Thursday, June 24, 2010


You may have heard me refer to "Large Marge" at some point. I sometimes use this affectionate term when referring to Mother Nature. No matter how well we plan ahead, Large Marge will ultimately decide what we do and when we do it. With a 9am shotgun on the schedule today the turf department had a busy morning planned in order to get all the jobs completed so that when the guests return to their home courses after the days event they might just brag to their fellow members about the great golf experience they had at Whitevale. But Large Marge had other ideas. She decided to send us just over 50mm (or better than 2 inches) rain in two different storm cells over about 3 hours. With the ground saturated, and puddles everywhere most of the planned jobs could not be completed. We can't cut greens as the soil and thatch swell up and become "puffy", trying to mow them would scalp many areas causing major damage. Holes can not be changed as the cups are full of water. Bunkers are puddled and require time to drain before we can remove debris, shovel up sand to fix wash outs and begin to rake them. We don't send out fairway or rough mowers as there is a safety issue with the potential of equipment sliding around and this equipment can cause significant damage to the soft ground. So what are we doing? First of all we have a meeting with staff reminding them of the potential hazards and dangers they all face with the slippery conditions. We also go over the potential damage that can be cause trying to get around the course under such wet conditions. They are instructed to keep the carts to the paved paths, and when they must leave the path to stay on the high areas avoiding driving through puddles always! The jobs that are assigned include divot filling, course clean up, repairs to gravel wash-outs on our maintenance road, line trimming under trees, weeding gardens, we can prune some branches, extra time is spent on ball mark repairs, we put out ropes and stakes to usher cart traffic around some of the wettest areas. We clean sand and gravel off cart paths. Any bunker that is not holding water we can begin shoveling up the washouts.

And we plan...........for tomorrows jobs!

Ever wonder what the valley looks like after 2 inches of rain?

But, no matter how bad we ever have it, there is ALWAYS someone who has it worse! Please click on the link below which will take you to the United States Green Association (USGA) web site and a story about a hail storm and what one course had to deal with. The pictures will shock you I'm sure!
USGA: What The ‘Hail’ Was That? - June 2010



What a great afternoon for the men's night shotgun. Under hot and humid conditions 120 members and guest participated in the first mens night shotgun event of the year. Even a few rain drops didn't dampen the mood.

The Cracked Canoe team was stationed on the first tee with cold samples for all to enjoy.

For the first time ever, Whitevale Golf Club ran a guest giveaway hole in one contest. The contest was simple, each guest who participated in the event was eligible to save $1,000 on initiation if they join. If a guest hit the green on #14 their name was placed into a draw to win a free associate membership and if they actually got a hole in one the won a full Equity Membership.

Well, no one had an ace but 7 guests did hit the green and Mr. Joe Macima, who was a guest of Boxcar Hulme, won the free associate membership for the rest of the year. From this picture we're not sure who is more excited Joe or Boxcar.

That wasn't all the excitement. Bernie Docking donated a very large bottle of Crown Royal that was raffled off with all proceeds being donated to the Longest Day. The bottle was won by Jody Bevan and as you can see we think it was emptied before he left the building. Member Glenn Mackie doesn't look very impressed and Jody wasn't sharing the bottle.

The group of Kevin Huestis and Mark Brown with their guest came away as the eventual winners but I think it's safe to say that everyone we participated had a great time.

Thanks to all who participated. Blair and the greens crew who had the course in great shape, Tony and the pro shop staff for running the event and of course Shawn and Andrew for putting on such a great meal. The stuffed pork chop was one of the best meals of the year.

Of course these events just don't happen with the support of our sponsors. A HUGE thank you to members Peter Elsenaar and Randy Chew for sponsoring the night.

THE NEXT MEN,S NIGHT SHOTGUN IS AUGUST 18th and we're looking for sponsors. If you are interested, please speak with Tony.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Soft Spikes?

The new golf shoes of member John Higginson, leaves us asking if they have have soft spikes.


This past Friday was the 19th annual Longest Day of Golf at the Club. The team consisting of Steve Rodriguez, Kevan Goble, Paul Stephenson and Joan Store teed of at dawn and made their last putt on #18 at 9:40pm. Special thank you to Ann Griffin for substituting in for a couple rounds. Of course this day would not be possible without the great financial support and the many volunteers hours from the Whitevale Golf Club Members.
The ladies of Social Committee kept busy all night long selling raffle tickets. It was a great day of fund raising and a special THANK YOU to Joan Store who announced her retirement from the Longest Day after 19 years, thank you Joan your enthusiasm, passion and dedication to the Longest Day has made Whitevale a better club.

Friday, June 18, 2010



Long before the construction of the new pond at 4 began in 2004, I remember having a conversation with the architect about the depth of the proposed pond to make sure it would be deep it enough that weeds would not be a problem. We also discussed the slopes of the sides being steep enough that weed growth along the edges would be minimal. Very simply if the pond is deep enough, and the sides are steep, aquatic weeds will not establish other than around the shallow edges. Sure enough Thomas McBroom design did address these concerns.

However, once the equipment was on site and excavation began we quickly found two huge problems. The first being the soil in the area which was very high in sand and stone. This type of material is not stable enough to incorporate steep pond banks. The second problem was the high water table. Once we were about 2 feet deep we hit ground water, which had not been expected. So we faced two possible outcomes 1) do nothing and deal with the issues of weeds when it becomes a problem, or 2) approve a change order and go over budget on getting de-watering equipment, bringing in heavy soil to line the sides and possibly using a artificial liner. As you can imagine this second option was prohibitive. In the first few seasons plants were growing but were young and not well established. But like a toddler, you know it's only a matter of time before they grow up and become a teenager who takes up an entire couch! We have been manually removing Bull rushes from both ponds and we are currently investigating what options we might be able to implement to remove the weeds through the center of 4 pond. One last thing, a fountain will not control the weed problem.

4 Pond before construction Notice the excessive water in the base during to excavation

At the 150 yard post in the 5th fairway we have an area about six foot square which is painted as ground under repair. We cut the sod out of this area earlier in the season and seeded it to a new dwarf blue grass cultivar. Even though we have bent grass throughout most of our fairways we are beginning to investigate turf types that may replace bent grass in the future. Although bent is ideally suited for the fairways, there is a cost to keeping it healthy as it is susceptible to diseases such as dollar spot. With the new laws in place we need to show a reduction in pest control product uses year after year. And it is possible that in the future some or all of these products will be eliminated. Testing these new turf types now will give us experience in managing them, and allow members to hit off this turf before we ever make a possible change in the turf types we maintain on the golf course. This area will take about 4 or 5 weeks to fill in.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010



If you play golf on Tuesdays here at Whitevale, you may be curious why you start on the 10th tee. Every Tuesday and Thursday we mow around the bunkers with a mower called a Flymow. This mower is very similar to the regular push mower most people use on their home lawns, with one big exception. It has no wheels! It is actually a small hover mower. The motor not only turns the blade, but it turns a fan creating air pressure under the deck. This wheelless mower works very well around the rolls of the bunkers without scalping. So why do we send play off the back? Well, on Tuesdays we flymow the front 9 bunkers and this process requires 3 people to mow the grass and blow the debris out of the bunkers. It will take them between
3 1/2 to 4 hours to get through the front 9. Behind this crew we still need to rake the bunkers because of the mess we make. Therefore, by sending play off the 10th tee, the crew have an extra 2 hours to work without having to move out of the way for golfers. By the time the first group has made it to the 1st hole, this crew is down on 7, and if all goes according to plan, by the time the first group of golfers get to the 9th tee, this team is finished. If we have equipment break downs and the progress is slowed, then golfers will catch up to this crew. Because this crew has to watch out for, and get out of the way of people hitting golf balls, their production is significantly slowed, usually doubling the time required to get the job complete. As you guessed this also doubles the cost associated with getting this job done.
Brenden, Nicole and Derek flymowing at 3 green

Saturday, June 12, 2010



Mother nature put a damper on today's Mixed Haig, the event has been postponed to next weekend. However, the clubhouse is jumping in preparation for today's England Vs USA Match at 2:30pm.

With the Ireland yet again not making the World Cup tournament Dr. Padraig Darby now has now new team to cheer on.

All World Cup games are on live in High Definition.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010




Junior Clinics

Our annual Junior Clinic series began this past Saturday.These free clinics run every Saturday afternoon in the month of June and are open to all Junior members.

The hour long sessions cover all the basics - putting, short game, irons and woods.

We also hold a Super Junior session for the juniors aged 10 and under. In addition to the Clinics, we hold 3 golf camps over the summer for our Junior Members. These week long camps run from 9am to 3pm and include great instruction, 9 holes of golf every day and fun prizes.

Camps Dates:

July 12 - 16, July 26 - 30, August 16 - 20

Sign up for the Camps in the Pro Shop.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Tee Aerification

One of the most asked question I have ever heard is..........."WHY DO WE HAVE TO AERATE"?

It does not matter what turf area we are talking about, aeration of any part of the golf course benefits the health of the turf in a number of ways. The benefit most members may be aware of is the reduction of compaction. It also opens the crust on top of the soil which can be caused by the bicarbonates from irrigation water. It facilitates the entry of water and air into the root zone. It also controls thatch, which may be the most important of all as thatch can be as dangerous a killer as heart disease. We hope to reduce the interference with members by leaving some teeing ground on each hole untouched as we tackle tee aerification this week. As of noon today we have already aerified about 75% of the tee surface on the front 9. Behind the aerifier we over seed, break up the cores, brush and top dress. The temperatures are ideal for initiating this cultural practice unlike last week when we wisely canceled the greens aerification because of the heat and drought. If weather and equipment co-operate, the aerifying and top dressing of the tees will be complete by the end of Thursday.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pro Shop

NEW - Titleist, Cobra and Vokey Fitting/ Demo Day - Friday, June 11th from 12 to 5:00.

Why do I need to be Club Fit??

The simplest answer is "why change your swing to match your clubs when for the same money you can have clubs that match your swing?

Some of the variables to be determined:

Shaft - flex, length, material (steel vs graphite)

Head Design - offset vs in line, forged vs cast, cavity back vs blade

Lie Angle - the club head needs to be flush to the ground at impact - we can determine if your club needs to be upright, standard or flat

Loft - especially important for your driver - most players don't use enough loft in their driver.

Grips - size, material (wrap, rubber, cord)

Set make up - with the popularity of hybrids, iron sets now start at either the 4 of 5 iron.

All of these variables can be determined in approximately 30 minutes.

You get the clubs you want, that are made just for you! The lead time for these custom orders is usually 5 to 7 business days.

You don't have to wait for demo day to get fit - the Professional staff all are proficient in club fitting.

AND - just a plug for the Pro Shop - our price on clubs beats GT on all custom fit clubs!!


Range Tee

Year after year we struggle with the lack of turf on our range tee. As most members are aware, the size of the range is smaller then our members require. We have had discussions about increasing the size of the tee area for the range but as you can imagine, the cost is not something we can incorporate in our yearly capital improvements budget. As the strategic plan clearly laid out, practice facilities is a top priority. I'm aware that the Long Range Planning committee has this issue on their agenda. So WHAT DO WE DO IN THE MEANTIME? Well, we have increased our fertilizer rates for the area, we've increased the height of cut and we have installed a few flags to the East of the range in hopes that members will use this area for their higher lofted clubs.

New Flags to the East of the range tee deck. Ideal for practicing those short shots!