Friday, December 10, 2010

New Ball Mark Repair Tools

In 2011, we are excited to provide members with complimentary ball mark repair tools!

We are very appreciative that PCC members take such pride in caring for the courses. This small gesture will be another step in the right direction towards maintaining smooth putting surfaces. Please view the web address below for a one minute video which explains the preferred method for repairing ball marks.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Off-Season Work Begins

Note that the Wissahickon Schist parking lot islands will match the stone which already exists on the bottom of our historic clubhouse. This stone is native to our area and is mined just a few blocks away from our St. Martins campus. It will tie in beautifully with many of the buildings which exist throughout our surrounding Chestnut Hill area.

Previously, these high visisbility parking lot islands were constructed of simple wood boards.

Installing irrigation around the Militia Hilll clubhouse is an example of a simple low cost, high member value repair we made as soon as Militia Hill closed for the year. In the future healthy turf and landscape plantings will greet you as you enter this clubhouse area. Another long-term benefit is we have the capability to expand irrigation at a later date into the parking lot islands.

Friday, October 29, 2010

St. Martins Tree Maintenance

The large oak tree that greets you at St. Martins has been recently structure pruned. The removal of the deadwood which was on the tree improves tree health and member safety. Efforts were also made to remove some of the weight off of many branches. Not a tremendous amount of this work could take place, as the tree is in a state of gradual decline, and branches which have many leaves on them were left to try to encourage as much photosynthesis and plant growth as possible next year. As we move forward in properly caring for this specimen tree it will be deep-root fertilized every two years, and dead wood pruning will take place every four to five years. With proper care, we expect to have many more years to enjoy this tree.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Before and After Photos

The desired look to our newly seeded native areas will take a long time to properly mature. Even so, The before and after photos of the railroad trestle on our Tillinghast golf course show a much improved area. Can you imagine how beautiful the finished look will be next season with the golden fescue highlighting this classic feature of the course?

Friday, May 7, 2010

2010 Staff Photo

The Grounds Department staff from both our St. Martins facility and our Flourtown facility gathered for lunch on Friday afternoon. The lunch served to thank them for all their efforts over the coarse of the off-season. The above photo shows our great staff, a couple of carts from our recent John Deere equipment package, and the new bunkers on Militia Hill.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gary Stockman Named Superintendent at DuPont Country Club

PCC employee Gary Stockman has recently been named Superintendent at the Nemours Course at DuPont Country Club in Deleware. Gary has been employed with PCC for four years. This past year Gary served as Militia Hill superintendent. He will start towards the end of May. Gary graduated in 2006 with a BS in Turfgrass Science from Rutgers. He had previously worked at Baltusrol CC from 2003-2005, including the 2005PGA Championship.

This was a highly sought after position with over 100 applications submitted. We congratulate Gary and his family, wish him all the best, and thank him for his hard work serving PCC.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Militia Hill Bunkers Complete!

Our Militia Hill bunker project is complete! We have been pleasantly surprised that the bunker sand is already firming up, and they are playing great.

As our staff's time will no longer be spent repairing bunker washouts, members will now begin to see improvements to all other areas of the course as well. Enjoy!

The new bunkers on #7!

The new bunkers on #6!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Militia Hill Bunker Project

We are heading down the home stretch of our Militia Hill bunker project. Our staff's dedication and efficiencies throughout this process has made performing a wall to wall bunker project look easy.

Many courses have to stage this work over an entire off-season; some will even divide it amongst two off seasons. Our first shovel went into the sand Monday, March 8th, and the entire bunker project will be completed in only 7 weeks!

A big thanks needs to go out to our membership for deciding to tackle this work. It will surely provide you with much better golfing experiences through improved aesthetics and bunker playability. In addition, you will see other areas of the course quickly improve as we will not be spending as much time making frequent repairs following rainfall events or during the season. It will be refreshing to be able to direct works efforts towards tasks which had begun to lag behind due to the previous high demands of our bunkers.

#1 at Militia Hill with the new sand in place. Although beautiful, the sand will take a few months to settle and firm up.

Dumping sand in our new bunkers.

The bunkers on #6 are ready for sand.

The excavation process in full force.

The old bunker sand which you see in the background will be shaped and hydro-seeded. This new look and function will do a better job of hiding our dump area from the #3 Militia Hill tee box.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Staff Trip to Congressional CC

On February 4th, PCC staff visited Congressional CC to participate in a mutual field day with their staff and the staff of Caves Valley Golf Club. Our employees were educated on all aspects of Congressional’s 2009 greens reconstruction in preparation for the 2011 US Open. Other topics of discussion included: operations logistics, daily scheduling, budget management, and servicing our members. They were gracious hosts and the visit concluded with a guided tour of their entire clubhouse. Our staff came away with many ideas and future contacts which will help PCC. It was a great day at another wonderful, historic club.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wissahickon Tree Work

In December the grounds committee unanimously voted to proceed with continued recommendations from the USGA and golf architect, Keith Foster regarding further WH tree work.  It was stated that the agronomic and architectural benefits of the work will benefit the course independent of any potential future work.  We are performing the work with our own off-season labor. As many of the logs and wood chips that are being removed have value we are getting these picked up and removed with industrial equipment for free. Our costs have been extremely low as we only have two contractor bills totaling under $5K.

As with any plant material, the agronomic benefits of getting more sunlight to our greens have been well documented throughout last year. With leaves on these trees this green received little to no vital morning sunlight.

As the sun sits low on the horizon during winter months, shade problems exist even from trees which are not necessarily close to green sites.

Imagine leaves on all of these trees. Virtually no sunlight reaches the grass in these areas.

Turf cannot compete with tree roots and shade. This results in sparsely thin ground conditions. This area will be drastically improved this season.

Preserving Specimen Trees: A major benefit to the tree work is that we can begin to better utilize our resources and tree budget to properly care for the specimen trees that are chosen to remain. The true shape and beauty of specimen trees is revealed by removing non-native trees and trees which were planted too close together. When properly cared for these trees will be highlighted specimen’s members can take pride in.

A great example of a tree which is now able to show itself off and be properly maintained.

Labor Tracking: Our grounds department tracks where every hour of every day is spent. The cost associated with tree maintenance with overcrowded and imprudently placed trees is high.

Seasonal Costs: We have a seasonal line in our labor tracking which tracks leaf removal, snow plowing, etc. The man hours logged last fall for leaf removal (Oct & Nov.) are as follows: Aug-13 hrs, Sept-22hrs, Oct-456.25hrs, Nov-581.5hrs. The hours of leaf removal dominate the fall maintenance and preclude staff from performing other important tasks for which there is much greater member benefit. For example, the two months of leaf removal exceed the annual totals for rolling greens or filling divots. During Oct & Nov we spend twice as much time on leafs as we do raking bunkers.

Rotary and Weedeat: During the summer trimming around every single tree throughout the golf course is necessary. Hand trimming / rotary accounted for 1600 man hours from the time we began labor tracking in June through December. Although we will never eliminate these hours reducing them from excessive levels to manageable levels becomes important. Being able to re-allocate these hours to important tasks which have been reduced will provide PCC members greater course quality.

Course Rating
The three sets of WH course rating certificates.
1) Current 73.9 71.6 69.8
2) Trees as one 73.8 71.5 69.7
3) Trees at zero 73.6 71.4 69.5
(*The above numbers were calculated off of a table adjustment from the Course Rating Manual. Golf assocation field work may vary slightly.)

In general if trees exist on a golf hole, they get rated an obstacle value 1. Trees are measured from the center of the fairway using the following chart. You don’t see many holes with more than a two value and almost never greater than a three. Overall yardage influences the course rating by approximately 92%. Without doing a change in yardage, the Wissahickon rating will be almost exactly the same, or rating # 2 above.

Summary: Improving conditions while lowering costs. The goals of improving turfgrass health and the condition of the desired specimen trees all while reducing costs and allocating resources to tasks which provide members greater value will greatly benefit the club and its members.

We appreciate your patience as it will take some time for the desired results to become evident. Once the grass greens up and leafs are on the trees the Wissahickon will be as beautiful as it is every spring.

The success of our winter work is due to the efforts of our staff working in the field.  This winter they have placed improving the course far ahead of their own comfort level for the benefit of our members.  This was best exhibited when they continued working outside, and were able to stay ahead of schedule during the 2nd largest December snowfall event in Philadelphia's history.

One aspect that makes our staff unique is we take advantage of the weather 7 days a week, even during the winter. By rotating schedules and watching weather closely we are optimally efficient at all times. The sacrifices of working weekends, and constantly fluctuating personal schedules around weather conditions which are most beneficial to the club is dedication that is rarely found in any industry.
We are scheduled to be finished with the tree work in the next few weeks, one full month ahead of schedule. We are aware that tree work brings instant visual change and is a delicate subject for many. We look forward to getting this important work behind us this year and transitioning into projects which everyone appreciates. Have a great 2010!!!