The quiet heroes behind course maintenance are the professionals who start their day at 5:00 am to ensure your experience is consistent and enjoyable every time. They like hearing praise as well as constructive feedback. Often they only get the complaints, but they show up every day regardless.
It can be especially frustrating to maintenance staff to receive one-off reviews on social media that criticize temporary maintenance measures that unfairly reflect on the course and staff. We encourage you to leave your detailed feedback here. Below is a link to a detailed maintenance conditions questionnaire.
We’d love to start a constructive conversation that benefits the course and educates golfers. This survey will ask you to rate many aspects of the course including greens, fairways, tees, pace of play, course layout, playability, water features, bunkers, carts and cart path, driving range, level of difficulty, staff interaction, and clubhouse. Thanks ahead of time for your participation!
Golf maintenance professionals take every detail into consideration to stay prepared for anything. This includes the amount of golfer traffic on the course, the weather, the climate, soil conditions, water conditions, wildlife, insects, and biological pests.
The job of the course Superintendent and crew is not easy on a good day, but they work tirelessly to balance their maintenance budget against the needs of the turf grass and demands of the customers. Most of the time these two forces line up in their goals, but when they don’t the Superintendent has to make tough decisions.
At Crane Field Golf Course, it is not different. The 130 acres of turf grass has challenges seen and unseen by the public. The public is appreciative of the hard work of the maintenance professionals and the staff is appreciative of the golfer’s green fees that go toward wages and maintenance budgets.
Maintenance wants to be invisible if possible, but they are always working on something to improve your experience. A golf course is a living, growing entity, it never sits still! Most seasoned players are familiar with common maintenance practices and realize it is required. New players can learn a lot by reading pages like this, and publications by credentialed organizations like the GCSA Golf Course Superintendents Association, which we are a part of.
No player wants to be interrupted by maintenance cart, ropes, ground up repair sign, and so forth. But nature often has other ideas in mind! Maintenance professionals get to know the course intimately and are able to predict when problems will arise. To counteract know problems they take actions such as fertilizing, aerating, diverting cart path, and so forth.
Measures, such as aeration are not popular but the benefits far outweigh the potential problems if nothing is done. We also understand that playability is a concern. There is no denying that surface disruptions occur during maintenance, such as aeration, and that the course will play differently following certain maintenance procedures. It’s important not to lose sight of the long-term goal because of short-term inconvenience. The Superintendent will always put long term health of the course above temporary inconveniences.
Crane Field requires intensive maintenance and advanced horticulture practices to maintain a playable surface areas. The more you know about local conditions, it will make more sense what you are seeing on the ground. Below are some descriptions of practices we commonly get asked about
There are a few causes for variation in turf grass color. First, many spots on Crane field golf course are native wetlands with high salinity and tight clay soils. Grasses that grow in these areas tend to have a sage green color. You might notice the sage bushes and Russian Olive trees around the edges of the course. Those are the native colors in the area.
Second, depending on the time of year, some of the native grasses go dormant and turn yellow. These are usually high salinity areas that are being conditioned aggressively with calciums and gypsums and over-seeding to establish a healthy that will eventually be green all summer. (Many areas have shrunk a lot, but we anticipate more seasons to completely get rid of them.)
Third, fertilizer and other amendments like gypsum are fed through the irrigation system periodically which can leave a harmless white residue on grass blades. This washes off completely during the next watering or rain fall.
Fourth, you may see color variation depending on the humidity and amount of time it has been since the last watering has taken place. In the morning after the sprinklers have watered you would expect a darker color from moisture on grass blades and in soil. After windy or dry down periods grass can take on a white dusty look or even look purple or brownish. The grounds keepers watches for these signs on a daily basis.
Lastly, you may see color variations due the the different species of grass on the course. Because of the tight clay soil and salty conditions we over-seed often with native grasses, rye grasses, fescue, and seaside grass seed where the bluegrasses cannot survive.
There are not many trees that thrive in our tight clay soils and high salinity. Delicate care and soil amendment are required for most trees to survive more than three seasons. We have planted Honey Locusts, Box Elder, Ball Willows, Golden Willows, Green Willows, Australian Hybrid Willow, Weeping Willows, Russian Olives, Cottonless Cottonwoods, Cleveland Peach, Chokecherry, Austrian Pines, Cedars, Poplars, and various bushes. These have shown the most promise but still have a 90% mortality rate.
Crane Field is on the west side of I-15 and the Wasatch mountains where it gets very flat. The slow march of runoff and storm drains end at the great Salt Lake, and travels through and around the course. This flat terrain is welcome for walkers on the course, but causes dramatic fluctuation in water levels during storm events in our ponds and channels. This slow drainage amplifies the high salinity levels in our soil and water by mingling with salty subsurface waters, which can cause salts to rise to the surface, damaging turf grass, and turning things white. Because of the water challenges, drains become critical in fairways and other key locations to keep players high and dry. We have implemented a multi-season plan to add drains and cement cart path to improve pace-of-play and cut down on wear and tear to fragile areas.
Some of the most common reasons include repairing summer heat die-off or winter freeze. There may also be cases where we are adding drainage or repairing leaking irrigation. This work will result in much better turf and greens in the future, although it does require some player inconvenience right now. It is helpful if golfers try avoid them with their golf carts even if they are unmarked.
Crane Field Golf Course was build around natural wetlands, drainage channels, and native grasslands. This makes for interesting terrain with lots of wildlife and riparian plant life, but requires diligent attention to maintain.
When the course was built these areas were closely protected so they would not be compromised. Meaning, we were careful not to dredge or deep disc these areas to protect the native wildlife and biodiversity. This careful planning worked and a diverse bird and wildlife population still remains, in addition to the pleasant wetland plant life such as cattails.
As part of our on going commitment to conservation efforts, a perpetual Conservation Easement has been placed on the course property to protect it from future development. This is designed to ensure it will be available for public recreation for generations.
We are committed to using environmentally sustainable practices. This includes standards set by Audubon International Certified practices (specifically ACPS for Golf ). However, we cannot accomplish our goals in a bubble. It takes the patience of the public to understand the issues and continue to support courses that practice sustainability, and bear with temporary inconveniences like turf discolorations and so forth. Thank you for your support!
March – Aeration on thin fairways, in addition to the normal schedule.
April – Overseed thin fairway areas on the front and back nine.
April – Deep tine aeration of greens in addition to traditional aeration and topdressing of greens.
May – Deep tine spike aeration on thin fairways and thin rough areas
Sept – Overseed weak tees and thin fairways again.
Sept – Traditional aeration in rough followed by gypsum application
Oct – Topdress humates on tees and fairways
2019 – #15 North bunker- sand removed and utilized in #16 fairway bunker. Drainage repaired in both, greenside bunker reduced in size.
South side sand replacement moving excess to #14 fairway
#17 greenside, reshape with addition sand. Move excess sand to #10 fairway
2020 – #5 move sand to #6 fairway, replace sand in both #5 greenside bunkers. #6 move sand to #2 fairway, replace sand in #6 greenside
2021 – #8 move sand to #7 and #9 fairway bunker, replace sand in both #8 greenside. #12 move sand to #11 greenside, replace sand in #12 greenside
Reduce size of #11 by half.
2022 – #13 move sand to #14 fairway, replace sand in 13
#14 move greenside sand to #14 fairway, replace greenside
2023 – #18 move sand to #10 fairway, replace sand in both #18 greenside bunkers
Mar – Fertilizer spikes at the base of trees
April – Remove weeds around trees and shrubs
April – Trim shrubs and Trees
May – Weed planter boxes, replace lost bark
May – Cut tree rings, add bark
July – Spot water weak trees
Sept – Plan new trees, stake, and cut rings
Sept – Fertilizer spikes at base of trees
Oct- Put up deer nets