20 May 2015


Each year we're given the chance to wipe the slate clean and begin again.  I spent all of March and April documenting the process of waking up the golf course and getting it ready for another season.  Think you have an idea of what it takes?  Think again!

Hours of video, over 400 shots, were compiled over a six-week period to pull this one off.  The final product stands at 5:57 seconds with 216 shots in it.  I wanted to capture the frenetic pace of spring projects and preparations working with a short staff.  The video took about 40 hours of my spare time to edit.

None of this would have been possible without the help of a dedicated staff.  I would like to take a moment to thank the team for all their hard work this season.  This video is for them: John, Bill, Bob, Mario, Ken, Eric, Toma, Marcus, Steven, and Ralph... and those not featured in this video who just rejoined our team in the last couple weeks: Nick, Taiwo, and Ebrima.

Stay close to the blog in the next month as we finalize preparations for the 104th Michigan Amateur hosted by Plum Hollow.  The week before and during the event we will begin running short daily videos detailing our tournament setup.

11 May 2015

Mother's Day Wisdom and Aerification

In honor of Mother's Day yesterday, I will impart some wisdom passed down from mothers to their sons and daughters for generations: "Never bite off more than you can chew."

What does this have to do with golf course maintenance, you may be wondering?  In this case, it has everything to do with our greens aerification scheduled for today.  With storms predicted to move in after 3PM, we knew that we couldn't get all the greens aerated and the holes filled in with sand in the time we had to work with.  So with that being said, the decision was made to only tackle the front nine greens, which we were able to finish just as the rain began.

Dry conditions are necessary for working the sand into the aerification holes.  When the sand is wet, it clumps up and doesn't go where we want it to go, creating a mess and wasted hours.  Deep tine aerification is necessary this time of year to create sand channels that will help our greens remain firm and well-draining throughout the season.  With good weather, the holes will heal in 7-10 days.

The back nine will be closed until the start of League on Tuesday, May 12th to allow us to finish deep tining the greens and filling the holes with sand.  Apologies in advance for any inconvenience this may cause, but we are working hard to build you better greens.

Sand is added prior to the deep tine machine punching the greens.  The tines push the sand into the holes, saving us some hard work trying to force it in there.

Dry conditions are necessary for sweeping the sand into the aerification holes.  The excess sand is blown off, and we also need dry conditions to perform this step.

The front nine was started at 6:00AM and completed at 4:00PM just as rain moved into the area.

06 May 2015

The PLAYERS Memories

This week, as the unofficial "fifth major" kicks off in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida at TPC Sawgrass, I am reminded of the 10 days I spent down there as a tournament volunteer in 2013.  To say it was a grind is an understatement: up at 3:30AM every morning, working morning and evening shifts, and falling asleep exhausted at 11PM, to know that the alarm is going to go off again in a few hours.  But the friends I met and the experience I brought back with me were worth every bit of sweat equity.  

Still to this day, I regularly communicate with the superintendents I worked with there and I have implemented some of the maintenance programs I witnessed at Sawgrass here at Plum Hollow to boost our efficiency within the Greens Department and make the golf course better for our members.  

This week, as the world watches a golf tournament, I am watching the hard working men and women getting that golf course into shape for the best players in the world.  Follow along with them this week at www.turfrepublic.com

16 April 2015

Irrigation Down

Upon firing up our pump station for the season, we discovered a problem that is preventing us from operating it. The greens are extremely dry and the annual bluegrass is beginning to check out. We are doing everything in our power to restore our irrigation system but the earliest that will be is next week. Meanwhile we are watering with our sprayers and garden hoses on greens near the club. And praying for rain. 

11 April 2015

Coming Alive

The course is really beginning to wake up following the rain the other day, and now we finally have some sun and warmer temperatures.  Greens are growing to the point where we need to cut them every day.  Everything else isn't too far away.

We certainly have a full load of spring projects ahead of us, but it's a great feeling to be out mowing grass again and getting back into a groove with regular maintenance.  This weekend we have a small team out each day preparing the greens and bunkers.  Hope you are able to get out and enjoy the golf course this Masters weekend.