I hope that everyone had a great Christmas, New Years and College Bowl Season with family and friends. After the cold, windy and dry weather that we had in November I was a little bit concerned about what the rest of the Winter may bring us, but December rebounded and turned out to give us normal precipitation and slightly above normal temperatures. We covered the greens twice in November and did not have to cover them at all in December. We had a few frost delays but I feel like we faired well and are in good shape heading into the rest of the Winter.
I am sure as you have played golf that you have noticed the changes that are taking place on the entire property. We are ¾ of the way through phase 1 of our tree removal project. Trees have been removed from 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 14 and the clubhouse entrance. We plan to finish this phase by January 16th. The trees remaining for this phase are the 5 trees left of 17 green and the 3 trees behind 16 tee. If time allows we will remove 1 tree each from 9 and 18, if not those will be removed during phase 2 which will start in October 2015. When phase 1 is complete we will be grinding all of the stumps on the course. During the last 2 weeks of January and possibly the first week of February we will be improving drainage around the course. The areas that we will address first are around the greens. Those greens include 1, 4, 6, 14, 17 and 18. After we complete the greens we will work on the right side of the 10th fairway. Our last big project for the winter that will be completed before course aerification starts will be changing the landscaping at the entrance and around the clubhouse.
As we head into spring the long awaited and much needed cart path project will start and be completed. We are meeting with The City of Knoxville Engineers during the second week of January to start figuring out a start date and all of the logistics that need to happen to complete the project. I will pass all of the information to everyone as soon as we know. Our aerification process will be different this year than in the years past. The spring aerification on the greens will not be as aggressive as the summer will be. Our first aerification will depend on the weather and when we break from dormancy and soil temperatures rise. The greens will more than likely be done in mid April. The tees, collars, approaches and fairways will take place before the greens are done. This whole process will be done with the minimum amount of disruption to the golf course.
When we break dormancy we will start to widen and reclaim fairway area that has been lost in the years past. As we do this we will be adding contour to the fairways and around the green surrounds. These changes will give the course a new improved aesthetic view from the tee area towards the green. All of the teeing areas will be straightened and squared off. This process will add and subtract some space on certain tees. After listening to some of your concerns we are going to build a new Ladies and Senior tee on 18 around the 350 yard marker. We also still plan to construct our nursery on the back tee on 18. Champion Turf will give us the sprigs to grow it in, the only cost to us will be the labor, mix and chemicals.
With all of the tree work that we are doing we are have a lot of wood by the shop and right of 13. Please take what you need. If you need help just let me or one of our staff know and we will help you out. In the spring we will be mulching anything that’s left over, so feel free to take what you need.
All of the projects that we are taking on has been conducted in house with our staff which has kept the cost down. This will allow us to spend in other areas as we go forward with the plan that I have for the course in the future.
We also have a green staff Facebook page. It is Whittle Springs Greens. We update the page with projects and the everyday life on the course. The Pro Shop also has established a Facebook and Twitter page.
I hope that you enjoy your time out on the course.
- Rusty Howell, General Manager