Director of Golf & Grounds Report – May 2017

by Brian Duthu

Pro Shops

We have begun our first wave of summer agronomic programs with fairway verticutting. Each of these programs will require temporary course closures. For the purposes of making tee times, the pro shops will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on the days courses are closed. After 9:00 a.m., one of the other courses can book tee times for a course that is closed for maintenance. The full schedule of summer course closures can be found on the RCSC website, under Golf and then under Course Maintenance. This information can also be found in the SunViews newsletter and closures are listed in the Golf section of Your Sun City AZ Week emails.

We have an additional option this summer for golfers wishing to brave the summer heat, which is our Super Twilight rate. Beginning June 1 the fee after 3:00 p.m. is $10.00 for residents and $12.00 for guests. For those looking for a later start, we still offer our After 5:00 p.m. Pass for $44.00 for residents or $12.00 for residents that are also Surcharge Pass Holders.

Golf Courses

On Tuesday April 4, we conducted our annual USGA visit with Brian Whitlark. Mr. Whitlark is a professional soil scientist and holds both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the University of Arizona at Tucson Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. This visit was the first of two, half-day visits, which was newly offered by the USGA this year. Splitting the visit will allow Mr. Whitlark to view the courses pre- and post transition and to offer an opinion on the effectiveness of our practices. The report is now available for viewing on the RCSC Golf Page, and can be found under the Resources tab. During the meeting we covered overseeding, putting greens, green surrounds, fairways, tees, bunkers, roughs and upcoming capital improvement projects. We toured North, Willowcreek/Willowbrook and Riverview over a period of four hours, followed by a summary with the Board of Directors over lunch. The second visit has not yet been scheduled, but is expected to occur in August.

As previously discussed, part of improving areas of play at Riverview that have been slow to respond is the installation of sod. We are currently planning the installation of sod for the week of June 12 following fairway aerification. By June 12 we expect temperatures to be stable and the majority of rye grass to have died. This will only be one step in improving play around the green complexes; we will still continue with aerovating, core aerifying of hard pan areas and heavy fertilization. In addition to Riverview, North will also be sodding areas that are still weak, primarily around tee boxes and heavy cart traffic areas.

As a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf, Quail Run is required to undergo recertification every three years. Quail Run underwent the recertification visit on May 5, which was conducted by Kai Umeda, who serves as an Area Extension Agent in Turfgrass Science for the University of Arizona. Though we have not received final recertification status from the Audubon Society, Mr. Umeda’s report indicated that Quail Run is still fulfilling the requirements necessary to maintain membership.

Snack Shops

We have had an increase in the number of cardholders bringing outside food and beverage onto the patio areas. We respectfully remind everyone that this is not allowed. Bringing outside alcohol onto licensed premises is against the law and puts RCSC at risk of losing its liquor license. Bringing in outside food is also not permitted, causing potential liability for RCSC and a concern with Maricopa County Health Department guidelines. We are open to requests for additional food and beverage offerings from the snack shops for you to enjoy on the patios. Please submit your suggestions through comment cards (available at all RCSC facilities), by phone 623-876-3053, or via email at Additionally, RCSC employees are required to enforce these policies and we ask for your cooperation by treating them with dignity and respect.

Please join me in congratulating J.P. Loscher on her appointment as Snack Shop Manager for the North Golf Course. J.P. is filling the vacancy created by the departure of Patty Kitchen, whom we thank for her many years of service.

Lawn Bowling/Grounds

Work on the two lawn bowl greens at Lakeview is continuing, following the leveling of the plinth boards. Both greens were aerified using deep tines and top dressed on May 18. The greens will continue to be fertilized with the goal of vigorous root growth. Root growth is important as we move into the frazing of greens, which essentially removes plant material above the surface.

The north green at Bell has been aerated and top dressed and the south green is scheduled for aerating and top dressing May 23. Mountain View has been aerated and top dressed, Oakmont has been verticut and scheduled for aeration and top dressing on May 30.

Higher temperatures have helped to slow down weed growth and are now in better control. We are currently fertilizing both Sun Bowl and Lakeview turf areas to push bermuda growth and to aid in transition. The recent high winds have kept the crew busy cleaning up debris and downed limbs.

We would like to recognize Robert Hedges for his 15 years of service to the Recreation Centers of Sun City. Robert serves on the Grounds Crew as an Irrigation Technician. We hope to have the expertise of Robert for many more years to come!