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Golf Course Conditions - Per Eric Van Gorder, Director of Executive Golf Maintenance
 
Old 05-31-2016, 03:13 PM
ddharrold ddharrold is offline
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Default Golf Course Conditions - Per Eric Van Gorder, Director of Executive Golf Maintenance

On Saturday, May 28, 2016 I sent the following email to GolfTheVillages.com. Though the response comes from the Director of Executive Golf Course Maintenance, I suspect what he shares applies to Championship Courses as well.
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Our neighborhood group played Saddlebrook & Hawkes Bay on Friday, May 27, 2016. Both courses are a disaster. As I recall one or both of these courses were closed for an extended period about the time last year. Apparently whatever was done didn't take. It seems to me that The Villages should have one or two persons on staff with training in golf course turf maintenance and these professionals should be visiting every golf course on a regular basis and instructing the contract maintenance people exactly what needs to be done to ensure good playing conditions. Perhaps even partnering with one or two colleges that specialize in golf course turf management to provide intern positions. Yes, I read the recent explanation in the paper about "transitional" conditions, but several places throughout The Villages aren't suffering from "transitional" issues; they are suffering from improper turf management.
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This is the response I received on May 31, 2016
Hi David,
Thank you for the email and your concerns are valid and understood. I will be as brief as possible and try my best to help explain without excuses on conditioning and that all avenues are being addressed to correct the situation with these golf courses.

Currently myself on the District side and one other person on the developers side oversee the agronomy plans for each of these contracted Executive golf course maintenance companies based on soil test, contract requirements, and past histories. Ultimately the companies are responsible however to enact these plans thru their superintendents and any repairs are expensed to their companies. Many of the companies use the extension services, USGA and local Universities here in Florida. The different companies also have Doctorates of plant pathology, and turf biologist on staff such as Dr Barry Troutman and Dr Todd Burnell for whom both have visited these and other courses in The Villages.

The course conditions after this winter were not visible with over seed masking Bermuda issues from the winter that became more pronounced this spring with less than favorable conditions. Much of our current conditioning was caused by trying to manage two grass species in the same environment thru the warm winter wet months with full capacity amounts of play. Some superintendents were more successful than others based on timing when seed was installed, experience with over seed, the soil types and even the age of the greens.

The maintenance companies have made several changes to personal and their management teams in all these areas. In the case of Saddlebrook and Hawks the superintendent has been replaced this month. They are working every day to repair and we as a group have been closing courses to help speed recovery along. Sometimes we do not close two courses in the same area because we want everyone to have the ability to play in their perspective neighborhoods. When we get two courses in the same area in less than favorable conditions they are perceived as not caring or inability to manage but this is far from the truth. Today we have scheduled a course closure on June the 6th for SaddleBrook leaving Hawks open for play until Saddlebrook is recovered. At this time the maintenance company Valley Crest will be installing a new green on #2 Saddlebrook and working on all other areas to reopen as soon as they recover. After this closure at Saddlebrook if Hawks hasnít fully recovered while open we will close it next. All other areas we expect to see good playing conditions return after the 21 days of aeration scheduled.

Please accept our apologizes and please be patient all groups are working due diligently for the return of good playing conditions.

Eric Van Gorder
Director of Executive Golf Maintenance
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Regards,
Dave Harrold
 

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