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Friday, December 21, 2012


Winter is officially here! It's a great time to get a lesson inside with
 Jeremy or AJ to prepare for the 2013 golf season~!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Selective Tree Pruning and Removal

Lightning Damage

Generally, any needed tree work on a golf course whether it’s pruning, thinning, or removal is completed during the winter when possible.  With less member and guest use during the winter, it’s much safer to be doing tree work on the course.  In addition, the use of heavy equipment is much easier on the turf while the ground is frozen.

Turfgrass vs. Trees.
Trees will always win the battle for sun and water...

This week we begin selectively removing dead and severely decaying/damaged trees along with alleviating shade issues in high importance areas on the course.   This approved tree work will encourage much healthier turfgrass, improved safety and aesthetics, and reduced in-season maintenance costs from storm damage clean-up. 

The work is being done almost entirely in-house with current staff and resources.

We hope you and your families have a safe and enjoyable holiday and look forward to seeing you next year!

This tree is heavily decayed
and located just feet from a
commonly used cart path on 7 West.
The top of this tree was removed in the past.
Only a few sparse limbs remain.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Covering Greens for Winter

#8 South Green Covered for Winter

Today we're covering select greens with permeable tarps to protect them from winter injury.  The question of "why do we need to cover greens?"and "what do the tarps actually do?" often come up.  A few things are taken into consideration when deciding to cover greens.  Hopefully this will help explain the reasoning behind it.

1.  Greens that are in the shade due to the close proximity of surrounding trees normally suffer from lack of sunlight during the growing season and are the last greens to come out of winter dormancy in the spring.  These same greens tend to hold sheets of ice in the spring during snow melt due to shade and/or poor drainage.  In this situation, the winter covers help warm the surface and reduce some of the ice damage on the plant.  Sheets of ice trap harmful gasses released by the plant as well as causing injury to the plants crown resulting in possible death of the turfgrass. The covers help warm the surface in the spring and allow gasses to pass through which can lead to less ice injury and a quicker green up.

2.  The second reason greens may to need covers is because of the possibility of wind desiccation.  Greens that are elevated can often have issues with this.  The tarps offer nice protection from the cold wind and help hold in some moisture during the tough winter months.

3.  Tarps often provide earlier spring green up to areas that are covered and get the plant off to a healthy start for the season.

The greens that we have selected to cover this year are as follows: 8 South, 9 South, 1 West, 8 West, 9 West, 5 North, 8 North, 9 North

Monday, December 3, 2012

Maintenance Facility Improvements

Lunch/Meeting Room Before
Lunch/Meeting Room Now
Over the last two weeks the grounds staff completed some excellent maintenance facility upgrades that will improve organization and cleanliness while also setting a strong precedent for future on course maintenance activities.  The work was all done in-house with our current staff for little cost.  These positive changes will also aid in recruiting strong student interns in years to come by having a nice working environment.

The meeting room floor and shop floor were diamond-ground and thoroughly cleaned followed by the installation of a commercial grade epoxy floor.  The walls were repaired where damaged and new drywall was hung. Painting both rooms helped put the finishing touch on the project!

Maintenance Shop Before
Maintenance Shop Now


Monday, November 26, 2012

New Equipment Manager - Hector Velazquez Jr.

It's with great pleasure that I announce our new Equipment Manager, Hector Velazquez Jr.  Hector comes to us from Thorntree Country Club in DeSoto, Texas where he is currently the Golf Course Equipment Manager.  Hector has 13 years of experience as an Equipment Manager at golf clubs around the U.S. and is well respected by his peers.  In his spare time, Hector produces videos for about equipment maintenance, new products, and helpful tips for other Superintendents and Equipment Managers around the globe to use and share ideas.  We're very excited to welcome Hector to the team at Walnut Creek CC and look forward to working with him for years to come!

To learn more about Hector and watch his videos on equipment maintenance , please visit his website at:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Course Closing for Winter

With the upcoming weather forecast, the courses will be closed for the winter starting Sunday, December 2nd. With that said, don't forget to take advantage of the Black Friday sales at Lathwell's Golf Shop today and remember that the clubhouse will remain open for the holiday events and dining!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Off Season Projects Begin

Late fall and winter are great times to make improvements to the courses that will have a big impact on members enjoyment of the facility for the next season.  This week we began our first of four new quick-coupler installations around greens on the West course.  “Quick-couplers” or “QC’s” are hand operated valves that allow our staff to connect a hose to the irrigation system quickly and water select areas like greens. 
Trenching lines for new pipe
New QC installations are often very easy to do and can be done by one person even during the growing season, but the West course is a little different.  

The current irrigation on the West course is referred to as a “block system”.  In the block system, many of the irrigation pipes that are pressurized with water all the time are located in the rough, far from the greens, tees, and fairways.  Branching off of the pressurized pipe is a herringbone of smaller pipes that have irrigation heads connected to them.  The only thing stopping the irrigation heads from running all the time is one electronic valve between the pressurized pipe and the heads.  So if you want to turn on one head, you may actually have to turn on three or four at the same time depending on how it’s set up.  So, for example, if there is an area in a fairway where a QC is needed, we can’t just connect into the pipe in the fairway.  If we did, the only time water would be available at the QC would be when the valve is open and the irrigation heads are running.  With that said, new irrigation lines have to be put in the ground starting at the pressurized lines by themselves.  A big process to do, but one that our staff is tackling well.

The pipe is together and ready to be put in
When it comes to watering greens properly, hand watering is often used so the greens don’t receive too much or too little irrigation water.  Greens with too much or too little water have big problems both with health of the turf and playability for the golfer.  Having QC’s closer to greens allows our staff to move around the course swiftly and with less disruption to play during the day while also doing what’s best for the turfgrass by syringing or watering.

These installations are being done in-house at very little cost.  Yesterday we completed the installation of the new pipe by #1 West green and are on track to have our second run of pipe competed this afternoon by #7 West green.  I’m very proud of the hard work our staff is putting in to complete these great updates.
Laying the sod back down right behind it for less disruption

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Late Season Range Tee Recovery

Yesterday the staff at WCCC did range maintenance that will greatly improve the conditions for Spring golf.  The range tees were aerified, seeded, treated for potential disease, and tarped for late season germination and divot recovery.  These tarps will be left on until we cover select greens to promote as much divot recovery as possible before winter.  The permeable tarps help increase the temperature underneath which produces a little extra growth during a time when the plant is otherwise shutting down.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Frosty Mornings

Well November is here and so are the frosty mornings.  As many are aware, any traffic on frozen turf will injure it and likely even kill it.  We've put signs out on the putting greens to ensure everyone stays off the frozen turf and have been staying in close communication both with the golf shop staff and starter to get golf going as soon as it's safe.  The weather outlook for the next few days is similar in that the frost potential is high.  Feel free to reference this USGA article for an explanation on the effects of traffic on frozen turfgrass : USGA Frost Article

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dave Stiegler, Equipment Manager at WCCC – Retiring

Dave is hard at work grinding reels at WCCC

While we're sad to see Dave leave the family here at Walnut Creek Country Club, we wish Dave the best as he leaves us for retirement.  Dave Stiegler has been with Walnut Creek CC for 19 years and has spent the past 12 years as the Equipment Manager.  He has played an integral role in keeping the course looking beautiful with maintaining the large fleet of equipment used to manicure the property.  His years of service here are greatly appreciated and we hope he enjoys every day of his much deserved retirement! Dave’s last day is November 16th, so please feel free to stop by and wish him well.  Thanks for all the hard work, Dave!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blowing Out Irrigation

Watering turf is done for the season.  Today we began to clear out all of the water from the irrigation lines and it will continue into tomorrow afternoon.  This process needs to be done thoroughly to ensure pipes and sprinkler heads do not burst over the winter months as the ground freezes!  Cold rainy afternoons like today and tomorrow are a great time to clear the system as there is far less member play.  For those who bare the cold weather to get a few last rounds in, we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause because of the noise or occasional mist that may blow your way.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Range Closing November 4th

WCCC Practice Range
The practice range will be closing for the season Sunday, November 4th.  The golf course will remain open weather permitting.  Although cold, the courses are playing well.  We hope you enjoyed the 2012 season and look forward to seeing you on the course!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Getting ready for play: 8 and 9 South

As we near the end of fall this year we're working hard to ensure 8 and 9 south play great next season.  The holes are looking nice and I anticipate they will play very well next year.  The grounds crew has been working on smoothing the greens while also working out grain that developed while growing them in.  During aerification, these greens were punched twice to remove thatch (dead plant material) accumulation and smooth out the surface.
Hand Brooming and Mowing 9 South Green
Now that 8 and 9 south greens have healed in, we've done a few other cultural practices that help smooth the putting surface, increase future greens speeds, and help them become great greens.  One practice we have done is hand brooming greens.  You may think it sounds funny, but it's a great practice to lift leaf blades of the plant that are laying down and to cut them at the proper height.  Following brooming, topdressing sand is applied to the green to fill in any gaps in turf while also smoothing the surface.  Plant leaf tissue that lays down on a putting surface is commonly referred to as grain.  When grain is removed, the putting surface will be much more true and more consistent green speeds can be expected.
Rolling 8 South With a 2,171 lb Street Roller
Following brooming and topdressing greens we rolled them with a street roller which helped smooth out imperfections in the green.  These imperfections likely originated from the greens mix blowing around before seed germination due to wind.  Currently the greens are looking fantastic and should be outstanding for next year!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Native Mowing

This week we are beginning the mowing of our native areas.  Mowing these in the fall each year helps control over-growth of woody vegetation and other weeds which tend to take over these areas when not managed properly.  Cutting down the woody vegetation also allows for better growth of the fescue in the spring and a cleaner appeal with better playability for the golfer.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Red sky in morning, sailors take warning...

The morning sky was beautiful but the rain is coming...with that said the final four holes of fairway aerification are being postponed until Thursday, October 25th.
A great look over the lake of the South Course!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


This week we are finishing up our aerification for the year with the last few fairways on the south course.  This will be happening Thursday, October 18th weather permitting.

Current Opening:

Equipment Manager

Walnut Creek Country Club
25501 Johns Road
South Lyon, MI 48178

Education:  High school diploma or equivalent.  Turf equipment manufacturer training / Lake City Graduate.  Auto mechanics will be considered.  Please list if you have specific golf course equipment training.

Position Description:   The Equipment Manager will be responsible for maintaining all golf course equipment (i.e. mowers, tractors, utility vehicles, trucks, rollers, sweepers, etc) and reports directly to the Superintendent.  Must have knowledge of diesel, electric, and gasoline engine repair.  NOT responsible for member used golf carts.  Responsible for keeping detailed records for all repairs and for performing the repair within the budget where possible; Responsible for keeping up with preventative maintenance and corresponding records for all golf course equipment;  Responsible for holding employees accountable for equipment cleanliness and use (i.e. tracking damage or improper cleaning and reporting to the superintendent);  Responsible for maintaining an organized and clean maintenance shop daily both for safety and aesthetics;  Responsible for checking all reel mowers daily for adjusting needs/back lapping/grinding and communicate needs with the superintendent;  Responsible for all ordering of replacement parts;  Equipment Manager responsible for supplying his/her own tools. Mechanic should be able to work in various weather conditions while repairing equipment. Must have the ability to effectively diagnose mechanical and electrical problems with equipment and perform the repair. Must have a valid drivers license.

Professional Enhancement:  Walnut Creek Country Club is located in southeast Michigan which is surrounded by many other great facilities and offers great networking potential. Opportunities will be given for technical and educational training.

Club History:  Walnut Creek Country Club originated as Farmington Country Club in 1955 at Haggerty and Twelve Mile Roads.  Farmington Country Club hosted the Michigan PGA championship in 1961 and the Michigan Open in 1961 and 1962.  In 1982, members voted to change the name of the Club to Farmington Hills Country Club.  In 1987, the club purchased a 27 hole course named Godwin Glen and sold the original property of Farmington Hills Country Club off in parcels.  Later that year the club changed its name to Walnut Creek Country Club, again by a vote of the membership.  Walnut Creek Country Club retained world-renowned golf course architect, Arthur Hills, to design and renovate the existing course.  In 1995, Walnut Creek Country Club became an official Arthur Hills signature course.  In 2007 the club worked with Paul Albanese to enhance the West nine.  In 2010, WCCC built a large bentgrass short-game practice area including 2 chipping greens, practice bunkers, and a putting green.  In 2012 Walnut Creek Country Club redesigned and grew in holes 8 and 9 south using T1 bent for greens and Princeville bent for fairways and tees. Part of this renovation also included brand new decoder Toro irrigation.  Walnut Creek Country Club is constantly improving its facilities offering unique experiences to all those involved.

Experience requirements:   Candidate should have 3 years or more of experience as a mechanic.  Golf course mechanical experience a plus.  The candidate should be willing to exceed member expectations with regard to service and commitment on a daily basis.  Member of the IGCEMA and/or GCSAA a plus
Benefits Include:  Salaried D.O.E .  401K per company policy; Uniforms provided; Dues paid to local and national equipment managers associations; Meals; golf.  Vacation and personal days per club policy.

Position Available:  Resumes WITH REFERENCES are currently being collected and reviewed.  Position is available: December 1, 2012.

Contact:  Candidates should send resumes to Scott Rettmann, Greens Superintendent at