Monday, January 31, 2011

Bunker Renovation at Harrison Bay

If you have been on the golf course this winter you have surely noticed the golf course maintenance crew hard at work repairing what could be our biggest problem...poor performing sand bunkers.  Even with all the compliments we hear about the golf course throughout the year, the one overwhelming complaint we hear is how we need to repair the sand bunkers on the golf course. We hear you and we are working on repairing the problem. 

Our bunker renovation process begins by removing the existing sand from the bunkers.  The process is no more than getting some crew members in the bunker and shoveling the sand out.  The sand that is removed is being stockpiled to be used as topdressing sand in some of our fairways during the summer months.  Once the sand is removed we remove the existing felt liner which was installed in 2003 when we a quick renovation of the bunkers.  We are using better products and a better process this time so that the bunkers will not need to be renovated again for a long time. 

 Bill Greene is installing the new liner into the bunker.  We are using Sand Mat 350 in this bunker because of its moderate slope on the face of the bunker.  Sand Mat is a highly porous geo textile fabric which provides a barrier between the gravel layer and the bunker sand.  The sand is embedded into the Sand Mat fibers to hold the sand in place on steep slopes.  The liner, being more porous than the sand, will increase the infiltration rate of the water as it passes through the bunker profile.  You can find more information about SandMat at  Our old geotextile felt restricted the movement of the water resulting in the sand being moved off of the slopes and the liner becoming exposed, increasing the possibility of contamination.

All the liner installed in the bunker.  Ready for sand.

The sand is hauled in and spread by hand over the new liner.  A bunker of this size will take between 22-25 tons of sand.  Once the sand is roughly spread out it is packed using a mechanical bunker rake to pack and firm the new sand in the bunker.
After the sand has been packed in two directions it is raked by hand in two directions and is ready to be opened for play.  We will pack the bunkers several more times before the beginning of the golfing season to help ensure proper playing conditions.

Our bunker renovation project will take three years to complete and in the end we believe we will have sand bunkers that perform properly and are uniform and consistent from hole to hole.

Friday, January 21, 2011

GCSAA/Golf Digest announce 2010 Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards

The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay was honored for the second year in a row by Golf Digest and GCSAA as an Environmental Leader in Golf receiving a Chapter Award for our environmental efforts and accomplishments. The awards are based on a five part essay covering wildlife preservation, water quality management and conservation, proper chemical practices, and educational outreach to the public. It is, as always, our goal to educate the public and promote our environmental activites on the golf course and we are honored and proud to be associated with the other golf courses around the world who have been recognized this year by Golf Digest and GCSAA. 

"Golf Digest is proud once again to join with the GCSAA to honor these far-sighted superintendents who are doing the right thing regarding best environmental practices," said Roger Schiffman, managing editor of the magazine. "It is our hope — indeed, our intention — that these superintendents and the courses they manage continue to serve as role models for others to follow in the months and years ahead. I can think of no greater calling in our game than to be a leader in environmental stewardship."

The ELGA winners went above and beyond in their environmental stewardship. They feature management programs using efficient and accurate irrigation systems; extensive recycling programs; composting of grass clippings, leaves and other herbaceous debris; bird houses; energy-saving light; and stringent integrated pest management programs.

The Environmental Leaders in Golf Award recognizes golf course superintendents and their courses for overall course management excellence in the areas of resource conservation, water quality management, integrated pest management, wildlife/habitat management and education/outreach. In addition, these categories are judged on sustainability, criticality, originality and technology implementation/use. An independent panel of judges representing national environmental groups, turfgrass experts, university research and members of the golf community conducted the award selection.

The EIFG is a collaborative effort of the environmental and golf communities, dedicated to strengthening the compatibility of golf with the natural environment. The EIFG concentrates on delivering programs and services involving research, education and outreach that communicate the best management practices of environmental stewardship on the golf course. Backed by the organizations of Golf 20/20 and the World Golf Foundation, the EIFG is leading the golf course industry's commitment to continual improvement through its initiative Golf's Drive Toward Sustainability. For more on the EIFG, visit

For more information on the Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards visit:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bald Eagle Update

The bald eagles have been seen flying around the golf course regularly lately.  It seems they have finished constructing their nest and were witnessed mating last week.  Hopefully she will lay her eggs soon if she hasn't already.  The female doesn't leave the nesting area as much as the male does.  As golfing season begins we should have some baby eagles to admire.  We will keep everyone updated with news and photos as we can.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Promoting The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay

The February 2011 issue of The Golf Course Trades magazine contains an article I wrote promoting The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay and the golf course industry.  In the past, golf courses seemed to be the easy target for people claiming that golf courses were "environmental polluters" and to some extent I think the industry as a whole did not do a great job of protecting and promoting the environment but times have changed.  Environmentally friendly golf course provide enormous areas for wildlife to prosper and survive and we are excited to be the best environmental stewards we can be.

I hope you can take the time to read the article found on pages 16 and 17. Click on the link below:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Case Study for GCSAA's Environmental Institute for Golf

Our wild turkey population on the golf course has exploded over the last year due to the addition of some very simple and inexpensive turkey feeders that we built and placed on the golf course.  Mr. Mark Johnson of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America ask me to compile a case study to be placed on the GCSAA's Environmental Institute for Golf website to provide others with information about our successful feeder project. 

Click here to link to Attracting Wild Turkey at Harrison Bay Case Study

We are always excited to have the opportunity to spread the word about our environmental activites at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.  This case study is actually the second one posted by GCSAA.  Our other case study dealt with the creation of our native planting bed on #1 tee. 

Click here to link to our Going Native case study

The GCSAA Environmental Institute for Golf website is loaded with valuable information and I hope you can take time to look at some of the other case studies found there.  The case studies can be found on the Online Resource page of the website EIFG Case Studies.