by Brian Duthu
Rounds for the first quarter of 2018 were a mix of positive and negative performance compared to prior year. Overall all play was up by 2,707 rounds compared to 2017 and posted the 4th highest total over the last nine years. March play was down by 1,456 rounds compared to 2017, but ahead of the previous five year average. Lakes West posted the highest number of rounds played with 18,155, followed closely by Riverview with 18,030 rounds played, South and North played an almost equal number of rounds. The partial closure of Willowcreek affected total play. Lakes East was the busiest executive course with 12,921 rounds played, followed by Willowbrook and then Quail Run.
Demolition of the South Clubhouse is now scheduled to occur the middle of June, a delay of one month from the original plan. The delay is related to obtaining a permit for the temporary clubhouse. Once construction has commenced, the build time for the new building is estimated to be 7-10 months. Snacks and beverages will be available through a temporary trailer once the project begins.
With the closing of Willowcreek/Willowbrook, clothing and shoes that were located in the clubhouse have been moved to Lakes West/Lakes East and have been marked at 50% off for clearance.
With 100 degree days right around the corner, the pace of transition from winter rye to summer bermuda can be expected. 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. Lakes West has transitioned quicker than the other courses and in several areas is extreme. The last several years, the Lakes West superintendent has promoted quick transition by underfeeding the rye grass late in the Winter season. This year, the rye grass transitioned at a rate faster than the bermuda could recover, leaving many areas bare. As bad as it currently looks it will soon recover as soil temperatures increase.
Construction on Willowcreek remains on schedule with mainline installation complete on holes 10–18, and installation of lateral lines on holes 15-18. The old pump station on hole 14 has been removed and dirt removal from the lake should be completed by April 27. Property line survey has been completed on Willowbrook to mark areas for curb installation. Green coring is complete on holes 10-18, and the 1, 2 and 9 holes. Drainage installation began the week of April 16th on hole 18 and will progress backwards. Areas that will be marked for turf removal will be heavily irrigated prior to spraying of herbicide. The herbicide is most effective on healthy plants that are actively taking up nutrients.
Snack shop revenue missed budget by $6,800 due to reduced golf rounds. Beginning April 1 snack shops were scheduled to close at 3:00pm, however they will continue to close at 5:00pm until business no longer supports it.
Work has begun on the frazing/regrassing of the Bell Center greens. To date, RCSC staff have leveled the plinth boards and back filled along the plinth boards two inches below the top of the boards, watering and compacting every 6 inches. Turf Equipment Source fraze mowed the greens to a depth two inches below the back boards April 19-20. Following the fraze mowing, RCSC staff began adding new material to the greens to the final grade. Following a period of watering and rolling, Turf Equipment Source will return to ensure the levelness of the final grade. Evergreen Turf will spread Tiff Dwarf sprigs the second or third week of May, once temperatures are optimal.
Strong winds in April have kept the grounds crew busy with clean-up throughout the centers, Duffeeland Dog Park, the softball field and the Sun Bowl. Pre-emergent herbicide has been applied in all centers to help control spring weeds. The grounds crew has also been coordinating with the B&I team on the installation of a new dog water station at Duffeeland Dog Park.