Friday, December 02, 2022




Deep Tine Putting Green Aeration

Today we started the process of deep tinning putting greens. This machine is equipped with 12" long tines and injects high pressure air into the greens root zone profile.  The high pressured air fractures the soil at a depth of 12" and then another air blast occurs when the tines are 6" deep.  While this type of aerification isn't beneficial in terms of removing organic matter; it serves another purpose, just as important.  At HCC, we do an excellent job of aerifying the top 3" of the profile, like most golf courses do.  Over time, a compacted layer can develop at the 3" deep mark; the point at which traditional hollow tines stop.  To prevent this from happening, it's important for us to disrupt the root zone at varying depths.  This machine takes care of that for us.  It isn't something we use through the season because it can cause some heaving at the surface that can ultimately lead to scalping if we aren't careful.  Performing this procedure twice during the winter months does a nice job in keeping water moving downward all season long.

Thursday, December 01, 2022


On #5, we are trimming Rhododendron back on the opposite side of the cart path at the Highlands Tee.  This will eventually open up the view from the upper tees.  I think this project will be really well received once it is complete and grassed.

Lots of action on the 1st hole as the irrigation pipe installation moves down the fairway.

Above, my team is reworking the stone pavers around the croquet pavilion so the stone is flush with the actual patio that is undercover.  Due to the soil settling, a lip developed along this edge that became a tripping hazard.  We used decorative river rock gravel to eliminate the edge this past season and now that we have more time, we are coming back and raising the ground level to be flush. Details!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Settlement Day!

Not too bad for a bunch of Turfheads!  Just a quick history... This log structure once stood next to a home on Hemlock Road, just off Happoldt Drive as you approach the 4th green from the Clubhouse.  The structure was going to be hauled away and disposed of due to a renovation taking place at said residence.  We were graciously offered the log cabin with the stipulation we would have to move it.  Shortly thereafter, Chad and I labeled every single log and it's location, creating a 10-page laminated book that acted as our instruction manual on how to piece it back together.  It was adult Lincoln Logs!  Needing a small storage building at the Farm, we poured a concrete slab, built a block foundation and then erected the building.  It spent last summer without a roof since we ran out of time last spring to roof the structure.  This past fall, we got back around to it and not only added a roof, but also rock veneer to the block pillars and foundation, which was completed this afternoon.  There is only one aspect of the project left but it's not critical.  That is chinking between the logs.  I never saw how that process is done, so it is something I look forward to learn.  Once we get a load of sod, we will grass around the building and maybe even add some understated landscaping.  Who knows, maybe one day this could be a short term rental if I don't decide to use it as my full time residence?  

BMP Manual


I recently started writing and accumulating material and data in order to achieve my main goal for 2022-2023.  That goal is to create a Highlands Country Club facility BMP Manual that is 100% specific to our operation.  In the future, I think these types of things will be required for most all industries, especially those that have the ability to impact that natural environment.  

Golf Course BMPs offer guidelines for Superintendents to manage their facilities in an efficient and environmentally sustainable manner.  The manual will document all of the science based practices and management techniques that we employ that often go unnoticed but are extremely important to recognize.  Not only will it highlight topics like my philosophy on turfgrass fertility programs and chemical applications, but it will serve as course standards document of sorts as well.  It will dive deep into all the environmental programs and certifications we've achieved over the years and continue to remain committed to, like Audubon International, for example.

This manual is a valuable tool for green and golf committee members (particularly as an orientation tool for new committee members) or any members in general who are interested and even media outlets depending on a specific situation.  This is a time consuming commitment and something I started in October.  My goal is to have it completed by April and this is something I will be talking about periodically in future blog posts.  Stay tuned...

Weather Data

 2.25" of rain last night brought the YTD total to 91.95".  This data (below) is always to the right on the home screen.  However, if you read the blog on the mobile format site, it doesn't show up.  On your mobile device, if you go to the blog and scroll all the way to the bottom of the first page, you'll see it says View web version. Clicking this allows you to look at the blog as if your on a desktop PC.  Personally, I think it's an easier format to enjoy the blog.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022


As I previously stated, irrigation consultant, Dave Regan has been on site the past two days marking exact locations of sprinkler heads.  Using basic geometry, it is very important that the sprinkler heads are properly spaced and leveled to be sure irrigation water is properly distributed.  Each white pipe sticking out of the ground represents the location of a new sprinkler head.

Above is the view down #1 fairway standing on #2 Jones tee.  Before this morning, vegetation blocked any view back down #1 fairway.  This is just another beautiful vista that we exposed and an example of what makes this such a fantastic property.  It's hard to believe that views like this as well as many of our water features stayed hidden and covered by trees and shrubs for so long.

Our bridge on #1 was not only stained a dark color to soften and hide the bright tan treated lumber look, but we also applied an 18" strip of non-slip coating.  The anti-slip surface is created by using the material below, which is made for treating the bed of pick-up trucks.  About 10 years ago, I experimented with this product on the boat dock walkway and it turned out to be durable and effective.  I was concerned at first that it would adhere to wood like it does metal.  10-12 years later, it is still very effective.   

Monday, November 28, 2022


With some nice Monday weather, we're making a big push to finish Graden verticutting the approaches.  With a nice day in store tomorrow, we hope to get this completed and then focus on other tasks.

We're off to the races down the 1st hole!  the main line is buried 36" deep and we hand-dug the trench for the first 50 yards of the 1st hole.  This is because this area is filled with "land mines."  By land mines, I mean fiber optic cables, telephone wires etc. that their exact location hasn't been recorded when they were installed over the years.  Rather than risk damaging one of these important wires, it's easier to hand dig the area.  It's time consuming, but with 15 people with shovels in hand, it's not too bad.  The Town of Highlands ground penetrating radar machine helps me locate about 80% of what's underground but the machine is by no means perfect.  The smaller the diameter pipe or wire is, the easier it is to miss.

Golf and Calories...

Interesting facts about golf and exercise from an email I received:

The average American consumed a hefty 3,000 calories on Thanksgiving - for dinner alone. Drinks, dessert, and appetizers can bring the total calorie count to waistline busting 4,500 calories.

 Looks like it's time to hit the fairways… Walking a regulation length18-holes course equals about four miles. If you walk and carry your golf bag, your total calories burned is approximately 1,400 (body weight, gender, and undulation of the course can greatly vary this number). Riding in a golf cart reduces the calorie burn to around 800.

Irrigation, Capital Projects and 7-Day Forecast


The irrigation project on the front nine holes is underway.  Our irrigation consultant, Dave Regan (from Florida), is on site the next three days laying out specific head locations on holes 1-9.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we got a start on the work by installing a new 8" pipe in the culvert that runs from the 10th hole, under the administration building, to the first hole.  This is one of two road crossings that loops water around the golf course. 8" is the largest pipe we will be handling on the front nine compared to 12" pipe on the back nine.  This makes the project a little less challenging since all the "heavy lifting" is compete. The largest pipe used on any irrigation project is the main line that comes from the irrigation pump house.  Our pump house is the stone building on the lake at the corner of Hudson Road and Dillard Road.  All of that work was done last winter.  Let's hope for a mild winter because we only have 3 months to complete this and our other capital projects.

Spools of HDPE pipe consume the clubhouse parking lot.

Speaking of our other projects, this winter, we are hoping to have enough time to complete the following:

1. Front Nine Irrigation

2. Construct a new Ross Tee on #13 tee, in front of the existing back tee, knocking up to 15 yards off the length of the tee shot.

3. Expend the 16th tee forward about 10 yards for additional tee space and shortening the distance for the Highlands and Happoldt tees.

4. Reshape the remaining bunkers left from the Ron Forse Master Plan.  This means the bunkers on holes #1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9 will be tweaked and rebuilt.

5. Install drainage on holes #7 and in front of the practice tee.

Contractor, Green-Tee Golf, is on site and will be handling the projects mentioned above.  This doesn't include the lengthy list of projects that we will be completing in-house with our own team.  There are a number of drainage improvements, tree work, re-sodding work and general maintenance that is going to be completed over the next 3 months.  Keep up with the Highlands CC Agronomy Blog to see how productive we are over the coming months!

Hole Locations

Since most golfers putt with the flagstick in the hole, now that the USGA changed the rule, it has led to more wear and tear damage around the lip of the cup.  Below is a USGA article about this.  This also happens to be why we don't paint the top of the hole white like you see in the photo except for special events.  Personally, I think the white paint looks sloppy after after the first several groups play through, and the "crispness" of the lip is compromised.  This is a question I am asked about once or twice a year; members asking why we don't paint the top edge on a daily basis.   

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Frost Delays

While our season is over, this is an interesting photo that shows how many footprints that are made on a putting green by one foursome.  Remember this during your next frost delay.

Finally, I would also like to thank you for making 2022 such a positive year at Highlands CC!  The staff is already looking forward to the 2023 season, which will be here before you know it. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022