Friday, May 26, 2017


Rain, Rain and more Rain.   Maybe it's because we have been spoiled the past few years but it seems like we have had a lot of rainy days.  Yesterday was miserable, a slow drizzle all day but we only had .32 inches.  I thought good, we should be fine for today.  When I drove through the course I realized that we must have had a pretty good storm roll through late last night.   Another .52 inches in the rain gauge and the course is soaked.   So much for being in great shape for the holiday weekend.   Cart path only for today.  Let's hope the weather pattern shifts and we start to get some more summer type weather.   Once the course does dry out we should be back to normal.  Believe it or not it won't be long before we are hand watering again.  

The putting green is still on the new side even though this is the start of the third season.  We probably pushed it a little too hard for this time of year.  The cold days are not helping either.   We have had it tested for disease and fertility and its fine.  I think in a couple of weeks of letting it grow
 a little and giving it some tender loving care we should be fine.   

Our North American Bird count went well.   We found 44 different species this year.   A Yellow-Billed Cuckoo was a nice surprise.  I have only seen them here once before.  He was too fast for me to get a good picture. 

Blue Birds are always nice to see.   Sitting in the sun shows his colors. 

We have 40 nest boxes on the course.  5 have Blue Birds nesting in them.   Chicks are getting big!!!


Why are we watering with all the rain?  We applied a crabgrass control product in our roughs.  In order for the product to be effective it needs to be moved to the soil.  With the new irrigation system we are able to water just the roughs and just long enough to get it to where we want it.  
The Black Swallow- Tail recently hatched that was saved from last year.   
We kept the chrysalis in a cool dry place over the winter tying to mimic mother nature.   Nice to see it worked!!!

Sunday, May 14, 2017


1.60 Inches of rain yesterday has the course good and soaked.   The forecast for next week is more promising with temps in the mid 80's and no rain for the next few days.    Good-thing,  we need to dry out.   With this forecast it will be all hands on deck just getting the grass mowed.

Big Day for the Kitchen and House staff.   Carmin is busy setting up the tables getting ready for the Mothers Day Dinners.   Looks like a great day ahead.  

Algae is looking a little bit better. 
Course is looking better now that the trees are dressed in leaves.  
Not sure why, but for some reason we have more poison Ivy in our native areas than usual.  If you are like me you avoid it at all costs.  We have been spraying it as soon as we see it.  There is an old saying "leaves of three let it be. Leaves of five let it thrive".   A real good native plant is called Virginia Creeper and has five leaves.   If not sure the best bet is to avoid anything that resembles poison ivy.   If you see some on the course let me or another staff member know and we will remove it.   
These are from the right of 16 fairway and are maple seedling.  A poison Ivy copy cat.  
This is Porcelain Berry one of the most invasive plants we have.  We remove it as soon as we see it.  Of course the best bet is to keep it in the Fairway  :-)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


You didn't see me on the course last Friday for a good reason.   I was attending a summit sponsored by United Airlines and Audubon International.  They are in the beginning stages of starting a Raptor relocation project.   I knew birds and airplanes do not mix but didn't know how many or the different species that were of concern.   Raptors in particular are a problem at airports and they are looking for areas to release them.   Golf to the rescue.  The program is just getting started but our first meeting was a huge success.    I am really honored that Rockland and I can be a part of saving these great birds.   Look for more information as this program gets started.

Pictured from left to right:   Christine Kane, Executive Director Audubon International,  Mr. Jim Jones, Volunteers for Wildlife,  Mr Tim Connolly,  Golf Course Superintendent, TPC Jasna Polana (and our host)  Mr. Aaron Stash, Senior Strategist Environmental Sustainability United Airlines, Ms. Mikki Viehoever, Wildlife Biologist Airport Operations Seattle - Tacoma Int'l Airport and Mr. Jeff Kolodzinski, Senior Wildlife Biologist Aviation Department, John F. Kennedy International Airport.  

Saturday, April 29, 2017


We have had the April showers, now its time for the May flowers.    I have had a lot of questions regarding the color and patchy-ness of the greens.  First off-- nothing to worry about.  It is not a disease or winter damage it is just the different types of grass and the way they grow during colder weather.   Our golf course is over 100 years old.  Can you Imagine what kind of Tomatoes were planted 100 years ago?   The evolution of Tomatoes is similar to the evolution and breeding of Turf grass.   Obviously there is a big variation in Tomatoes just like our grasses.   Below is a picture of our putting green.  The bright green grass is from plugs that we took off our nursery.  You can see smaller spots that are starting to appear.  This is Poa that is spreading in to our green.  One of the many different Bio-types of grasses currently growing in our greens.  Other areas such as our 15th green are different types of Bent grass.  The patchy-ness of 15 is due to the severe winter damage we had three years ago.   The bent grass that you see survived. Other grasses did not.  This particular grass type is slow to wake up in the spring.  resulting in different colors.  

A larger view of our putting green.

We are planting the new mounds to the right of the new 13 tee with native grasses and flowers.  This berm was installed to hide the tennis courts.

It will take some time but in the long run this will become a nice addition to the course.

Their is more Algae in our pond then we would like.   I am watching it closely.   I am hoping it is because our weed eating fish woke up later than usual and haven't started eating.   If the algae persists we may have to use chemical control.  I hope not.  It is expensive and we have not had to resort to chemicals in many years   

Thursday, April 20, 2017


We are putting the finishing touches on our capital projects.   The 13 championship tee is looking good.    Irrigation is installed,  soil has been fine raked and we are ready for the sod installation.      In the next few weeks we will landscape the berm and before you know it will be ready for play.  

Early morning sod delivery.  

They work fast.   Tee and surrounds completed.

We added some erosion control fabric to the back of the tee to prevent the soil from washing away.  
Added  our Audubon Sign to the range.  Not too much to look at now but give it a couple of weeks.  Lot's of flowers and native grasses ready to pop.  I was told a lot of people were taking pictures of this area last year.  
The Club House is getting geared up for the season.   This is Vinny giving the entrance a much needed touch up.   
Golf course is "greening up".  Ready for the Member-Member on Saturday.  

Let me introduce you to Maurice Wilkens as our newest member to the Greens and Grounds Staff.  "Moe"  has accepted the Mechanic's position and has already helped us get things going. His accomplice "A-Rod" lends a helping paw when ever he can. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Our seasonal Staff returned to work last Monday.  It has only been a week and a half and a lot has been accomplished.   We are full speed ahead.  Our priorities:

  • 1:  Get the course cleaned up,  We have the middle of the course all clean and ready to go,  now we are cleaning up the O. B. line and out of play areas. 
  • 2:  Rake bunkers:   We start by making sure they are clean.  Then we check the depth of sand and make sure we have a consistent depth of 4 inches through out the bunker.  Add the rakes and we are good to go.  All the bunkers are ready for play.  
  • 3:  Start Mowing:   This warm spell has really got the grass growing.  We have been mowing greens pretty regularly.  Tees, approaches, and fairways have been mowed once.  Today we hope to get the step-cut mowed.  Next week we will have to start roughs and surrounds.  
  • 4:  Of course all the other projects related to the course are well under way.  Putting out Ball-Washers, Benches, Garbage cans,  Getting our water features up and running on 8 and 4.  Getting our winter projects buttoned up, Checking all of our machines and making sure cuts are of good quality.  Getting our Irrigation system up an running,  etc, etc.   plenty to keep us busy.  

Irrigation System is up and running.
We pruned the Hickory tree behind the 9th green to get more sun on the green.  This picture shows the shadows it casts.  It will get much worse when the tree leafs out.   
Mound on 17 has been leveled and new fairway contours have been changed.   The soil areas will be sodded to fairway.  
The finished product.  Please avoid  the new sod for a few weeks.

6 ladies tee is almost complete.  Because of  Easter our contractor will be back on Monday to finish things up.   We have to finish 13 black tee expansion and a few other areas where we ran out of sod.   We expect to be finished by next Wednesday.  Just in time for the opening men's member - member.
Nice to see our Osprey's are back this year.  

Saturday, March 25, 2017


We still have just enough snow to keep the course closed. The forecast for tomorrow is not good but next week looks more seasonable.  Fingers crossed, it should not be long before we can start swinging clubs again.  In the mean time....We were scouting the course and noticed algae and weeds popping up in our pond.   We have not had to chemically treat our water for algae in over 15 years saving us thousands of dollars.
Just enough snow to keep us from opening the course.  We did get our  water falls up and running.   The Water falls look and sound great but they serve another purpose, they keep the water moving and add oxygen.  Both are important for water quality.
We noticed Algae and a weed called Curly Pondweed.  (It is considered an invasive weed in New York).  We added a pond dye that has UV filtering properties that curb weed and algae growth.  The dye is  food-grade, which means that it  will pose no threat to wildlife.  Because the water is still some what cold our "weed eating fish" are not active yet. Sorry, I couldn't get a real good picture. I should have taken one before we added the dye!!!  click to expand and you can see the weeds growing from the bottom.

We also have installed our Sonic Solutions device that kills algae with sound waves.  All of these practices combined  have had a big impact controlling  weeds and algae and saved quite a lot of money at the same time.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017


This past weeks snow storm put an end to golf for the time being.  Time to get out the cards and play some gin.  
A empty grill room.  A sure sign of the weather.  

Not much Green around here.  

Just Me and the Turkeys this morning.  Except for:  

Pam, she is here bright and early in the pro shop.  

Getting the pro shop ready for business.   A sure sign of golf in the near future.  The sooner the better.  

Monday, March 13, 2017


The forecast is for blizzard conditions and cold the rest of the week.  We have been busy getting as much done as we can.  The clubs will stay in the corner for another week.

Drainage in sub-grade on 13 tee.  

A good soil mix installed above drains for the new tee surface.  

Owel spreading out soil mix for 15 tee expansion.

Most of last Friday's snow is almost gone.  Just in time for more. 

These guys had a rough week and it looks like it's going to get worse.  Can't say as I feel sorry for them.  If I had wings I'd be in Florida!!!

Monday, March 6, 2017


Proposed:  Relaxed rules for “penalty areas” (currently called “water hazards”): Red and yellow-marked penalty areas may cover areas of desert, jungle, lava rock, etc., in addition to areas of water; expanded use of red penalty areas where lateral relief is allowed; and there will be no penalty for moving loose impediments or touching the ground or water in a penalty area.

Will this Proposed rule change the way we manage the course for play at Rockland?    In a word yes!!!   Under the rules of golf TODAY you may not mark these naturalized areas as a Lateral water hazard unless they actually contained a pond or stream you may only mark these areas as:    

·        Ground under repair:  providing relief without penalty
·        Out of bounds (stroke and distance penalty)

I am always trying to encourage and develop native areas throughout the course but have found them to be considered too penal for many of our members and guests. The purpose of these is to save labor, water, fertilizer, pesticides, provide habitat etc. making them an important feature of the course.  However, these areas are charged with slowing down the game and making it too difficult.  For example, it is quite common to allow vegetation around a pond or stream to grow higher because   it is usually included within the margin of the hazard providing the same relief as a ball in the water itself.  You don’t have to find your ball and you don’t lose the distance making it not as much a penalty as let’s say a lost ball.  If there is no water and you allow vegetation to grow it will probably be treated as “through the green” which usually results in a lost ball and a stroke and distance situation making the area much more penal than a water hazard.  I think this Proposed rule change will allow golf course superintendents to create or manage more native areas because they will not slow down play and the penalty for hitting in them will not be as severe.   In the words of Donald Trump I think this is a HUGE change that will allow superintendents to create more native areas and manage their properties in a more sustainable way.  
If the new rule is approved this wild flower area can be marked like a hazard.  If you hit your ball in here you can drop where it went in with a one stoke penalty.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Our opening day for the golf season is a month or so away but the "UNOFFICIAL" opening day is today.   So far mother nature has been good to us. We opened the entire course with flag sticks in greens.   The Pro-shop is open for business so carts are available.  It is cart path only, but hey its February.  The Club House is also open for the afternoon lunch crowd.  Not a bad start to the season.

Flag sticks in greens for the first time in "17" 
Worm mounds or castings can cause poor lies in fairways.  
Last week we had some really dry weather and the castings dried out.  That gave us the opportunity to drag them breaking them up and returning them to the soil  If they are wet or moist they just turn to mud.  If carts ride over them they "pancake" and can smoother the turf.

Here you can see the difference.  The left side of the picture has been dragged.

6 ladies tee taking shape.   

Monday, February 20, 2017


Most of the snow has melted and the forecast is for a warm week.  The way things look we may just be in for a early spring?   Too soon to call but I'm not going to complain if this warm weather continues.  

Most of last weeks snow storm has melted.  So far so good.  I see no disease or winter damage.   

A view from the 1st tee.  Notice the Deer by two tee.  They are taking advantage of a beautiful day.
A Blue Bird basking in the sun.  They are always nice to see.  They do not go south in the winter but I rarely see them.  A signal of an early Spring?  
A song Sparrow Singing away,  A fairly common winter bird.