures a speedy recovery for the turf and a smoother ball roll for your fellow golfing member. Plus, we could all use a little good karma from the golfing gods!

Please take a minute to watch this video from the USGA on repairing ballmarks...

Thanks and we'll see you on the course!

February 9, 2014

Thank You... It's About Time!

What a difference a week makes. The storm door has officially opened and the last ten days has brought the East Bay hills just over 4 inches of much needed rain. The picture above was taken this morning and as I write, the rain continues to fall.

The creek is running hard and our irrigation pond has come up significantly in the last 48 hours.

This series of storms is the first since November 2012 to produce any significant rainfall and has everyone in the Turf Department breathing a deep sigh of relief. As with all heavy rains, there will be much clean up and detail work in the coming days and weeks and that's just fine. We'll take it

Just a few more pictures of the golf course this morning... I must say that the smile on my face coming into work this morning was ear to ear!

Even Buzz joined in the fun by chasing some geese and playing in the creek! Really a great day to be on the course...

Nice of winter to show up albeit a few months late. The recent storms will help fill up ponds and reservoirs around California but is really just a drop in the bucket. Thank You Mother Nature... It's About Time and Keep It Coming!