Friday, July 29, 2011


Next Monday and Tuesday we are hosting the Metropolitan Professional Club Pro Championships.   Well over 150 area club professionals from all over the metropolitan area will try there luck and skill on our golf course.  They are playing to determine there champion for the year and it is also a qualifying round for next years PGA championship.   

Because of the large field, speed of play is a major issue.  We really don't do that much preparation out of the normal.  We will lower our greens mowers by .015 inches (yes we really do measure height of cut on greens by 100th. of inches) That might give us 6 more inches of ball roll.  Greens will be cut and rolled on Monday and Tuesday.  Other than that we alternated our banks mowing.  Usually we mow tee and fairway bunker banks on Monday's and Tuesdays.  Green banks are mowed Thursday and Friday to provide better conditions around the greens for the weekends.  This week we mowed green banks on Monday and Tuesday, so they will be a little higher for the tournament.  If you get a chance swing by,  they have some really good players and the finals are always exciting to watch. 

 Pictured below is Jeff Voorheis, Tournament Director and Frank Darby, Scorekeeper/ Field Staff from the Met. PGA.   They are here today marking pin and tee locations for the tournament. 


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Part Of History

Yesterday, the Sparkill Historical Society held its first public meeting.  Larry Vail, chairman asked if I had any old pictures of the club. The club has been a big component of Sparkill for a long time.  I borrowed two pictures, one from the ladies locker room and one from the men's.  They were very appreciative  that we were involved and displayed our picture as you walked through the door.  I am proud of the club, and the fact that we (through your foundation) contribute so much to the community.  I just wanted to show you that it is appreciated.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Trying to stay cool.

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow the staff is starting early to try and beat the heat.  Yesterday worked well, but today it is already 85 and its only :00 am.  It looks like we are in for a couple of long days. The  old age of the irrigation system is showing.  Dry areas in fairways, bunker and green banks are showing signs from lack of water.  There really is nothing we can do in fairways because of the piping.  We can hand water greens, tees, and that helps keep things more consistent.  We will also be turning on heads during the heat of the day to try and cool the grass. 

On another note make sure if your grass is going brown that it is water related.  We have been hit with a fungus called dollar spot in some of our rough areas.  Because of time and budget constraints we are not able to treat the entire course with a fungicide.  So we monitor it carefully and depending on where it is.  (for example tee banks are usually not in play) and how severe it gets we do not treat.  It very seldom totally kills turf, but it can make it look pretty bad, and if not properly identified could be mistaken as drought damage.  It is also a very common fungus. So I would not be surprised if you found it on your front yard.

Hang in there,  it is suppose to get down to 85 by Monday

its going to be one of those hot summer days.!!!!!! stay cool 

Dollar spot by two tee

If you notice cottony growth, that tells you it is caused by a fungus.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

THE HEAT IS ON ! ! ! !

Looks like summer has arrived.   Temps. in the high 80's  and 90's with no rain in sight.  We quickly go from mowers to hoses. Because our system is over twenty years old, the individual heads rotate at different speeds and the coverage is not uniform. We were having problems with 13 fairway last year. As a test I placed cups every 30 feet on the right, left and center of the fairway. I turned on the sprinklers for 15 minutes.  Then I measured the amount of water in each cup. The results showed that the Right side of the fairway was receiving twice as much as the left side. Because of the way the system is piped we do not have the ability to turn on just one head at a time. This makes watering a challenge. Trying to keep the dry spots moist while not over watering the wet areas. I ran the same test on a few other fairways and found that some areas just don’t get any water. The sprinklers either over shot or under shoot these areas. So they virtually don’t receive any water from the system.

We also have done a lot of fairway contouring over the years. The contours add character and shot making to the course. In the picture below the irrigation head on the left hand side used to be in the fairway and the one on the right was on the edge of the right side of the fairway. This causes problems with coverage. The far right side of the fairway only receives water from the irrigation head on that side. However the area in between the two heads receives twice as much and there is a big difference in the amount of water the rough needs compared to the fairway.

Greens and Tees have there own issues, but we can keep them in check by hand watering.  We send out 5 men every day to hand water.   This allows us to put the amount of water we need, exactly where it is needed.   There are other issues such as pumps, run times, coverage, and leaks that need to be addressed but for now, we are doing the best we can

Engel hand watering collar of 8 green. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Every year we subscribe for a half day visit from a USGA Tour Agronomist. Together, we tour the course and discuss problems and situations relating to all aspects of the golf course. They have a vast amount of experience with all courses in the northeast. A special guest this year was Jim Snow he is the National Director of the USGA green section. He and Northeast Agronomist Adam Moeller shared there expertise with myself and Mr. Tom Torpey Green Chairman. Both Jim and Adam were impressed with the conditions. Winter injury was a big issue and they felt we did a good job getting the greens in as good a shape as they are in. One idea discussed was changing our divot mix. by adding some soil and organic matter, it may stay in place and stay moist for a longer period of time which might help in divot recovery. Unfortunately we have a large supply of divot mix on hand so it may take some time to implement the change. 

From left to right Mr. Tom Torpey, Green Chairman, Mr. Adam Moeller Northeast Agronomist and Mr. Jim Snow National Director of the USGA Green Section. 

Through years of top-dressing we have a nice layer of sand. Sand is preferred because of it's drainage properties and resistance to compaction. You can see however that below the sand layer is a compacted zone. This is the area we are going to attempt to remove by the Drill and Fill procedure.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday America

Yesterday's rains put a damper on things.  We had to cancel the Mixed event and the Lobsterfest was indoors.  Hopefully today will make up for it.  The forecast is a mix of Sun and clouds with temperatures close to 90 with just a threat of an afternoon shower. 
A Change In Plans Regarding our Golf Course Aeration:

There is a change in our aerification schedule this year. Due to Aerification of our fairways the course will be closed on Tuesday August 23rd and the Back side will be closed on Wednesday, August 24th. We will not be aerating greens at this time.

We will be aerating our greens October 24th and 25th. We are using a different procedure called “Drill and Fill”. Along with a conventional aerification a special machine will actually drill holes twelve inches deep and deposit a sand mixture in each hole. As you can imagine this process is both labor intensive and disruptive.

Many area clubs have been doing this procedure for a number of years. Actually we did it here at Rockland many years ago. One of the problems that we have is what the farmers call a “plow pan”. This is a hard compact soil layer that is created from many years of plowing the fields at the same depth. We have a similar problem, after many years of aerating greens at the same depth, a harder compacted layer has developed. By using this machine you break up that layer and at the same time incorporate a better sand mixture

The following pictures will help describe the process. Again, this procedure will be done the end of October. I will keep you posted as we get closer to the date. 

This green has just been completed sand needs to be dragged into holes.

Drill and Fill machine

Close up of green.  Drill and fill holes have sand, conventional aerification holes are yet to be filled.