Greens Chairman Update – Friday, May 11, 2018

Re: Ould Newbury - Greens Chairman Update – Friday, May 11, 2018

Dear Ould Newbury Members,

I’m glad that Mother Nature has finally cooperated and we’re starting to see warmer temperatures and more enjoyable golf weather. For those who have been able to play a few rounds this spring, and for those who will be getting out soon, you will undoubtedly notice a few major changes and improvement projects we have done over the winter and early spring months.

These improvement projects fall under our two main focal points regarding the golf course:

  • To consistently provide the very best playing conditions possible to our members and guests.
  • To follow our vision of slowly returning Ould Newbury back to its originally intended design that includes natural areas and a “natural marsh” feel – dating back over 100 years.

Our vision was developed in conjunction with PGA golf course designers, environmental consultants and the town of Newbury Conservation Committee. The improvements will take several years to complete as we can only manage so many projects every year. With that, I have provided a brief outline of the projects and the reasoning behind each.

9th Hole:

Last year we began removing several of the cedar trees along the right-hand side of the fairway. This project will improve the playing experience, give players a quality landing zone if they do not hit the green and speed play. Previously, balls hit into this area simply rolled down the dirt hill leaving the player with no reasonable chance of saving par. This past week we graded, reseeded and Barry Manter came in and covered the entire area with a protective hay layer – thank you Barry! The work area is clearly marked as ground under repair and “all” balls within the area are to be retrieved and brought to the designated drop zone without penalty until the grass takes.

The “Hickory Tree” on 9:

While many of you would love to have the tree removed we simply cannot cut down such an icon at Ould Newbury. If you don’t know or haven’t heard, many years ago several members tried to burn the tree down without success (true story see the cement blocks in the cavity of the tree!). Realizing the tree was growing out of control and becoming quite the obstacle to go around or go over, we did the next best thing and consulted with numerous tree professionals over the winter. Several weeks ago, we had an arborist come out and trim the large hickory. It’s estimated that we removed between 20-25 years of growth.

6th Tee Box Area:

Perhaps the most dramatic change this winter was the removal of numerous trees in and around the 6th tee box area and behind the 5th green. The reasoning behind this project is twofold. First, numerous trees in this area were overgrown and affected by a large expanse of Asiatic Vines. Second, with the dense canopy and lack of sun, we have not been able to grow or sustain quality grass on the tee boxes in years. The playing surface was unacceptable for our standards and the annual expense of aerating and reseeding without quality results was costly.

With a project of this scope, myself, General Manger Ron Margeson and Super Intendent Scott Godfrey consulted with several arborists, environmental consultants, the Department of Environmental Protection and with the Director of the Newbury Conservation Committee. During our site visits, it was determined that many of the trees were extremely overgrown, dead, and engulfed in Asiatic Vines which was causing extreme damage to the natural habitat species. There were also numerous severely diseased trees on or within the tee box area that had a short life expectancy - ultimately resulting in unsafe conditions for our members during high winds or storms.

Redesign of the 6th Tee Boxes:

With the approval from the DEP and Newbury Conservation Committee we removed the trees this winter and Scott Godfrey has started the process of rebuilding and landscaping all 3 tee boxes. Our current plan calls for the initial closure of the upper tee box closest to the 5th green, followed by the lower tee box. During this time players will be asked to hit from the open upper tee or they will have the option of hitting from the drop area closer to the green.

Other significant projects completed or scheduled for 2018

  • New granite tee markers have been installed on most holes.
  • 1st Tee – area on hill behind lower tee box is in the process of being landscaped – Old shrubs to be replaced with new colorful plantings & flowers. Timeframe TBD
  • New natural areas:
    • It is our plan and vision to create numerous natural areas throughout the course. Many of these areas will be returned to their natural state and/or we will plant new fescue grasses in these locations. Example: In front of back tee box on the 7th and the hill area below the 3rd – upper tee box.
    • Many other of proposed areas lie outside of the normal field of play and will dramatically increase the beauty of our landscape.
  • New “shelter shed” – replacing old decrepit shed behind/adjacent to lower tower box on hole 7.
    • New shed designed to accommodate 2 golf carts and ample seating during inclement weather.
    • Shed can also serve as staging area for beverage cart and hospitality options during key tournaments

General Maintenance:

Greens Aerification:

We are moving to a bi-annual deep tine aerification (Spring/Fall) program. The Spring aerification occurred on Thursday, May 10th. While a temporary inconvenience to our players, the aerification process has many benefits, including increasing the oxygen and water deep into the turf and helping to maintain healthy and disease-free turf.

The greens were also punched in early April with our needle tines (smaller tines). This process is barely noticeable to the naked eye and simply allows the greens to breath and absorb much needed moisture. Scott will micro punch the greens several times throughout the year.

In the coming weeks, our Super Intendent Scott Godfrey, will be sending out an email with a few additional notes and updates on our projects. Scott will also review some general course maintenance guidelines and practices to ensure the quality of our golf course. In the meantime, if any of you have questions or would like to learn more about the projects we have done please don’t hesitate to ask me.

Thank you,
Mike Muzi
ONGC – Greens Chairman


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Meet Scott Godfrey, Ould Newbury's New Superintendent

Ould Newbury Golf Club is very pleased to introduce our new Golf Course Superintendent, Scott Godfrey. Scott has 15 years of experience in golf course maintenance at both private and public courses on the South Shore.

Scott’s first impression of Ould Newbury is that it “is a wonderful New England course that has been extremely well maintained. The course is challenging and incredibly unique in its routing and layout. The bones are in place to help bring the course up to the levels envisioned by the membership and I am looking forward to being the steward of these changes and of such a gem of a golf course.”

Scott’s impressive resume includes 4 years as Superintendent at Little Harbor Country Club in Wareham, MA, and 8 years as Assistant Superintendent at Duxbury Yacht Club in Duxbury MA. Scott brings with him a skills set very specific to the Ould Newbury environment, such as familiarity with a golf course located near a salt marsh and the resultant salt water issues this can cause on the course. In addition to turf maintenance, Scott also has experience with major renovation projects including drainage projects, bunker renovations, and tee construction/renovation.

While at the upscale Duxbury Yacht Club, a club that demanded tournament level conditions daily, Scott learned a vast amount about maintaining turf to the highest levels. During his tenure at Little Harbor Country Club, a small, privately owned public course, Scott honed his ability to balance high expectations with budgetary constraints.

As for his first-year outlook at Ould Newbury, Scott says “The major challenges of year one will be marrying my methodologies and practices with those of the club to live up to the standards already in place. My goal is to make sure that everyone is satisfied with the daily conditions while hoping to bring the course to a level that will make every member proud to show off to their peers.”

scott croppedWhen asked if he would be willing to write a monthly blog post for the Ould Newbury website, Scott replied, “Sitting at a computer is not why I got into the golf course maintenance industry. I would much rather be out on the course, quite literally getting my hands dirty than typing away on a keyboard. Having said that, I firmly believe that communication is the key to success in any endeavor and would be more than happy to do a monthly communique letting everyone know what is transpiring on and around the course.”

In addition, Scott knows communication is a two-way street and is hoping the members feel free to talk to him. He said, “I believe the membership could help us the most by being vocal about how they feel things are going, whether good or bad, as well as sharing opinions about the proposed changes and overall direction of the courses conditions and appearance.”

Ould Newbury is excited about working with Scott and looks forward to his input. Please join us in welcoming him to the Ould Newbury family!

On the Personal Side

“I am forty-one years old and have been working in the golf industry for the last fifteen years. My wife and I celebrated our tenth anniversary this past February and we have three beautiful children. Our daughter is seven years old and about to finish the first grade. Our boys are four and a half years old and the reason my hair is rapidly greying! We currently live in Plymouth and are looking forward to moving to area. Hopefully it will be soon as the commute is not a pleasant one, however it is well worth the trip!”

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Why Play 9 Holes?

(This article was recently published by the Massachusetts Golf Association [MGA])

The answer is simple. Playing 36, 18, 9 or even one hole of golf is great. However, the MGA is joining the USGA and millions of golfers - many of whom have busy schedules - across the globe by supporting PLAY9 Day, which will be held on Wednesday, July 29th.

Here are nine reasons why it's always a great time to play nine:

1. Nine-hole golf has an impeccable pedigree. The First U.S. Open in 1895 was played on a nine-hole course: Newport (R.I.) Golf Club. Arnold Palmer and Pete Dye, among other golf luminaries, learned the game on nine-hole courses.

2. The majority can't be wrong. According to the National Golf Foundation (NGF), 90 percent of U.S. golf facilities offer nine-hole rates – and 4,200 nine-hole courses dot the U.S. golf landscape. From coast to coast, playing nine is an easy way to enjoy the game.

3. It's an excellent way to start the day. Early risers can make the first footprints on a dewy fairway. You can get a round in and still make it to work or school on time.

4. It's a great way to end the day with others. Grab friends and co-workers for a post-work round to shake off the stress.

5. Because it's what you have time for. Would you rather play nine frequently or wait until the moon and stars align to play 18? Keep your game fresh by playing nine.

6. It's a wonderful way to learn the game. An NGF study shows 86 percent of beginners start with nine-hole rounds. You can more comfortably develop your game and learn Rules and etiquette without the stress and time commitment of 18 holes.

7. It's the best way to support someone who is learning how to play. You already love the game. A study by Sports & Leisure Research Group revealed that 60 percent of golfers believe a nine-hole round is an outstanding way to introduce a non-golfer to the game. Give back to the game and get a friend or family member hooked.

8. You can do it forever. Golf is a game for a lifetime. Playing nine holes is the perfect way to keep players of all ages and abilities engaged in friendly competition.

9. Your nine-hole round is legit! The USGA's Golf Handicap Information Network® (GHIN) showed a 13 percent year-over-year increase in nine-hole scores posted in the two months following the program's launch last July. You can post a nine-hole score to maintain your Handicap Index. Click here to see how.