Golf courses are in a perpetual state of decline. It is no different from any other manmade object. A house, a car, or a road will eventually need some type of maintenance activity to keep it performing and looking good. Additionally, due to the fact that golf courses are a living and breathing (respiring actually) thing they can also be compared to human health. When neglected, the body and mind will decline at a faster rate than one that has had preventive health care and proper nutrition. Providing the golf course with proper nutrition, preventive treatments to ward off pests, removal of excess thatch, repair of failed infrastructure, and proper tree management ensures its long term health.
While the term "a work in progress" often refers to a situation that needs work to become good, in the golf course world, it refers to the concept that the act of continual work is paramount to the future health and playability of the course. The simplest example of such work is aeration. The Mountain and Village course greens are two to three weeks out from a hollow core aeration. While the greens are a bit bumpy in the immediate days following aeration it is the long term health and performance of the greens that need focus. The removal of thatch and organic matter through hollow core aeration prevents soft greens that footprint easily and become bumpy, stay wet for extended periods, are more prone to disease, and become more susceptible to winter injury.
The more complex work is the revitalization and repair of golf course features. Such work includes drainage repair and installation, repairing damaged cart paths, tee top leveling, re-contouring of bunker edges, and tree work. Some of this work occurred this Spring while other work will occur this Fall.
Stowe Mountain Club
- Continued aeration. Fairway aeration is ongoing. We are currently half way through this process. With
Fairway aeration and clean upgood weather this process will be complete by next week. Tees and approaches will follow and only take a couple days to complete.
- Drainage on the right side of eleven fairway. This hillside is crucial to the playability of this hole. Tee shots that hit the hill stand a good chance of rolling back to the fairway. Due to some groundwater springs, this hillside is often soft and impedes the ball from rolling to the fairway.
- Extend drainage in fourteen fairway. Last Fall, a main drain line was installed near the landing area. The main purpose of this line is to alleviate chronic winterkill caused by excessive wet turf during snow melt. The installation of this drain line was successful in limiting the amount of winterkill this Spring. This line will be extended and laterals will be installed to further eliminate the potential for winterkill.
- Fairway drainage on fifteen fairway. As with fourteen, this fairway succumbs to winterkill due to wet conditions during snow melt. Drainage will be installed to assist with winter survival.
- An ongoing project is the repair of a ground water spring above the first landing area on the eighth fairway. Due to the proximity to the dam, this project has been a slow and deliberate process. The design to alleviate this chronic wet spot has been highly engineered and managed. A subcontractor is currently being secured to finish the project.
- New forward tees have been built on the third hole and eighth hole. The third hole tee is now open. The eighth tee was constructed from the spoils of the previously discussed wet spot on eight. This tee has been seeded and will open Spring of 2015.
- Fescue has been planted along the stone collar on the ninth hole.
Collar extension on #9
- The collar on the right side of the ninth hole has been extended. This collar extension was done to aid in the approach shot bouncing to the left and landing on the green. Collar extensions similar to this work have been installed on the sixth, eighth, eleventh, and thirteenth. These creeping bentgrass collar extensions are done to assist with better playability around the greens.
Stowe Country Club
- Tee aeration is complete. Fairways and approaches will be aerated after Stowe Mountain Club is complete. All of the aeration equipment is shared between both courses. Aeration at Stowe Country Club is very important because of the heavy clay soils that exist under all the features. Alleviating soil compaction and increasing surface drainage is part of the ongoing work that promotes healthy turf and good playability in all weather conditions.
- A new culvert pipe was installed at the practice facility field. This pipe transfers water from a stream that enters the field on the west side. The existing pipe was an old metal pipe that had completely rusted and caved in. Prior to the installation of the new pipe being, water would flow onto the field and pool up for extended periods of time.
- A new culvert pipe was installed on the thirteenth hole. This pipe had completely failed like the one on
Silted bunker on #13
- New forward tees have been constructed on the sixth and ninth holes. The ninth tee opened recently and the sixth tee may open in a few weeks if the weather provides good growing conditions.
- The final step in drying up the seventh hole was completed this Spring. The wetland to the left of the landing area was leaching water through the soil creating chronic wetness in the fairway. An interceptor drain was installed to divert this water away from the fairway.
Repaired #13 bunker with drainage
- The new upper practice tee was opened during Kirkwood week. We doubled the size of the tee surface, moved the ball machine away from the road, eliminated a small practice green and bunker that had gone into disrepair, and provides a new staging area for carts during tournaments and outings.
- This Fall, we plan on repairing multiple bunkers and fairways. These projects will commence immediately. The order of completion is as listed below.
- Multiple laterals will be installed on the eighteenth fairway. This work was started last Fall by installing a drainage mainline. We will connect multiple laterals to this mainline in the coming weeks.
- The fairway bunker on the right of eighteen will be re-contoured and drainage will be installed. This bunker has grown in over the years and pools up after rain events.
- A mulch bed will be installed underneath the spruce grove on the left of eighteenth hole. This work will be done to provide definition to the landing area and to protect the future health of these trees.
- The greenside bunker on the first hole will be repaired. Currently, water leaches out of the bunker and settles near the approach. This area has turned into a chronic wet area that is very difficult to play out of. Additionally, the general appearance of this area is very poor and should be corrected because it sets the tone for the entire golf course. Internal drainage in the bunker will be installed to transfer the water away from the playing area and new sand will be added.
- The second half of the ninth fairway will be drained and the greenside bunker will be repaired. This fairway does not drain after rain events. A main line will be installed with multiple laterals. The bunker will be re-contoured to divert surface drainage away from entering the bunker, internal drainage will be installed, and new sand will be added.
All of this work is being done with an eye on the future. The short term disruption to play is done for the long term goal of the continued enjoyment of both golf courses by the members and players. This continued enjoyment is based soundly on the hard work of the maintenance team and the commitment of Stowe Mountain Resort to provide great conditions. We thank you for your patience and understanding while all of this work is in progress.