I consider myself a normal person and your typical, average golfer. Though many of my acquaintances (not to mention family members) would dispute the normal tag, I'm trying to make a point here, so bear with me.
It is my belief that the average golfer doesn't really know how much is involved in building and maintaining a golf course. I surely don't, and I'm guessing many other golfers don't have a clue either. We know what we want in a course, but we don't always appreciate the effort it takes to deliver a layout that we enjoy playing.
A few weeks ago Bobby Pollitt became the new owner of Seneca Hills Golf Course. A man that does know what it takes, Pollitt is going to bring many changes to the venue, both inside the clubhouse and to the course. I detailed many of the changes coming to the 19th century barn that houses the pro shop, restaurant and banquet area last week.
Today I'd like to talk about plans for the driving range, practice areas and to the golf course itself.
The first thing Pollitt did upon arrival was to take soil samples. Knowing what chemicals the soil may be lacking is the first step in creating a top quality golf course. Long range plans for the course are being developed. For now the emphasis is to get the course in shape. Conditioning the course is a top priority.
The man in charge of getting the course into top-notch shape is Brian Kline, the course superintendent. I had a chance to chat with him to see what he was doing. On this day he was overseeding the fairways. Kline informed me that he was using a bluegrass blend that included four of the best kinds. This treatment really won't be noticeable until next summer. If we get a typical dry August next year, Seneca Hills fairways will still be in great shape due to the overseeding process.
Kline will work to maintain the greens and tees as well. The greens are currently in great shape and he will make sure they stay that way.
One change that will be ready by next season is the driving range. It will be revamped this fall and will be expanded.
The range will include grass tees and a laser-leveled synthetic turf area. If rains hit the area like they did this year, the range will not have to be shut down.
During the early golf season, when golfers want to hit the range to shake off the winter rust, the synthetic turf will give you a place to practice despite the elements.
A short game area of some 10 square feet will be reserved for high school and college golfers whose teams compete at Seneca Hills as well club members. This area will give golfers the chance to hit from uphill and downhill lies in addition to playing shots above and below your feet. A bunker will be found on the range as well. Yes, I did say bunker. The plans call for bunkers to be added to the course.
A new putting area will be created this fall. One additional feature for those who could use help with the flat stick is the TOMI computerized putting system. Imagine having access to a computer to help you with your putting. I've seen me putt and I believe the computer will have its hands full with me.
All of this practice can be combined with some expert advice. Bobby Pollitt has won multiple awards as a PGA professional. He is certified in club fitting and will be glad to give a golfer of any skill lessons. Teaching people the game of golf is his passion.
Bobby Pollitt has many thoughts on what he wants to do with the course at Seneca Hills. Eventually he wants to lengthen the course. Potential plans call for the removal of one hole and the addition of another. These changes will be made after consulting with a golf course architect by the name of Steve Smyers. If you do not know this man, let me fill you in.
Steve Smyers is the head of an architectural firm that has over 50 projects spanning the globe. His group is currently working on golf courses in Texas, Florida, Maryland, Bermuda, Brazil, Iceland and France. The last one is of particular interest.
The LPGA has announced it will add a fifth major to their tour. The Evian Masters has been played for a number of years, but beginning in 2013 the French tournament will become a major. It will be known as The Evian and will be played on a course that will be totally redesigned by a team of architects headed by - Steve Smyers!
Bobby Pollitt met Smyers years ago when both competed on mini-tours. They became friends and that lasting friendship will bring the famed architect to our little corner of the globe.
When I talked with Bobby Pollitt, I couldn't help but ask a couple of questions. I wanted to know if Seneca Hills would be growing the rough in the near future. His answer was that he likes definition in a golf course. So you can bank on a contrast between fairway and rough.
I also asked him about the 15th green. There is a hump on the green that is known as Eilert's Knob. Stories persist that an elephant (or possibly Jimmy Hoffa) is buried under that mound, but despite those stories being urban legends, the green does make for interesting putts when you find your ball on one side of the hump and the flagstick on the other. Will Eilert's Knob survive the redesign?
Bobby just smiled and suggested that he likes uniqueness in a golf course.
As this golf season slowly comes to a close, you can look forward to a new version of Seneca Hills in 2012. Thinking about all the changes that await you may just make the winter pass more quickly.