Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012

Years ago I was superintendent at Stone Harbor. There, during my first year, a skinny older man with a filter-less Chesterfield cigarette hanging from his lips introduced himself  to me as Chet, explaining that he was there to help out however he could as he had done there each of the past few summers. So I gave him the bunker crew to supervise...

And soon one of the guys on the bunker crew came into my office to complain in a way I still have not forgotten... “My mamma don’t even treat me like that!” Turns out Chet was a task master. His way or do it again. And again, and again, until it was right. I realized that I didn’t have to worry about bunkers getting done  when Chet was around!

As Chet got older – into his 80’s – he lost a little stamina but still came in every summer day, whether he was scheduled or not. The last few years I was there, he became my tee divot guy. Although I had to worry about bunkers again, I now never had to worry about tee divots.

I spent a lot of time with Chet, or maybe it was he who spent a lot of time with me. At work and not at work. He’d come over to my home and play with my kids. I’d go over to his trailer and check on him, as he lived alone. We became friends.

Many times I would just listen to Chet – he grew up in the depression, his father was an orphan, his mom sold pies to the neighbors, his son was a NASA engineer, his daughter a teacher, he worked as a printer all his life, his wife died of cancer, and he served on the airplane carrier the “Franklin”, or Big Ben, during WW2.

He had enlisted in the Navy and chance put him in the hold of the fateful ship. When the two Japanese planes came out of the sky dropping bombs, hitting the ship directly in the elevator shaft, the ship became an inferno with fuel igniting and bombs exploding. 724 were killed and 265 were wounded. Chet survived and helped with the fires and later to get the listing ship back to Pearl Harbor. Not one to stand out in a crowd, but to be humble, Chet was overlooked when the ribbons were passed out.

I didn’t know anything about the Franklin until I met Chet. Fact is, he didn’t really bring it up until the last few years that I knew him. He told me the story, and gave me books that were written about the ship and the people on it. This was a watermark in his life that he needed to share. I listened. Chet said it became important to him to talk because he didn't want people to forget. He said he didn’t have many years left in him, and he feared that when he was gone, no one would be left to remember...that bothered him.

A year before Chet passed away he was finally recognized with a medal for his help during the attack and the trip back to Pearl Harbor. 

And he died with my promise that I would not forget. I haven't.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012

So much going on! These past weeks have been very busy for our department.

Chris Lare, the Assistant Superintendent since 2004, left to pursue a career in teaching. He is now going to college full time and hopes to be in the classroom in a few short years. We all wish him the best, and he surely will be missed.

Rick Shetler is our new Assistant Superintendent. Rick is originally from Dennisville, and graduated from the Rutgers Turfgrass  Management program. He interned at Galloway National, and then worked at courses in Hawaii and Florida. He brings to us a solid back ground working at high end courses and managing both warm and cool season grasses. Rick will be a tremendous asset and he already has made many positive impacts.

We have planted 2000 California Privets (over a linear mile) along the perimeter of the golf course to give it privacy from the bordering roads and streets. We also supervised the planting of many trees and ornamentals throughout the course.

We aerated and topdressed the new driving range tee this week. It will be ready to open May 26! We are also making more improvements to the entire driving range and practice area. I think that it will all add to your enjoyment.

We re sanded the greens to help even out the surface after the aeration/ drill and fill and soon  we will be taking the greens height down a notch and getting them into championship shape..

In the background we have been applying turf protectents to suppress the annual bluegrass weevil, fertilizing the tees, doing irrigation repair, training staff, etc.

There hasn’t been an empty moment for a long while!!!!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 4, 2012

We finished up the drill and fill and aeration this week. The drill and fill – drills that bore 12” down into the soil, and filling the bore holes with sand – improves drainage. The aeration takes care of compaction and thatch.  Both help us to amend the soil profiles. We did it together so that the greens would not be disrupted two separate times, and we waited until late spring to do the processes so that with warmer temperatures, the healing will be faster!

The 12" drills

Buckets of sand are poured into the top of the drill and fill machine
The bucketing operation

Following the drill and fill, Isabella aerates the green

Clara matting in the sand after the drill and fill/ aeration and topdressing.