by Brian Duthu
During the first quarter of 2017, we recorded 116,426 rounds played, 3,398 fewer than 2016 totals. On a positive note, rounds in March posted the highest total rounds since 2008, a good sign that weather played a strong part in rounds reduction during January and February. We have often reported on the percentage of public play on our courses, using all eight courses as the basis.
We were asked this month, what the percentage of public play would be for the regulation courses only. For the first quarter public play accounted for 9.2% of rounds for the regulation courses and for 8.0% of rounds for all courses. Demand for the regulation courses is relatively even with 1,022 rounds separating the course with the most play from the course with the least play. Lakes West recorded the highest number of rounds, followed by Riverview, Willowcreek, North and then South. Lakes East recorded the most rounds among the Executive courses.
Our first night golf event of the season was held on April 23 at Lakes East Golf Course and sold out. Play was divided into four flights, including a Callaway flight for those players without an established handicap. We opted to play a two person scramble, instead of the announced best ball format. Winners were: Carmen Fish & Bob McGuire (A Flight-Net 23), Ron Williams & Carolyn Williams (B Flight Tiebreaker – Net 25), Terry Hanson & Kim Hanson (C Flight Tiebreaker – Net 22) and John Walker & Pam Walker (Callaway Flight Tiebreaker – Net 31). We are scheduling April 22nd for the event next year; a half moon should be visible during the event. We are also looking to change the food options for next year.
With 100 degree days right around the corner, the pace of transition from winter rye to summer bermuda can be expected to increase. To promote bermuda growth, fairway heights are lowered to open the grass canopy which permits the bermuda grass to receive more sunlight. During this time of transition it will not be uncommon to see brown patches on the course as the rye dies and the bermuda begins to grow. Slow release fertilizer has been applied to all courses to provide the bermuda nutrients for summer growth. Some courses have aerified using solid tines, mostly to address spots that are transitioning quicker than others, in the case of Riverview all greens have been solid tined.
It was discussed throughout the renovation process of both North and Riverview that the completion of construction is only one step of the process. Though we understand that not everyone will agree on the design concepts, I am confident that everyone can acknowledge how far the North course has come in the 2-1/2 years following construction. The thatch layer on the greens has reached a healthy level and areas around the greens have softened. North however is not finished maturing and will continue to improve. Riverview is a year behind North, but has improved dramatically over the past year. Riverview will receive the attention it needs this summer to relieve compaction around the greens and improve play around the green complexes. The planned processes for this summer include aerovating (to loosen soil), additional solid tining of greens, core aerifying of hard pan areas and sodding where necessary. Some of these processes may require temporary course closure to ensure success. Closures will be announced as needed. Weak areas will also be pushed with heavy fertilization.
The increase in March golf rounds resulted in a positive variance to budget of $3,800 for the month. As a reminder, Snack Shops soon will be closing at 3:00p.m. on a regular basis; snacks and beverages will be available in the Pro Shops after 3:00p.m.
Lawn Bowling and Grounds
During our last committee meeting, the plans for correcting the draw issues on the Lakeview greens were discussed. The first steps of the plan have been undertaken, the application of nitrogen to stimulate growth and the adjusting of plinths boards. Next we will be increasing watering in preparation of scarifying the greens with the goal of lowering the greens ¼” to ½” below the plinth boards. Following scarification, top dressing will be applied and the greens aerified with top dressing in place. The greens will then be laser leveled to ensure a flat surface.
Grounds is currently working with our irrigation designer on the next phase of irrigation improvements for Lakeview. The area for improvement extends from the Mini Golf areas to the west and along Del Webb Boulevard. Weeds still remain a prominent focus and issue at all centers. As with the golf courses, overseeded areas are beginning to transition. These areas are receiving slow release fertilizer next week to promote bermuda growth.