Michael S. Williams

Pomona, California 91767
(818) 425-6142

 

Consultant

Cresta Verde Golf Course
1295 Cresta Road
Corona, California 92879
September 2014 - Present

 

One of America's 500 oldest golf courses Cresta Verde was originally founded as Parkridge Country Club in 1927 by one of Hollywood's greatest western stars Randolph Scott. The Par 70, regulation 18 golf course is located in the heart of the Inland Empire in Corona. With many elevation changes throughout the property the yardage ranges from 5,236 from the forward tees to 6,065 from the back tees which offers all golfers a chance to use every golf in the bag.

I was brought on to view the golf course through another set of eyes as the property didnt have a true "Superintendent" on board. There was a foreman who directed the maintenance crew to perform the required tasks but certain things of priority weren't taken care of in a timely manner and the General Manager could not watch over the crew and perform her managerial duties all at the same time. My responsibility was to drive the entire course where I would walk every green, take notes on things needed to be done and plan for the upcoming week. At the end of my visit I would review my notes with the General Manager and she would pass them to the foreman to be carried out.

Since the economic downturn the property was going through some playing condition challenges when I started. Turf coverage needed to be improved, pesticide and foliar fertilizer programs were absent and the maintenance crew was looking for direction. While these three components are important to the success of the property there are many others that needed to be addressed and improved upon per the General Manager. With all of the social media outlets for the public to cast their opinions on it was important to react to their feedback and start making adjustments accordingly. For the most part any golf course is known for the conditions of their greens and Cresta Verde is no different and most of the public's concern was in this area. Now with a starting point and the approval of the General Manager, I had the soils tested to see what we were dealing with and soon after the results were known we began applying certain products to restore deficiencies. Within a short amount of time you could notice the turf quality improving as the greens were sprayed with foliar fertilizer products every 10-14 days. As conditions improved I introduced the growth regulator Primo to the spray program to help encourage lateral growth and leaf density to increase ball speed. With that part of the transition showing positive results I wanted to work on the mechanical end of this by formulating a program of aerification and regular verticuttings during the year to help remove a spongy thatch layer. I suggested that a normal aerification be scheduled for the fall of 2014 but due to several tournaments so close together there wasn't enough time for the greens to heal 100% so instead the greens were 1/4" tined to help remove thatch and increase pore space in the root zone. With good results from this, a typical large tine aerification was scheduled for the spring of 2015 and one in the fall as well. In addition, verticutting was introduced on a regular schedule to keep the putting surfaces smooth with consistent ball speeds.

With the greens under a solid program it was time to focus on other details that needed to be addressed. With a small crew it's understandable that all areas will not receive the time needed to make improvements. Keeping the golf course mowed, irrigation and basic tasks all take up valuable labor during the week but I always have been a believer that the small things stand out the most to the guests who we want return business from. One of the first things that stood out was all of the bunkers had ground under repair signs for they have been overgrown by surrounding grasses. Signs, white paint and ropes always call your attention to something and most of the time it points out an issue that needs to be repaired. I wanted to renovate these bunkers and open them up again to make them playable. When things began to slow down in the winter of 2014/15 the crew began to work in the bunkers and open them up one by one by removing weeds/grasses from the actual bunker, create a sharp edge and remove all rocks from the sand. What was once noticed as neglect the bunkers have a new lease on life thanks to the work of the maintenance crew.

 

 

The bunker renovation is only one example that has been made to improve conditions. Over the past year these have been completed:

Over the months that followed the golf course improved condition wise as the maintenance crew stepped up on their end especially when a foreman change was made. The tasks I noted were now being handled quicker and even things that were on the radar were starting to be done when the crew had available time. The General Manager mentioned that "year to date" rounds and revenues were up while expenses stayed flat. Thats always great news considering that the golf course industry has struggled the last 10 years or so attracting new golfers. As the property moves into the fall/winter of 2015 there are many more things to be done to improve conditions. It was been a rewarding first year here at Cresta Verde GC and I am looking forward to providing all the assistance the golf course needs to make it a better place to play.

 

 

 

 

Cresta Verde GC