Winter is a busy time for the grounds department. We have a smaller full time staff that works through the colder months completing improvements on the golf course, servicing equipment and accessories, taking care of snow, and creating agronomic programs for the upcoming season.
This winter we have removed several trees from the golf course, including 20+ tree of heaven (the host plant for Japanese lantern flyes) from around the ninth green. The staff have worked on all the bunkers. Specifically all new sod was added to the surrounds of the number nine complex and the small front greenside bunker on number eight has been modified so that the sand line is visible from the approach. It is no longer a blind hazard. Additionally, extra attention has been paid to the functionality of the maintenance building, in an effort to maximize the efficiency of the full staff next season.
This winter has also brought significant changes to the grounds staff. I am thrilled to tell you that long time leads assistant superintendent Jim O’Brien has moved on to be the golf course superintendent at Bellwood Country Club. Our other assistant Chris Toporski became the superintendent at Lulu Country Club earlier this past fall. We have hired two excellent replacements for our assistant superintendents; Brian Reardon, and Travis Bono are eager to be part of Rivercrest and bring with them significant experience and expertise.
Finally, I would like to update you on the status of the golf course. This winter has been a strange one even for our region. We have had a pattern of extreme cold followed by warm and wet. This has caused our soils to stay frozen just below the surface during warm spells and with additional rain all of that moisture is trapped at the top, creating a very muddy mess. Thankfully, the extended forecast is promising, and I believe that the golf course will be open this week, with the greens still close. We are hoping for an early spring too!