This is the week the members get to show off their club and this is the week the Staff gets to put on a show. From food service to the Golf Shop and the golf course, once a year we get to "tip it out". Enjoy your week!
The moderate/easy hole locations on the South are used for the club events: Piper, Hagen, Ladies and Men's Club Championship etc. That means one week prior and one week post event all the other locations must be used. With so few locations available, it leaves the more difficult ones for every day member play.
No, we do not like to "torture" players, nor are we sadistic. To provide quality playing surfaces with so few available hole locations for regular play means using every square foot of the green surface.
We've had a great year so far. While the weather is a key component to turf conditions, the staff plays a bigger role in quality playing surfaces. Our staff this year is the best I've seen in a long time. Dedicated, hard working and committed to excellence. I've also noticed a quiet confidence in our Assistant Superintendents.
Our top performers encourage shared thinking. They are emotionally secure and therefore encourage ideas from other staff members and in return are active listeners. Willing to share their thoughts and ideas makes them willing to change and improve.
We have a great "crop" of Turfgrass Interns this summer. They fill an important role, treated almost as Assistant Superintendents. At a minimum, our expectations for them are the same as our Assistants. The weather this summer has resulted in very low disease pressure, but we still routinely apply products to all playing surfaces. The Interns are instrumental in correctly making those applications.
2014 is a 'recovery' year. Projects planned for this year are a lower priority due to the resources necessary to help turf recover from the harsh winter. The North Course is also in 'grow-in' mode. It is still recovering from major surgery last year.
We are catching up though. As more staff roll in, we are able to focus on some of the regular detail maintenance like bunkers, trimming and edging. Greens are doing fine and our target is on track for 100% recovery by mid-June.
Each spring in early May, we set aside one Monday morning for staff training. Stations are set up to cover specific topics like bunker raking or fairway mowing, and the crew rotates every 20 minutes between stations. In addition to our routine daily training, this day helps us explore larger issues like culture, behavior and self-improvement.
A lot of information has been communicated about winter damage, snow removal and lost turf at Oakland Hills. How much turf was lost? How many dead greens? Was the North damaged? How much does it cost to remove snow?
Much of the information regarding Oakland Hills in the public domain is incorrect. Here are the facts about this past winter, snow removal and our current status.
We remove snow from the South greens every winter when we see a potential rise in temperature above 30 degrees. Some of the South greens are covered, some are not. We removed snow this winter after the early January snowstorm and before the meltdown of January 8-10. This action saved the South greens from more severe damage.
Every green on the South sustained some damage, most of it minor. Greens 6, 8 and 12 suffered "serious" (10-15%) damage and only number eight is questionable. We are not playing to any temporary greens as of today, April 29th. Number eight may require a temporary green depending on the level of play. All of the South greens will recover in the next 2-4 weeks.
The labor cost to remove snow on the South this winter was approx. $5,000.
The extra equipment required to remove snow from the South greens adds approx. $20,000 to our equipment inventory.
Each cover we use is approx. $3,000, depending on size.
It takes 4 - 7 people to remove snow on the South Course.
All of the South fairways incurred some ice damage and most of this will heal on its own.
We do not currently remove snow on the North greens. All of the North greens sustained damage. Some of it severe with the most severe #15 green, approx. 30% turf loss.
We will be playing to all of the North greens when we open on May 9th. There are currently no temporary greens on the North Course. The PG did not suffer any winter damage.
Oakland Hills Director of Agronomy since 1997.
Wakonda Club, Des Moines IA Golf Course Superintendent 1992-1997.
Golf de Joyenval, Paris France
Grow-in Superintendent 1990-1992.
Medinah CC, Course Superintendent 1986-1990.