Golf Course Management

MAY 2014

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

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This is the before look at Poppy Hills, which showcased its new look last month. rigation system was installed at Poppy Hills, where the total of irrigated turf has been reduced by nearly 25 percent. The state of California, facing historic drought condi - tions for several months now, can look to Poppy Hills as a facility that is doing its part to battle the issue. The golf courses that are neighbors of Poppy Hills, such as famed Pebble Beach Golf Links, deserve just as much credit for aiding the cause. It took a team effort to make the April reopening pos - sible: When Poppy Hills delayed seeding all 18 holes from May to July of last year, the other golf courses in the area decided to voluntarily reduce their water consumption to help Poppy Hills. It gave the renovation a major boost. "For these golf courses to help out, some of which are among the most highly regarded in the world, is remark - able," Muhlenbruch says. "What they did is a great exam- ple of a community coming together to help a neighbor. Every gallon of water we use is used properly." Could Poppy Hills, owned by the Northern California Golf Association, be Pinehurst West? Kind of. Natural, sandy waste areas have been uncovered and introduced into Poppy Hills, where John Deere excavators, dozers and dump trucks were regulars at the construction site. Now there is no rough and one height of cut for tees and fairways (a ryegrass/fne fescue mix) and another for greens (a blend of 007 creeping bentgrass and Tyee bent - grass). The greens have been completely redesigned and doglegs have been softened to blend into modest eleva - tion changes. Poppy Hills, part of the AT&T Pebble Beach rotation from 1991 through 2009 (some of the pros sharply criti - cized the course for drainage problems, insuffcient greens and an overabundance of doglegs), was a par-72 in those days. Today it's a par-71 and plays 7,002 yards from the tips. The new looks include No. 12, previously a dogleg right par-5 that is now a straightaway par-4. The area along the right side of No. 5 was transformed into more natural sand area with tall native fescues. The par-3 11th was completely rebuilt, creating a short and precise test. Muhlenbruch, who turned 34 in April, came to Poppy Hills from The Olympic Club, where he learned from GCSAA Past President (2013) Patrick R. Finlen, CGCS. He says his time at The Olympic Club was excellent prepa - ration for what has played out at Poppy Hills, which will be back in the tournament business this year when the Champions Tour comes in late September in the form of the Nature Valley First Tee Open. "At The Olympic Club, the amount of activity and in- house projects were numerous," Muhlenbruch says. "We rebuilt both golf courses and hosted a U.S. Open. I was well prepared for a challenge of this scale." Sousa, a 27-year GCSAA member, plans to retire in 2015, leaving the reins to Muhlenbruch, who says work - ing with Finlen, and now Sousa, is priceless as he — and Poppy Hills — launch new eras. "Manny has always been a progressive superinten - dent who seeks the latest and greatest," Muhlenbruch says. "He's very open-minded. I can't think of a better way to come into a project than I did here." — Howard Richman, GCM associate editor A new post for GCSAA president GCSAA President Keith A. Ihms, CGCS, started his new job last month. Ihms, the 78th president in association history, began his new job as the golf course maintenance manager at Bella Vista (Ark.) Village. The new position comes on the heels of Ihms' departure in early March from the country club of Little Rock, Ark., where he had been director of grounds maintenance since 2005. "I am happy — quite a bit," Ihms says. "It will be a challenge." Bella Vista is a recreational community/retirement destination located in northwest Arkansas. It features six 18-hole courses and two nine-hole layouts. Ihms has su - perintendents working under him at each course. "I'm the go-between coordinator, get our guys what *Turfgrass Producers International ** Source: ScienTurfc Sod † Gardenguides.com ‡ Source: King Ranch Turfgrass stem height tall fescue plant is capable of producing † 48 total percentage of water in grass clippings * 90% X 5 0 5 0 Square feet of healthy turfgrass needed to produce enough oxygen to support a family of four ** 13,000 Acres of turfgrass being farmed in the U.S. ‡ Inches miles of roots per square foot of turfgrass * 329,000 22 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 05.14 020-029_May_Front9.indd 22 4/16/14 2:41 PM

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