Thursday, April 14, 2016

2016 Spring Aerifications

Submitted by:  Craig Loving

            Yes, the season is once again upon us where all three courses in Sun City begin aerifying the greens.  Every year we address the “why” behind the reasoning for aerifications.  There are many articles published online by credible organizations such as the USGA and GCSAA that explain the need for aerifications, as well as our blog entries from previous years that detail why we do it.  To put it simply, both plants and animals need air and water to survive.  Aerifying alleviates compaction from foot traffic and mechanical stress (mowers), and allows a channel for both air and water to reach the root zone.  But the focus of this blog entry isn’t on the “why”, but more on combating the negative perception of post-aerification playability.

            The general consensus for 95% or more of golfers is that the greens don’t roll true after each aerification, and that they take too long to heal.  The putts are bumpy and bounce off the intended line, leaving a lot of missed putts.  If you ignore the physical appearance of the putting surface immediately after an aerification, you might actually realize that there are techniques that we implement to ensure a relatively smooth ball roll.  Are they as pure as they were the day prior?  Probably not, but they will be healthier in the long run, and the difference in playability isn’t as bad as perceived.  Below is a diagram of the appearance of our most recent aerification from a bird’s eye view, as well as videos of a ball roll from a stimpmeter on the days following our aerification.

   (for high definition video: )
            The video was taken from the same spot on the same green (#18 Cowan Creek), as were the aerial photos.  All of the ball rolls following the aerification have minimal bounces, and none of which bounced off its intended line.  In most cases, the subsequent ball that was rolled hit the previous ball, which indicates how true the green’s surface actually is.

            We can achieve this consistency with the proper quantity and incorporation of topdressing sand during the aerification process, as well as rolling the greens multiple times on the days following.  The overall techniques vary from facility to facility, but the results can be the same if performed correctly.  As the sand settles over the next week, an additional application of topdressing sand is needed to re-fill the holes.  So if you can ignore the appearance of the greens for a little while (7-14 days depending on the weather), you will realize that the playability isn’t an issue.  Hopefully you won’t be so afraid to sign up for a tee time at one of the courses following our aerification days, but if you still want to blame missed putts on aerification holes, you have our permission to do so.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March 2016 Golf Staff Report

Financial Summary


Another great month! Great weather, greens conditions and expense savings put us ahead of budget for the second straight month.


Golf finished February ahead of budget by $102,681    

Total Revenue: $338,283

Total Budgeted Revenue: $273,802

Total Expenses: $299,680

Total Budgeted Expenses: $337,880


YTD we are $193,336 ahead of budget. 


A few notes:

March is trending well for us to meet budget. 

We have sold an additional four Annual Passes after making that option available due to the golf course enhancement project being postponed. That offer expires at month end. 


Pace of Play


Player Service employees have been told to make additional loops on the golf course to marshal play when the duties of range picking, cart cleaning and hauling ice and water are not being performed. We will be conducting a staff meeting April 5th with all operations staff to reinforce training on subjects such as, marshalling, pace of play and employee expectations.   


Golf Pro Report


2016 Golfnow

Since January 2011, January 2016 was by far the best January with revenue exceeding $16,000.  With continued good weather, this trend continued through February and into March.


Using January 1 through March 23 as a date range, here are some numbers to compare


20131,124 rounds for $38,039 (very good weather)

2015520 rounds for $17,660 (very poor weather)

20161,217 rounds for $43,714 (very good weather)


Month to Date for March, the average Golfnow rate across all three courses is ~$37 and overall for the date range given, the average is ~$36.


Non-Resident Tournaments

Through February, Actual Tournament revenue has been ahead of budget.  March does not appear to be at the level we expected but with the UIL State Tournament coming, we are looking forward to a bigger April.



Unfortunately, for the 3rd straight time, we were forced to cancel the Night Golf Event due to weather.  We try to do this event once in the spring and once in the fall so hopefully the weather will cooperate later in the year.


Our first of three Golf Course Open Houses occurred on Monday, March 14 at Legacy Hills and was another success as we had nearly 250 residents take the tour.


Demo Day was cancelled due to high winds. 


Non-Resident Golf and Range Pass

These passes are officially on sale and we have slowly begun to sell some of each.  As word spreads and the weather continues to warm up, we expect these numbers to grow.


Merchandise Sales

Based on the timing of the budget, and the decision not to offer the gift card incentive for purchasing a pass/punch card in December, it appears the merchandise budget number is very aggressive for 2016.  That said, we are actually tracking fairly close to budget.



Superintendent Report


White Wing


Spring has sprung around White Wing. We have made the spring application of pre-emergent herbicide. With the warmer weather some broadleaf weeds have already emerged and we will get these sprayed and mowed down as soon as possible. The first cutting of the fairways has been made and we are working on getting the rough mowed and cleaned up. Rains caused some debris on the course and the bridge crossing 18 fairway. Charles and Crew were kind enough to help us out this last time and we appreciate it very much. Greens seem to be doing well and we are still monitoring moisture, growth and disease pressure. We sent off a sample and had a tinge of Bermuda grass decline present which we have treated for and will continue to monitor. The poa annua pressure seems to be subsiding on the greens but we still have the presence on the collars and approaches. We will treat with herbicide as possible and the warmer weather will start to take it out naturally. Bunkers are still an issue and we are monitoring sand depth, moving around were possible and will continue to add as necessary.




Legacy Hills  


Last week on our closed Monday we were able to get the pre emergent granular herbicide down course wide and watered in. We are in the process of spraying and weed eating down the weeds that are already established. We sprayed the greens with Kerb on February 19 and the poa annua has been checking out the last two weeks. We have a few areas on the greens that are thin and we are hand spiking and topdressing with sand weekly to help those areas fill in and smooth them out. Our main focuses this coming week are detail work and removing the black liners from the bunkers on #11 fwy and #17 fwy.


Cowan Creek  


This month we added over 750 feet of herringbone French drainage in the landing area on #9 fairway.  These trenches and the trenches on #6 were sodded with Tif 419 bermudagrassoverseeded with perennial ryegrass on 3/15/16.  We have been hand watering the new sod daily, and we should be able to open up the ropes on #9 for the MGA Member Member.  The areas will still be marked ground under repair for the time being.  Our other focuses have been on pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control.  All areas on the course have now been sprayed for both, and we have been mowing and weedeating the dead weeds throughout the golf course.  Our second application of pre-emergent granular herbicide on the greens for goosegrassand crabgrass took place on 3/2/16.  






Thursday, March 24, 2016

Update on Legacy Hills Poa Annua

We sprayed a new chemical that is labeled for use on greens now February 19. It took 2-3 weeks to start working and I can say it's starting to die out now. Both photos are from the back right of #4 green. This is one of the thicker areas of the Poa Annua. 


Cowan Creek Fairway Drainage Update (3/24/16)

This month we have installed drainage pipe in the fairways of both #6 and #9.  We used over 600 feet of pipe in the fairway inside 100 yards on hole #6, and close to 800 feet of pipe in the fairway near the landing area on hole #9.  Both areas were sodded with Bermuda grass overseeded with perennial ryegrass on 3/15/16.  We are hand watering these areas daily, and when the roots tack down we will aerify the area and roll them to level them out.  We also have added leftover sod in other weak fairway areas on the course (i.e. #6 landing area).  For the time being, the areas remain roped off and/or marked ground under repair.  We hope to open them up within a week, but the sodded trenches will remain ground under repair for a few weeks.  The overall goal for the drainage additions are for these troubled areas to dry faster after rain events so that we can open them up for cart traffic sooner.  Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

White Wing and Legacy Hills Rain

We have had to reroute cart traffic on #18 at WW and #8 at LH due to the amount of water coming down Berry Creek. We hope it subsides by tomorrow so that we can have everyone back on the regularly used paths. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Happy Birthday Sheila!

If you have a chance to stop by the Legacy Hills Pro Shop this week please take the time to say Happy Birthday to our "Golf Mom" and the best merchandiser around! Happy Birthday Sheila, the golf guys love you!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Cowan Creek Drainage Update - #9 Fairway

This morning we began a large drainage project in the landing area on #9 fairway.  In order to expedite the project, all of the tee boxes have been temporarily moved forward to the right side of the fairway, 250 yards from the green.  The hole will be played as a par 4 until we can reopen the landing area, which should hopefully be within 1-2 weeks.  We also will begin all single tee play on hole #10 for the time being.  Doing these things will allow us to have more time in the morning and work consistently throughout the day without disturbing play.  There are signs and paint that direct cart traffic up to the temporary tee boxes.  Thank you for your patience during this time.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Golf Course Enhancement Update

Following this week’s Golf Course Enhancement Town Hall, members of the project team met with representatives from the City of Georgetown to discuss permitting requirements related to the project. Due to additional regulations put in place last year, the permitting process will now be significantly longer than originally projected. At best, this shift in the schedule may only allow for a small window of construction during the growing season in 2016.

The Golf Course Enhancement Task Force has discussed the new requirements and their impact to the timeline, budget, golfers and community. The group considered several options for moving forward on the project and has decided to delay the construction phase of the project until early 2017 in order to protect the quality of the courses and maximize the budgeted amount for the project. 

The next phases of the project including design development, master plan, permitting, construction documents and bidding will continue as planned in 2016. Both Legacy Hills and White Wing Golf Courses will continue normal operations throughout the year. Construction will commence in early 2017, providing optimal conditions for the grow-in phase and the best outcome possible for the project.

We will begin working on the new permitting requirements now and will incorporate your feedback from Tuesday's Town Hall into the next set of engineered schematics. This step is scheduled for completion in late March, after which a new project timeline will be communicated through your CA and Golf Communicators. 

For questions or to provide feedback, please email

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February 2016 Golf Staff Report

Renovation Project
The Golf Town Hall will be held tomorrow afternoon from 2:00pm – 4:00pm. Jason Straka will be here from Fry/Straka Golf Design Group to speak at the presentation and answer questions afterwards. He has assured us he will stay around as long as needed following the presentation to talk with the residents in regards to the project.


Great weather and expense reductions put us in a very good position for the month of January.

Golf finished January ahead of budget by $90,656.   
Total Revenue: $322,440
Total Budgeted Revenue: $287,767
Total Expenses: $254,366
Total Budgeted Expenses: $310,349

A few notes:

While combo and annual pass sales have trailed budget by $326K (as of 2/14/16), we are hopeful that punch cards will exceed budget by the end of the year.   The $326K short fall on passes is equivalent of the goodness from the reserve transfer.   On a monthly basis that means that the $27K loss in annual revenue from passes will be offset by the budget goodness of $27K from the reserve contribution transfer.   In January, punch card revenue exceeded budget by $51K!   February is tracking similarly.    Projections for the full year of 2016 were made in conjunction with the January financial close process.   While we did not attempt yet to estimate other revenue line items, we did adjust pass revenue to current 2016 sales and punch card revenue to 2015 revenue.  Additionally we eliminated the budgeted golf reserve contribution.    Additional projection adjustments will be made at the end of each month’s financial close process as we know more.

Pace of Play

Last month we discussed letting the waiting groups on Par 3’s hit up before the group playing that hole starts to putt out?  Any feedback?

Golf Pro Report

2016 Golfnow
Since January 2011, January 2016 was by far the best January with revenue exceeding $16,000.  With continued good weather, this trends seems to be continuing into February.

Non-Resident Tournaments
We’re starting off well this year with a current expected revenue just under $84,370.  This is far better than previous years including 2013 when times were fantastic.  We retained all of our major tournaments such as Dell MAW, GT Chamber of Comm. and CASA of Wilco.  We also retained the 2016 UIL State Championship and now have the State Preview at the end of this week. With good weather, we have also picked up some mini groups that have provided some nice revenue.  So we are off to a great start.

New Golfer Interest
Starting the year off well with new prospective golfers.  This Friday we will hot our annual New Golfer Day at the White Wing golf course.  As of Wednesday we have over 50 individuals signed up, which is up from the previous years.

The latest in-house event was the Super Bowl Scramble and, although numbers were slightly less than year’s past, we still managed 80 players who enjoyed a pretty good day.

Non-Resident Golf and Range Pass
We are developing a non-resident pass to target non-resident play in the afternoon window that we often see vacant, especially in the hot summer months. 

We are also developing a non-resident range pass in an effort to drive more range revenue.

Please see the attached information on these passes.

Non-Resident Afternoon Pass includes:  Greens fees, range balls on the day of play only, and cart.
15 18-Hole Rounds after 1pm            $450
I understand and agree to the following rules while purchasing this pass:
1.         Passes are valid in the year of purchase and expire December 31 of that year.
2.         The price of each round includes cart.
3.         Passes may be used for the purchaser and guests.
4.         Pass balances are available at the golf shops upon requests.
5.         Unused rounds of passes will be forfeited.  There will be no refunds or exchanges.
6.         Resident pricing on range balls on non-play days.
7.         Resident pricing on merchandise.

Goal:   To fill afternoon times that may otherwise go unused, especially during the hot summer months and weekends.
•           Provides an opportunity to receive prepaid revenue from non-residents.
•           No priority would be provided.  Tee Times have to be scheduled by calling the golf shop no sooner than 3 days ahead of the day of play (i.e. After Chelsea Processing of Resident Requests).
•           Per round rate is less than the 18 hole resident PAYGO rate between 1pm and twilight.  However, it is more than the Resident 15 Round Afternoon Pass.

Non-Resident Range Pass

$150 per Pass
20 Large buckets of balls

Pass is valid for the year in which it is purchased and expires December 31.

Superintendent Report

White Wing

Maintaining adequate greens moisture has been a big focus. Warm temperatures have kept greens from going completely dormant and helped ability to visual see any problems on the greens. We have been monitoring the Poa annua problem on the greens and are still trying to find the product that will help eradicate the plant. With the warmer weather we were able to aerify and top dress greens twice this month which will help with air and moisture movement. A small drainage project to the left of #15 green has helped with the soggy approach but more drainage on that side may be necessary. A couple of trees were removed from the back left and back side of the 7th green. Already the added daylight on the back of the green is making a positive difference. We have went out with fertilizer, added seed and sand to the over seeded tees to perk them up a bit as they have been getting a beating. Bulk spring pre-emergent has been ordered and delivery is scheduled for the end of the month with application to the course being made early March.

Legacy Hills 

One of the big things for this month has been the drainage for #3 Green to the right in the native. Upon further examination we have found roots clogging up the drainage. We should be able to wrap this area up next week. Our other main focus has been checking bunker depths and adding sand where needed. We are aware of the Poa annua problem and are continuing to search for ways to eradicate the problem as well.

Cowan Creek 

This month was dedicated to improving the overall drainage on hole #6.  We cleared out a large area in the native along the left side of the hole that would collect debris during rain events.  We trenched the area from where the two fairway drains daylight into the native to ease the flow of the fairway drainage.  We also added over 500’ of herringbone French drains inside the 100 yardage marker leading to two large drainage basins along the left side.  The trenches are currently topped with sand and ryegrass seed, and the area has been marked ground under repair.  Hopefully both of these efforts will expedite the dry time after rain events or heavy irrigation cycles.  Our other focuses this month have been overseed (tees, fairways, collars and approaches) fertility and greens’ moisture management.  We have applied our first round of pre-emergent granular herbicide on the greens for goosegrass and crabgrass (2/17/16).