This will be the start of my fifth year as the superintendent of Ridgewood Golf Course. As I began to write this, I started to reflect on the past years and I realized how great my staff is and how hard they work for Ridgewood. In this letter I will inform you of all the projects that have been completed, started, or planned as of today! When you are finished reading this, you should understand why I am so impressed with the crew!
Since I began working here at Ridgewood (March of 2013), I have been committed to reconstructing the sand traps on the course. The bunkers stood out to me to be the number one problem to address. None of the sand traps had drains that properly removed water after a rain storm. Because of this the sand would wash out and become contaminated with silt and stone. Since 2013, the Ridgewood maintenance staff has completed the following list of bunkers;
- #1. Removed right side trap. Reshaped, added drain tile, and filled with clean bunker sand to the left and front right trap.
- #2. Filled bunkers and added mounding to create grass bunkers to the green surround.
- #4. Added drainage tile and new sand to both sand traps.
- #5. Removed trap and added mounding to create grass bunkers.
- #6. Reshaped, added drainage, installed clean sand to both traps.
- #7. Filled bunkers and added mounding to create grass bunkers to left side of green.
- #9. Filled left side bunker due to flooding caused by creek.
- #12. Filled bunkers so the hole is more playable. Allows for a bump and run shot under tree.
- #14. Reshaped, installed drainage, and filled with clean sand.
- #17. Filled bunker and mounded to create a grass bunker.
- #18. Installed drainage and filled with new sand.
This year we will be reconstructing the bunkers by the 13th green. Over the winter we removed the contaminated sand and old drain tile in these bunkers. This area will become one big grass bunker with large mounding on the left side. The mounds will protect the golfers teeing off on the 14th hole. Proper drainage will be installed all around the green and the bunker to help dry out this low area on the course. This will be a big project that should take a couple months to complete, weather pending.
Construction to select tee boxes has also been completed over the past 4 years! Here is a list of what has been done.
- #2. Removed original pro tee, and constructed a new tee in the same area but made it longer and higher. This gave the golfer more visual to the fairway, and added a few yards to the hole.
- #12. Added drainage to the right side of the tee boxes. Removed the original pro tee and added 400 yards of soil to increase the length of the hole another 50 yards in length. Created a stone cart path to gain access to the whole tee.
- #14. Cleared vegetation around men’s tee box to help dry up swamp area surrounding it. Added 250 yards of soil to widen and lengthen tee box. Leveled new tee to the same grade of the seniors tee. This allowed the new tee box to become one large tee. Removed vegetation around original pro tee to increase sunlight and air movement. Added 50 yards of soil to widen the tee and make level.
Since the opening of this course in 1925, it has been maturing and growing. Some of the biggest plants on the course are the trees. Many of them were probably here since the start of the golf course, and at that time their size did not impede playability. To help correct this issue, a small percentage of trees on the property were removed. This will increase the health of the golf course greens, tees, and fairways by adding sunlight, air movement, and more available water to the turfgrass. Eighty percent of the trees that were removed were diseased and decaying which causes a potential safety hazard to the golfers. Over the past four years during the winter months we have been removing these trees so we do not interrupt play.
The current irrigation system on this course was installed in 1994. The average life span of a golf course irrigation system is around twenty years. That being said, a lot of time and maintenance is needed to keep an old system running! Since 2014 we have dug up and replaced over 80 sprinkler heads on the course. This task usually takes one man three hours to complete the replacement of just one sprinkler head. Not to mention all the Icy Hot needed at the end of the day to heal your aching muscles from shoveling! With all the repairs to the system, we have been reducing the expenditures towards the water bill! On the other end of Hydrology, when it rains we need to remove the water off the golf course as fast as we can so there is less down time of play. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of corrugated drain tile. I have found a lot of clay tile on the course that must have been installed many years ago, but not much of it drains very well. Drainage projects that were completed over the past few years were;
- #4 Drain lines installed between fairway and ladies tees. A collection box installed in front of ladies tee.
- #14 Drain lines installed by the approach area from the left side to the right side
- #15 Drain lines installed to the right side of the fairway close to the green. Water that was collecting in the old cement pond underground was redirected to the creek.
All the water shed on the course ends up at the creek that runs through the course. Over the past years we have dug up and cleaned out the silt in the creek from hole 15 to 8 tee. This year we will be cleaning out the 8 tee area of the creek. A new culvert pipe will be installed in under the cart path to cross over the creek by the 8th tee. The current culvert pipe is not wide enough and is a safety hazard for the golf carts passing over. On the 12th hole last year we added piping and backfilled the open ditch on the right side of the fairway. Grassing this area will create a much larger landing area for the golfers who tend to have a slice or hook in there golf shot.
As you can see, we have completed a lot of projects these past few years with only our crew! We are planning on making more improvements each year, to keep Ridgewood Golf Course the City Gem that it is!!! So if you see a member of the maintenance crew while you are out playing give them a smile and a wave or say thanks for all their hard work and dedication!