Hello to all and welcome to spring! I just wanted to give a quick update on course conditions and where we are heading and where we have come from. First, I hope everyone is enjoying these nice temperatures and weather that we have had over the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, we all know that these prime temps won’t last and we will be into hot weather before long.

As for the golf course:
Aerification went well this spring with a modified version of it taking place. No doubt, everyone is aware how quick the greens healed up this spring. This was done because of several factors. One being the weather we had endured. Two because of labor and three was time. This fall, we will revert back to pulling a core so that turf health does not decline. You will notice more topdressing this summer along with needle tine holes to keep the greens vented during the hot months.

Pre-emerge has been applied to the entire golf course along with fertilizer in hopes of controlling weeds. Many of you have probably noticed that poa annua (annual bluegrass) has emerged in places. We will be trying to control what we can of that but the main focus will be on the putting surface. Seed head suppression is about all we can do at this time.

We have gained a wet weather spring on #9. As many of you have noticed, it is extremely wet on the lower right side. My plan is to add some drain lines to move some of that top water away from the area and over to the creek in hopes of drying the area. Look for that to start in the coming weeks.

Mowing heights have been established for the fairways. The height of cut will remain at .600 for the foreseeable future do in large part to the amount of rain we have had this year so far. We still have a shallow root system and fairways will be apt to burn up with lower mowing heights. Green heights are at .140 and will be going down to .135 soon. This along with topdressing will produce a faster smoother surface.

Rainfall totals for the year so far is 32.29 inches. That is what we have collected at the shop since January 2019. Hopefully we won’t encounter another summer like last year with the rainfall we had.

The driving range tee has been reseeded.

The maintenance staff labor force has taken a hit this year. Many have probably noticed that we did not get any migrant workers due to the H2B visa cut backs. We are still looking for laborers to fill the vacant spots. However, the staff that is here is putting in a valiant effort to ensure the course is in the best playable shape it can be. Believe me, I do see everything that needs to be done and where we are lacking. Be assured, we are trying to get everything to a maintainable level by prioritizing job tasks for the golf course.

Thank you to all for adhering to the no cart/ cart <> signs. This is just to ensure that we don’t wear out the turf in areas especially close to the greens. Please be mindful of any signage and or roped areas.

Let’s all do our part to fill any divots on tees and fairways as we are having trouble out of the par 3 tees and smaller tees on the course. There are only so many places we can move tee markers on the little tees. If you take a divot, please add sand and help us reduce turf loss.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support and I look forward to trying to give you not only a beautiful, playable course, but one you can be proud of!!

Steve Akers GCS
Laurel Ridge Country Club

Golf Course Superintendent’s Update 5/25/18

May 25, 2018

There are many projects happening around LRCC. We continue to finish our mulch and pine needle applications. This has been especially tough this year due to our work crews being delayed three weeks and the abundant rainfall. We are working on each area when a free moment and Mother Nature allow. With the abundant rain, clumping of the grass clippings has been a problem. If one thing drives me crazy on a golf course, it is clumping of clippings. Normally, afternoon mowing reduces this complication because clippings are dry. However, with the evening rain showers, the grass is never really drying. A turbine blower is being sent out daily, but the wet clippings make blowing extremely difficult. Thank you for your patience with this issue. Due to the course receiving so much rain and being so wet, I ask all golfers to please follow the cart path ruling for the day. The sign signaling the daily ruling is located at the #1 white tee. Driving where prohibited damages grass by turning, spinning, or simply compacting. I know that it is tempting to drive across the fairways and think, “one cart wont hurt”. If everyone had that thought, that’s 20-50 carts per day!

We are trying a new product for our cart path ends and walkways. In years past, a coarse sand was used on these areas. Teaming up with Green Mountain Golf, a Klingstone product will be tested that is applied over a more coarse stone. We will be using this product on the path at #5 green and #14 greens walkway. As well, a similar product will be applied to a bunker on #5 to test the benefits of washout reduction.

The culvert on #17 is set to be replaced hopefully next week. Material is settling around the current pipe somehow and causing a slow collapse. The other course culverts will be evaluated this year as well since they are all the same age. When this work starts, a cart path detour is possible for 1-2 days.

A new set of tee markers has been ordered and will be added to the fairways soon. A few members had the idea of a forward tee location to assist play on some of the harder holes. I have ordered a complete set of markers for this purpose.

Hopefully, everyone is happy with the course progress. Being mentioned in the same sentence as Biltmore Forest CC and Balsam Mountain Preserve is an honor and confidence builder to my team. I thank you for the encouraging words and hope you each have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Logan H. Nesbitt, Golf Course Superintendent

2017 Mixed Member/Member Golf Tournament

September 5, 2017

Bragging rights were on the line during the 2017 Mixed Member-Member. The 2-day event, better known as the “Divorce Open”, kicked off play on Saturday, August 26th with a 2-person Better Ball event, followed by a 2-person Scramble format on Sunday. Teams competed for both Gross and Net Championships. Most of the teams were comprised of spouses, but there were 8 teams competing with someone other than their better half.

Bob Lester & Mary Lou Barnes, Net Champions

With five teams within two strokes of the Net lead after Saturday’s round, the competition was obviously very close! John and Carolyn Bowers held the lead with a great score of 54, only one stroke ahead of the team of Bob Lester/Mary Lou Barnes. Two strokes behind were Dan/Deborah Beasley, Don Thompson/Jane Noppenberg and Tom/Connie Wilkinson.

Under beautiful skies, Sunday’s scramble finished with Bob Lester/Mary Lou Barnes posting the lowest score of the day, 55.8. This team poured it on, winning the Net Division by 3.5 strokes. The Bowers claimed second place, thanks to consistently good play. David Hicks and Lisa Benson followed closely in third place, and, only one-tenth of a point behind, Don Thompson/Jane Noppenberg trailed in fourth. Fifth place belonged to the Wilkinsons and, with Sunday’s second best score, the team of Scott Hickle and Jeannette Carter finished strong in sixth position.

Deborah & Dan Beasley, 2017 Mixed Member/Member Champions

While many teams were in the hunt for the Net championship, a smaller race was vying in the Gross Division. On Saturday, Rick/Joyce Schlapkohl shot even par 72; Greg/Donna Stamey ended the day with 3-under 69, and the leaders, Dan/Deborah Beasley were at 4-under 68. These three teams again battled it out on Sunday for recognition as the LRCC’s best golfing couple. The Schlapkohls played impressively and came in third with a score of 141. The Stameys and Beasleys were close to the end, each shooting an incredible 6-under par 66 on Sunday. After two days of intense play, the team of Greg/Donna Stamey won the Runner-up prize and Dan/Deborah Beasley were the victors and grand champions.

Closest to the Pin contest winners were: #3 Tom Wilkinson; #8 Melonie Murphy; #10 Hollis Prior; and #17 Joyce Schlapkohl. Thanks to all for two great days of golf and camaraderie. Hopefully, all our couples’ marriages remain as strong as the friendships shared this weekend

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