Hyde Park Est. 1909, A Donald Ross Design

Friday, December 26, 2014

Update 12/26/14

Heavy frost! Golf Course will open at 1:00pm to walkers only Proshop and Clubhouse closed. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Final Preparations on the Golf Course

Winter is officially here and ironically enough the temperatures have begun to moderate since the last update. The staff is placing the final touches on the turf before the cool season grasses take a brake for the season. We are very hopeful these average temperatures continue, allowing for us to finish a few projects. The attached clip is a snipet of the final pieces to the puzzle for winter preparation.

A few of the projects that have been completed include:

Leveling and reshaping of the forward tees on 4,9 and 12. Also, the staff and I have improved the teeing grounds on Holes 8 and 18. The recent renovations are a continuation to improve playability and make more efficient use of the teeing space. The tees on 5 are next, however Mother Nature may shut the renovations down for the season.

A view of the 18th tee complex competed

The final leaf clean up is almost completed, the leaves hung on 3 weeks longer than last year. The staff has also been involved with small projects such as resodding cart path edges, green expansions on 7 and 10 as well as tree pruning across the golf course.

Tree Pruning on 10

The Grounds Staff and I would like to wish you a very safe and Happy Holiday Season. If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to email us at grounds@hydeparkcc.com or follow us on Twitter @pobrienhpgcc


Pat O'Brien

Grounds Superintendent



Monday, November 24, 2014

Winter and the Grounds Department

The unexpected cold snap in late November was a harsh reminder that winter is here. Many of the long term forecasts/models point to an usually cold winter similar to last year. I typically don't hold much faith in 10 day forecasts, so long term models are even less accurate in my opinion. During the winter months the grounds staff shifts gears and is involved with:

  • Snow and ice removal in all areas of the club including the platform tennis
  • Refurbishing of course accessories
  • Organizing records and analyzing data from last seaon to adjust programs
  • Capital planning
  • Equipment servicing
  • Continuing education
  • Tree Managemnt program including removals and pruning
  • Staff training

As many people have noted there are new push button heater timers at the platform tennis. To engage the heaters for 30mins simply push the button. The grounds staff will continue to monitor court conditions on a daily basis. Please utilize the court reservation system, this allows us to see if/ when play will occur to turn on the heaters in advance or bring in more staff during major snow events. We also use Twitter - @pobrienhpgcc frequently updating the status or condtions of the courts. Also, additional heaters will be installed soon by Rick Spivey's staff to allow for faster and more consistent melt of snow and ice.

Winter Golf-

As we move into the colder season please contact the Proshop or follow us on Twitter for the latest conditions on the course. There will some days even though the sun might be shining and warmer temperatures be present the course might be closed due to frozen or thawing turf. We monitor conditions very closely, to see when it might be safe for the greens to endure foot traffic.

From all of us it in the Grounds Department we are looking forward to another successful, 2015 season and we all would like to wish you a very Happy and Safe Holiday season!


Pat O'Brien

Grounds Superintendent





Friday, November 21, 2014

Grounds Update November 11/21/14

The grounds at HP continue to thaw out, however there are many areas of the golf course that are still hanging onto some snow cover along with frozen soil. During this time of year with winter play we have concerns of frost and frozen ground that will impact the turfgrass plant and root systems, particularly on the greens. Over the past week the near record low and high temperatures have created on some of the putting surfaces a 3-4" frozen layer in the soil.

The freeze and thaw periods help relieve compaction in the soil, which is a positive. The negative is; damage can occur when walking on the putting greens when the frozen soil layer has not not thawed out completely. Roots in the top 3-5" are prone to shear from foot traffic where the frozen and thawing layers meet.

With the current forecast trend, thawing of the putting surfaces will occur over the next couple days, but it will not be enough to open for play on Saturday and there will be a slim chance for A Sunday opening. We will evaluate conditions for Sunday closely for a possible opening. Please check with the Proshop for possible opening or follow us on Twitter @pobrienhpgcc for the latest updates on the grounds. If there are any questions please email us at: grounds@hydeparkcc.com


Pat O'Brien

Grounds Superintendent


Monday, November 17, 2014

November Update Golf Course and Grounds

The grounds staff at HP over the past few weeks have been in full throttle trying to prepare the golf course for the winter months. Some of the Iniiatives that have been completed thus far include:

  • Leaf clean up (Almost completed)
  • Tee reconstruction
  • Irrigation winterization
  • Rough Aeration
  • Spot seeding of rough
  • Removal of cool season grasses in the fairways
  • Preermegent and post emergent herbicide applications to the rough areas
  • Planting of Tulip bulbs

Double deep tining and heavy top dressings to all greens

Leveling and reshaping of the 8th tee complex

Compressor used to move air through the PVC pipes

Drainage added to 2, 10, 11, and 16

Selective herbicde to remove cool season grasses in Zoysia

Planting of thousands of Tulips

An early November snowfall has put tee renovations on hold for now! Pease check with the Proshop or follow us on Twitter @pobrienhpgcc for the latest on golf course conditions.


Pat O'Brien,

Grounds Superintendent


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Grounds Update

The staff continues to move forward but at a slightly slower pace due to the seasonal fluctuations in staffing and Mother Nature has created some cooler wet conditions. With the guidance of golf course architect Tim Liddy, the Hyde Park Grounds staff finished all renovations/zoysia grass conversions on the approaches 4,6 and 8.

4 before


These renovations will enhance playability, consistency, and reduce expenses with fewer inputs, utilizing Zoysia grass. The 6th hole will also offer new shots utilizing the natural contours and fairway mowed short grass off of the bank directly behind the green.

6 before

6 after

The Zoysia grass will take roughly a full season to look and play the same as the existing fairway grass. All new Zoysia can be played off of, but please refrain from driving carts on the new sod.

In the coming month, frost delays will be common and more cart traffic will be restricted to the cart paths because of the dormancy of the Zoysia grass. Zoysia grass is not growing this time of year and unfortunately, any mechanical damage from carts will not heal until next year. We will expect to restrict cart traffic on the fairways sometime in early November pending weather conditions.

The final deeptine and solid tine aeration of the greens will occur in November, allowing to fracture the compacted soil condtions deep in the profile. This process will be followed by topdressing and rolling for smoothness.

Also, beginning in early November, internal drainage will be added to greens 2,10,11 and 16. This process has been completed on 7 of the greens with excellent results, allowing for improved turf health and reducing closure times. Only one green will be closed at any one time for 2-3 days during the first two weeks of November.


10 green- Labor Day

2 green-Labor Day

The 11th..

For more information on the current initiatives and course conditions please follow us on Twitter @pobrienhpgcc Or contact us via email.


Pat O'Brien



The Dynamic Duo...

Behind the scenes there is an important duo that keeps all the equipment functioning and safe, day in and day out. Bob Schenkel (Equipment Manager-left) and Jimmy Good, better known as "Buck" his crafty Assistant.

Jimmy has over 30 years in the golf course industry including over 10 at HP. Jim is the king when it comes to fabrication, by trade he is skilled Boilermaker, allowing him to fabricate just about anything for the golf operations. When not assisting Bobby in the shop, Buck's primary duty is to mow the rough. Outside of work, Buck likes to tinker in his shop, and enjoys spending time with his grandchildren, 3 daughters and wife Artie.

Bobby, the Equipment Manager is responsible for over 100 pieces of equipment not to mention the extensive data collection, inventory control and staying updated with the latest in technology to improve quality and efficiency. Bobby has been with HP for almost two years, prior to, he worked as a mechanic for a golf course equipment distributor. Bobby is married to Amy and has 2 daughters and 3 grandchildren.

Both of these gentleman are the frontline to ensure we have quality and safe equipment to produce excellent playing condtions. I can't thank them enough for the hardwork, poise and sense of humor, it is a pleasure to work with both of them.


Pat O'Brien

Grounds Superintendent


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Zoysia grass, Dormancy and Cart Traffic

The zoysia grass continues to prepare for the winter months, the golden hue is becoming more evident. The fairways have stopped growing, in fact the last mowing was almost 3 weeks ago. Wet conditions, shade and cart traffic are the right recipe for damage to the zoysia grass. The recent wet, cool and gloomy days have not been condusive for adequate drying to occur. These limitations have left the carts on the path for most of this week. These conditions are monitored on a daily basis to determine the status of carts. This afternoon, a short trip on 13 fairway revealed that the soil conditions are still wet to allow cart traffic noted by the mud tracks from my cart. This time a year due to the length of day, angle of sun and temperatures most times a single sunny day is often enough to dry the turf out.

Heavily shaded areas on 9 and 18 and similar areas see very little sunlight this time of year. Damage from cart traffic will only enhance the chances for increased winter damage.

Please check with the Proshop or follow us on Twitter @pobrienhpgcc for the latest on projects and daily course conditions.


Pat O'Brien

Grounds Superintendent


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall is here! What does this mean for the Grounds?

The fall season is a very busy time of year for the Grounds Staff and I as we prepare the golf course for next year. Many of the agronomic practices that are occurring now will have an impact in 2015. As many have you noted we have been engaged in:

  • Aerifying and seeding the roughs
  • Fall fertilization of all surfaces
  • Removing summer annuals and planting of fall material
  • Herbicide applications to the all rough areas
  • Mowing of all high rough areas and herbicide applications
  • Deeptine aeration of greens in late October/Early November
  • Deeptine aeration of all tees and deep vertical mowing

This time of year we shift gears slightly to project mode of enchancing the property with various small in-house projects. This year is no different with several projects planned including:

  • Tee leveling and reshaping
  • Bentgrass approach conversion to zoysia and enlargement of these landing areas. We are planning convert the last approach areas if holes 4, 6 and 8.

Work has begun on the approach on 4. With the help of Golf Course Arcitect Tim Liddy, the scope of the work includes:

  • Enlarging and reshaping of the approach to allow for greater visibility and increasing playability for the higher handicap golfer
  • Conversion from bentgrass to zoysia grass
  • Slightly reshaping green to Ross design
  • Clean horizon lines on the back of green to give subtle look the green is much larger then it is
  • Addition of short grass closer to the bunker to add greater challenge

Here are a few photos of the work thus far and a Ross sketch of the 4th green

Original Shape of Green


New shape of green and approach, clean horizon line at back of green, almost ready for Zoysia!


Continuing this fall, drainage will be added to another 5 greens. After the next 5 greens are completed this will 6 greens left to drain. This process has and will continue to improve the consistency and health of the playing surfaces, please stayed tune for details.

Speaking of putting surfaces I wanted to pass a reminder along to fix you're ball marks (pitchmark) and any other ball marks that have been missed. The below graphic shows how to fix a ball mark properly, a properly fixed ball mark will allow the turf to heal extremely quickly and not leave an unsightly scar.

If there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. Grounds@hydeparkcc.com or follow us on twitter @pobrienhpgcc for the latest updates on the grounds.



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day- Rain Delays Due to Poor Drainage

During the Labor Day Men's golf event there was a rain event that left almost .75" of rain in less then 30 minutes. There was almost an hour and half delay due to standing water on many of the putting surfaces, except for the 7 greens that have internal drainage. Many members left the event due to the delay and many asked why the delay was so long? The short answer is that these near 100 year old putting greens lack internal drainage. Standing water, needed to be physically squeegeed off many of the greens, hole locations had to be moved to higher ground for playability and to avoid turf damage. Adequate drainage is one the key building blocks of healthy turf. If all the greens had drainage the delay would have been a half hour. The 7 greens with internal drainage had no standing water on them after 20 minutes!

16 Green Physical Removal of Water- no drainage

15 green has internal drainage- note balls left on green ready to play!

Over the years the club has invested a great deal into the infrastructure of Hyde Park, all areas of the course have been renovated in some manner including:

  • Multiple bunker renovations
  • 3 irrigation systems
  • Multiple tee renovations including drainage and new grass
  • Additional and renovated cart paths
  • Zoysia fairway conversion
  • Complete hole renovations
  • Rough renovations

Since the early 1920's when Donald Ross designed HP the only infrastructure that has not been upgraded (Except for 1 green and added drainage in 7 greens) is the most important surface; the putting greens. They drain poorly and the grasses do not preform with the same consistency and cost more to maintain compared to the newer varieties that we have been testing at HP for several years.

If there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact me or follow us on twitter @pobrienhpgcc

Below are few more photos of the greens following the rain event on Labor Day.

11 green

2 green

10 Green


Pat O'Brien

Grounds Superintendent


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Drainage, Aerfication and the PGA Championship

The summer is winding down at HP but the Grounds Staff is busy preparing the course for the final events and the winter months. The staff and I are focused on the following:

  • Deep tine aeration of the fairways and second cultivation on new sod to relieve compaction. Added labor, sand and fertilizer have helped recovery of these areas.
  • Shade and poor drainage on the 11th fairway, the addition of drainage will help with growing healthier Turfgrass. Shade is still an issue on the 11th, 9th and 18th fairways and need to be addressed
  • Mystery spots have returned to the greens, staff has removed about 80-3" spots on 10 greens. The spots are concentrated so far on older bentgrass varieties. Multiple labs and University Extension agents over 3 years have not been able to identify the cause of this decline.
  • Summer Cultivation of the putting surfaces will begin in the evening of August 18th and will continue through Wednesday pending weather. The choice to aerify in August allows for faster healing, promotes bentgrass over Poa and allows for less disruption of fall golf. Healing time last season was roughly 10 days. In late October, deep tine aeration of the greens will occur.
  • The benefits of the added drainage have been well noted this season especially on holes 3, 5, 14 and 15. To date, there are 8 greens with drainage. The drainage in these near 100 year old surfaces has helped with reducing Poa, promoting bentgrass and increased consistent playability. The goal is to complete all drainage on the remaining greens to improve consistency from green to green to avoid this:
PGA Championship 2014: Greg Nickerson Ast. Grounds Superintendent
5 members of the staff including: Pat, Dan and interns Chris and Max and I had the opportunity to volunteer at Valhalla for the PGA Championship
We were there to do whatever tasks were required of us. The primary duty for Pat was monitoring and reporting of green speeds to adjust maintenance practices in order to achieve desired conditions. The rest of us split the week and our primary task was mowing of practice greens and greens on the course as needed.

Many of these tasks took place in the dark conditions of early morning and late evening.Due to wet conditions, we were also tasked with removing water from playing surfaces and restoring the course to playable conditions.

This opportunity was a great learning experience for all, and was very exciting. It is something we will all remember for a long time. The scale of such an event is bigger than can be imagined, and needs to be experienced first hand to truly comprehend. Thank you to Roger Meier, Golf Course Superintendent of Valhalla Golf Club and his entire staff for allowing us this great opportunity.

This picture includes most (but not all) of the Grounds Staff of Valhalla Golf Club and volunteers who worked the golf course for the 96th PGA Championship.


If there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at grounds@hydeparkcc.com


Pat O'Brien

Grounds Superintendent