Golf Course Management

APR 2019

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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70 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 04.19 of it, prepared by Martin Ebert of Mackenzie and Ebert (see "Dreaming of a renovation," at left). Come spring, there will be little time to do many in-depth preparations, other than the normal spring cleanup. "e first week of June is usually when the course begins to wake up, so there will be little time to recover from any extra activities or winter damage," he explains. Preparing to put the course to bed last fall, knowing the reduced timeline to have the course ready for the Canadian Open, Trainor and his turf and maintenance team also took extra precautions with expanded treatment on roughs for winter disease. "Normally we just treat greens, tees and fairways," he says. "is winter we also added to our greens cover in - ventory to ensure all sensitive turf on greens is covered." Wide-open spaces Since the last time Hamilton G&CC hosted the Canadian Open in 2012, there have been few changes to the course, besides a mas - sive tree removal program. e recommenda- tion Trainor had been giving the club for 20 years finally came to fruition in the spring of 2014 after a winter of discontent that saw the greens at many private courses near Hamilton die. e course removed nearly 1,000 mature trees, including silver maple, willows and ash. "e tree removal has totally changed and improved our turf conditions," Trainor says. Dreaming of a renovation Rhod Trainor, CGCS, hopes that by the time his fellow industry colleagues are reading this story, Hamilton Golf and Country Club's membership will have voted on and approved the comprehensive master plan prepared by Martin Ebert of Mackenzie and Ebert. Beyond hosting the PGA Tour's RBC Canadian Open, the prospect of this renovation is what most excites Trainor. He said the plan would be presented to the membership in April or May, and if it were to be approved, work could begin as early as September of this year. "At this point, it boils down to two options: a complete course renovation, including a new irriga - tion system, new greens, and renovated bunkers; or doing just the greens," Trainor says. "The irri- gation system is 30 years old, and the greens are just soil-based, so they have very little drainage. "Our greens have always been the worst part of our course. They are too steep, and there is really nothing about them anymore that is 'Harry Colt.' If I only had one choice, I would do the greens." The severity of the slope on the greens makes it difficult to find suitable pin positions that are not overly penal, especially when the PGA Tour arrives and requires five possible pin locations per green. Since the greens are Poa annua, they are also more susceptible to disease, especially dur - ing the unpredictable southern Ontario winters. Trainor says the course spends between $20,000 and $25,000 annually in greens cover management as a preventive maintenance strategy. With brand-new bentgrass greens, covers would not be necessary. "It will be interesting to see what the membership does," Trainor says. "All the old crowd, don't want to do anything … they want to just take the golf course as it is to the grave with them, whereas the young guys want new greens now." Ebert has prepared a hole-by-hole master plan that includes the history of everything that has been done at the club over the last 100 years. "He has given us a complete storyboard of where we are currently and a compelling argument to redo the greens," Trainor says. The fact the club is set to host the RBC Canadian Open again in 2023 is a definite selling point for the membership to approve Ebert's master plan. While Trainor says goodbye at the end of the 2019 season to his home away from home for the past three decades, he plans to stay active in the turf and maintenance industry. And he hopes, if the renovation gets approved, he can offer his services to the club in some capacity. "I'm not retiring from the business," the 64-year-old says. "I'm just retiring from the club. I just won't grow grass here anymore." — D.M. In anticipation of hosting the 2019 Canadian Open, the crew at Hamilton last fall completed edging on all bunkers — a practice that is normally done in spring — to provide more visual appeal when the big event rolls around in June. Eventual champion Scott Piercy heads toward the 18th green during the 2012 RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton G&CC.

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