Monday, April 20, 2020

Harrison Bay Eaglets HB15 and HB16 Hatch

If you have not heard by now, we have two new residents at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.  HB15, hatched on 4/15/20, and HB16, hatched on 4/18/20, have joined the family.  We are about a month behind schedule due to the tree and nest hoping that occurred earlier this year but we are happy they are here; happy and healthy.

We got our first look at HB15 early on Wednesday morning when Elliott, ready to see his kid, rolled HB15 out of his half open egg. Sometimes a parent just has to give their child a nudge. As you can see in the picture HB15 is ready to eat and grow up to be big and strong.

Here is a good look at the pip in HB16's egg.  The eaglet has a sharp egg tooth on the top of its beak which it will use to scratch the inside of the egg to create a small hole.  From there it is a continuous process of breaking out small pieces of the egg until the hatch occurs.

So we are happy to welcome our newest residents to the property.  Congratulations to Athena and Elliott on this years brood and we are hoping for many more years to come.

Of course sibling rivalries happen in every household and even day old eaglets have their disagreements.  This is a common occurrence in nests and rarely results in harm or damage to the eaglets.  It is a sign of dominance over the other eaglet to ensure one is fed first.  I am confident HB16 will not let HB15 get away with this much longer as he/she gains strength and confidence.

I would like to thank Sue Yungwirth and Pamela Crosby, two long time moderators for HBEC, for the great screen captures used in this blog.

We are very sorry that we can not provide you with a streaming service of the nest this year.  The best  location for updates and pictures/videos of the nest will be either on the Harrison Bay Eagle Cam Facebook page  or The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay Twitter page

We will do all we can to keep you up to date on the nest activities and the growth and health of HB15/16 as we can.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Become a Friend of the Golf Course Superintendent

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is an association of over 18,000 turfgrass professionals dedicated to providing the highest quality playing conditions possible while promoting and protecting the environment, and supporting the growth and vitality of the game of golf.  For years, golfers have expressed a keen interest in the possibility of becoming members of this great association to show their appreciation and support for the hard work GCSAA members put into their jobs. Until earlier this year there simply was not a membership classification that made this possible.  That all changed when a new membership classification was introduced.  The Friend of the Golf Course Superintendent classification will allow any interested person (who does not qualify for an existing membership classification) to become a member of GCSAA.  This classification is a perfect opportunity for golfers to join GCSAA and help protect the future of golf.

Supporting GCSAA and your local golf course superintendent should come with some reward, and it does.  New Friend members will receive the following based on the level of membership chosen.
$50/yr  (Basic)--E-Newsletter, GCSAA Bag Tag, GCSAA Ball Mark Repair Tool, and GCSAA Sticker
$100/yr -- Basic package plus GCSAA Logo Golf Towel
$200/yr -- Basic package plus GCSAA Logo Golf Towel and $25 GCSAA Gift Card

Group Membership (for up to 10 members)
$400/yr --  Basic package plus GCSAA Logo Towel for each member

Becoming a Friend of the Golf Course Superintendent is very easy and will help support the teams that make it possible to enjoy great golf courses.  To get more information on this great opportunity and sign up to become a Friend of the Golf Course Superintendent simply log onto the website at 

We will also have print applications and information available in the clubhouse. If you have a question about this great opportunity, our golf course superintendent Paul L. Carter, CGCS will be happy to assist you. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Looking Back on 2019

It has been a while since our last blogpost.  Close to a year to be exact which has been noticed by many and commented on by several.  My apologies for not updating the blog more regularly this year.  It has been a year of new adventures for me as I have stepped into my role as a Director on the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America board of directors.  I am extremely thankful for our amazing agronomy staff who pour their passion and dedication into the conditioning of the course and allow me the opportunity to serve the golf industry as I enjoy doing.

The 2019 growing season was one of the best in recent memory.  Even with all the rain in the spring and the drought in the summer our agronomy team continued to provide excellent conditions for our golfers and guests. One of the changes in our cultural practices that we began a few years ago and is really starting to pay dividends is the application of our topdressing sand using push broadcast spreaders instead of the vehicle mounted spinner style we used to use.  This practice has allowed us to apply the proper amount of sand needed by our greens without affecting the play of the greens and has been widely received by our golfers as an excellent practice.

National Golf Day was a new venture for me this year as I joined with hundreds of other golf industry professionals from around the country in Washington DC for two days to promote the benefits of golf.  Representatives from GCSAA, PGA, USGA, Club Managers Association, Golf Course Architects, Golf Course Builders, Golf Course Owners and many other associations came together to give back to our nation through a Community Service Project where we performed landscape and turfgrass renovation projects, planted flowers, and made irrigation repairs on the National Mall.  The work performed was recognized by the National Park Service as the Outstanding Group Volunteer Service Project of the year.  On the second day we divided and conquered Capitol Hill as representatives from each state met with members of Congress to promote the benefits of the game of golf.  I, along with Brad Marcy, GCS at Indian Hills GC in Murfreesboro and Michael Seabrook, GM, at Belle Meade CC in Nashville had the pleasure of speaking with Senators Alexander and Blackburn and Congressmen Desjarlais, Fleischmann, and Cooper.  It was a great experience and I look forward to returning in May for National Golf Day 2020.

Summer closure for aerification went perfectly this year as our staff was able to perform the needed cultural practices to the course.  We were able to perform core aerification to the greens in multiple directions removing organic matter, relieving compaction, and allowing for increased oxygen exchange.  Aerification is always one of the practices that is frowned upon by most all golfers but I think, or at least I hope, we have shown over the years that by performing these practices in the time and manner we do that we can provide the high quality putting surfaces our golfers and guests demand with only a limited disturbance in the golfing season.

We were able to make a few improvements or renovations to the course this year but mostly spent our time maintaining and conditioning the course for play.  Projects such as crosstie curbing, protective matting on the bridges for our walking guests, sod work at parking areas were among the projects we completed but the project we enjoyed the most, and was appreciated by the golfers the most, was the bunker renovation project on #13 fairway.  This bunker had been an eyesore for many years and could not be kept in playing condition due to the direct inflow of water which contaminated the sand. That situation was remedied and we now have a nice looking and great functioning bunker.

Our environmental programs are still one of the best parts of our golf course and this year was no different.  We had a new female in our Harrison Bay Eagle Cam nest which was given the name Athena.  She and Elliott fledged two more eaglets into the wild.  Our cameras experienced issues again this year so we didn't get to see them hatch and grow up but we are working on the system for this year and should be up and running in time for us all to enjoy this years brood.  The course continues to be a haven for deer, turkey, raccoons, all manner of small woodland creatures and a plethora of birds and insects.  When people ask me what the best part of my job is, seeing the wildlife live and thrive in partnership with all the activities on the golf course is the first and easiest answer for me.

As all good things have to come to an end, Bill Greene retired from service to the golf course this fall.  Bill has been instrumental in maintaining the golf course for many years, and although he did a great job at that, his biggest contribution to the course was his ability, and willingness, to work on many of our environmental projects such as the mallard duck nesting tubes, the wood duck nesting boxes, deer and turkey feeders, and the Bobwhite quail restoration project.  Bill also used his carpentry skills to provide many of the course accessories our golfers enjoy on a daily basis, along with helping with the new front entrance sign and wood fencing which greets our guests.  Enjoy your second retirement and your new home, Bill.

As we look back to 2019, the successes of the golf course and the enjoyment our golfers and guests enjoy would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the agronomy staff.  They are a small group but one that is determined to provide the best possible conditions we can provide no matter how much rain we receive or how hot it is.  I am very grateful for this group and especially for the leadership Willie Hamby has shown in running the many day to day operations of the course.

Thank you to everyone who played or visited our course this year.  We hope you enjoyed your time on the course as much as we do every day and we hope to see you in 2020.  We have some cool projects we are hoping to complete this winter, so come back and see us, and I will do my best to update the blog more regularly in 2020.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Engaging Young Golfers with Landseer Communication Activity Books

Last week we received our order of activity books from Landseer Communications and we could not be happier.  We have been looking for some time for a way to engage younger golfers/people to the beauty and environmental stewardship opportunities that can be found on a golf course.  The activity books are extremely high quality with great illustrations and descriptions of the wildlife and projects that can be found at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.  Simple and to the point these books will provide a guide or reference to the wildlife, birds, insects, and activities that can be found on our golf course.

One of the features in the activity books was a tribute to Eloise, our first female eagle that we lost last year.  This feature is a great way to highlight all the excitement and fun we had watching her and Elliott build their nest, raise their family, and bring a great deal of publicity and fame to our golf course.  It was heartbreaking to loose her as we did but she will be remembered by many for years to come through these books.

Another page area that we chose to feature is our Bobwhite quail restoration project which has turned out quite nice.  The quail are hard to see, as they are very elusive and don't like to be around people, but if you sit still out near #5 tee complex where they were released you might get lucky and hear them calling to each other.

There are 16 pages of coloring pages and activities, such as Nature Bingo, in our book which can give a preview of what someone can look for during their round or show off what all they found around the course.  The pages are individual and specific to each property with special write-ups to highlight information about the bird, insect, animal, or project.

Delphine Tseng is the owner of Landseer Communication, the designer and publisher of these great activity books.  She has a passion for the environment and getting young people involved in our sport and appreciating all the beauty and activities golf courses have to offer, and her level of enthusiasm can't be matched.  I would encourage anyone that wishes to create a fantastic community outreach project to contact Delphine or visit Landseer Communication at

We will be distributing these activity books to school children during our The First Green field trips which we will be hosting this spring.  If you would like one we have placed a few up at the clubhouse with Robin. The Friends of Harrison Bay State Park also published a book for Harrison Bay State Park which is available at the Interpretive Center or the A-Frame at the park.  If you would like to give a small donation to help offset printing costs that would be much appreciated as well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

2019 Golf Industry Show...A New Journey Embarked

As we all know the past several months have been some of the wettest in history for our course.  We have a lot of projects on the course that we want to accomplish but the weather is keeping us from these goals.  So escaping to "sunny" San Diego for the annual Golf Industry Show seemed like a perfect remedy.  The Golf Industry Show is the national conference and trade show for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and is a great opportunity to learn, network, and energize the batteries for the year to come.

I would like to thank Mr. Nixon, our Director of Golf, for attending the show with me and his continued support of our industry.  The trade show is a great place to look at new products and talk with vendors so we can determine the best equipment and resources to use, not only at Harrison Bay but across all the courses that comprise the Tennessee Golf Trial. We looked at some different bunker liner materials, chemicals and fertilizers, and some new mowing equipment which we hope to be bringing to the Tennessee Golf Trail in the near future to better maintain the grounds and also protect the environment.  Just a teaser there but I think you are going to like it.

One of the best things about the golf industry is that we are all in it together.  Education and networking is one of the best things about GIS and this year we had some great education and networking opportunities including the long awaited Syngenta Business Institute reunion, the GCSAA Chapter Presidents breakfast, the Ladies Leading Turf symposium sponsored by Syngenta and organized by Leasha Schwab, a great hypnotist Ricky Kalmon, a fantastic professional development class with Ms. Laura Katen of Katen Consulting, and a hilarious comedy routine from Sinbad to round out the event during the closing ceremony.  I also met some great new friends and was able to catch up with some old friends which makes the golf industry the best in the world, in my humble opinion.

The highlight of the week, and the reason for "A New Journey Embarked", came on Thursday morning when I was elected to the GCSAA Board of Directors for a two year term.  I am pictured with newly elected GCSAA President Rafael Barajas, who was elected the 83rd GCSAA President.  I have had the honor of serving the members of the turfgrass industry in Tennessee for several years.  I am grateful for the honor and opportunity to serve the 18,000+ members of GCSAA worldwide and work with the other great members of the Board of Directors and staff at GCSAA.  I greatly appreciate the encouragement of my family, my supervisors in Nashville, and the dedicated staff at Harrison Bay, most especially my assistant Willie Hamby as he will be taking on a greater amount of responsibilities when GCSAA duties call me away.

I'll wrap this blogpost up with a site I feel we all need and that is of green grass and blue skies.  The winter has been a tough one but the sun will eventually come back out, the rain will eventually stop falling everyday, and we will once again be able to prepare the course the way we love to.  Keep the faith.  It will all be okay in a few.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Triplets at the HBEC Nest for 2019

The Harrison Bay Eagle Cam project has been a source of great joy and of sadness.  Last year we lost our original female Eloise (Remembering Eloise) leaving the nest empty for a while.  Throughout the spring three females tried to claim the nest and the handsome and dashing Elliott as their own, but it was not until our new female came along that a new HBEC queen could be crowned.

Our new queen of the nest has been named Athena and has taken over right where Eloise left off.  She has many of the same traits or characteristics that made us all fall in love with Eloise such as having a prominent brow which gives her a fierce look, to keeping airspace near the nest clear of any other females trying to stake their claim on her nest or her "man", to making sure Elliott knows exactly where the nesting material goes, no matter where he thinks it should.

On Tuesday afternoon 1/22/19 a little after 4:00 PM Athena laid her first egg at the Harrison Bay nest.  As with any eagle in the wild it is virtually impossible to know if this is her first egg every laid but she did struggle a bit which lead our expert moderators to speculate that it was.

Here is a video from our moderator Suzie-O which shows the laying process of egg #1

On Friday afternoon Athena laid her second egg which seemed to be a little easier on her.  Both her and Elliott have, and will, take turns caring for the eggs as they keep them warm and turn the eggs periodically to keep the embryo from sticking to the insides of the egg.  It is delicate process that makes many of use worry but we have to trust that the eagles know exactly what they are doing.

Well much to our surprise on Monday evening we were graced with a third egg from Athena.  Three eggs in a single nest is not completely uncommon but is rare and since the nest was constructed in the fall of 2010 Eloise had only ever laid two eggs at a single time.  We are very thrilled and excited about the opportunity to witness three eaglets being raised but it will also increase the need for food, shelter from the elements, and the inevitable sibling rivalries and bonking which will make all viewers uneasy and is the leading cause to hatchling death in a multiple egg nest.

As always we welcome everyone to join us in viewing the Harrison Bay Eagle Cam project at

We are still buttoning up some technical issues which will make the experience even better throughout the year.

We would like to thank our great moderators who operate the site and the cameras and keep all the chatters informed and in line.

We would also like to thank Golf Course Industry magazine, Aquatrols, and Syngenta US for their sponsorship of the project this year.  Without financial support from our friends this view into the life of a bald eagle nest would not be possible.

Monday, January 28, 2019

2018 Recap, Bridge Refurbishments, and Covering Greens

Yes, it has been quite a while since our last blogpost update and for that I apologize.  2018 was a great year at Harrison Bay with some of the best course conditions our Agronomy Staff has produced in quite some time.  Irregardless of the 83 inches of rainfall we received in 2018 (normal amount is 57") our small crew of dedicated team members continued to provide quality, championship conditions while continuing to make course improvements and advances.

One of the improvements we have been working on this winter is to repair and cleanup the bridges which span our wetland areas on holes 13 and 14.  We have removed and replaced any rotting or weak boards from the decking, have begun the process of pressure washing the bridge, and have installed a woven rubber liner in the center of the bridge to make it safer for our walking guests to travel across the bridge.

The walkway material is from PEM Surface and is an excellent product providing a porous, nonslip surface which is easily secured to the decking with silicone glue and decking screws.  We have already had several of our regular walking golfers comment and thank us for this project.  We will finish the project up this month and seal the bridge to help keep this clean, fresh look.

With the cold temperatures heading into the south this week we pulled the covers over the greens today to help protect them.  We do not cover as much as others, and that is perfectly fine.  No two golf courses are the same and no two golf course superintendents do the exact same processes.  We have 15 years of experience with what our greens can handle and our microclimate on the lake gives us a little advantage of staying warmer than other areas in town.

I was asked today "How do the covers actually help protect the greens?".  The illustration to the right does a very good job of describing how the greens covers work but in a nutshell the covers are designed to allow radiant heat from the sun to pass through the cover but not back out easily.  The sunlight warms the leaf tissue and the soil and "traps" the heat against the surface compared to uncovered greens in which the collected heat of the day is easily lost and the surface and soil temperature of the green is allowed to fall to levels detrimental to the health of the plant, and in turn the longterm health of the green.

I hope this helps explain why there are times, like today, when we have to pull the covers during the day when the sun is out and it is all nice and warm and you would love to be out playing golf.  In our experience if we wait too late and pull the covers at the end of the day we are losing a complete day of heat generation and capture and undermining the benefit of the covers.

It is our plan to remove the covers at the end of the week and have the course ready for play for the weekend.  We will update as we get closer to the weekend.