The CSGA Links Volume 6 Issue 4 August 2018 - Page 24

COURSES repair with. So I kind of took it as an onion and kept peeling the onion back or building the onion out each year. We can’t just do it all in one step. Now I have my plug nursery up to about 15,000 square feet. I’ve got this massive nursery behind the shop, it’s really cool, and so ultimately I could replace a whole green if I had to. AP: The idea of the plug nursery being that when you are re-sodding you have these phenomenal old variet- ies of grass that go back to 1926 when the course first opened and so they match. SR: It’s a mix of German bent, it’s a mix of Velvet, it’s a mix of Pencross it’s a mix of Poa. I mean some of this Poa here is better than anything else. It’s bullet proof. It’s matured and transferred to a permanent type [of grass]. It’s pretty good stuff and when we do do plugging it matches really, really nice. Tree Removal AP: How do you take down trees in a university run forest? You haven’t gone anywhere beyond where course was when originally built, have you? SR: Correct. Folks will come in and say Oakmont did this and whoever did that. But our aerial photograph from 1934 is our template. We are not clear cut. We have never been clear cut. But we are restoring the tree avenues or the playing avenues with the trees back to 1934. That’s the first documented tree line footprint so to speak. A lot of it was agronomy because around greens we cut a little bit more. I’m not an architect and don’t pretend to be an architect but I do know where east and west and south are. And back in the day, when they built the 16th green, the trees were 60 feet tall, and we just took one behind the 16th green that was 120 feet tall. AP: That’s quite the difference. What do you have to do within the confines university structure to be able to take down trees? SR: Originally it was really hard. You know, ‘What are you doing?’ We picked an area between the third and fourth holes outside the clubhouse. We just wanted to come up with a stagger row that matched the 1934 aerial. We did that. We were able to clear out the underbrush and we were able to get the native grasses looking fairly good. And it was accepted. So the first year we just did one area and everybody loved it it was wonderful and it was a success. So we used that equity in year two and onward, and with a logging company we were doing a hundred trees a day… Originally, to answer your question, it was a hard sell. They had a plan, they had a need, they had a want, but didn’t go through with it. So year one we said try it, see if you like it. Year two we went two times that, year three we went three times, and right through 2009 we were taking down a thousand a year or more. We just had a huge storm blow through Connecticut and there are a bunch of courses and a bunch of towns and a bunch of schools closed and they really suffered. Mother Nature’s way of pruning with macro bursts and microbursts and tornadoes and that kind of thing. We had several bits of damage around the property but most of it was inconsequential. Ten years ago we may not have re-opened this year if that storm had come through here. AP: I remember years ago when you had trees down over the driveway and the course was closed a week or two. The smallest green at Yale is “The Short” par-3 fifth 24 | CSGA Links // August 2018 SR: Yeah, that was 2009 and 2010. With the hurricanes that came through. One had easterly winds and one had west- erly winds and they both presented all kinds of challenges. We still have some dead soldiers laying in the woods out here. We suffer when storms come through but I think we’ve been pretty good at identifying who the weak sol-