Longer. Straighter. These are the words most frequently heard when listening to the marketing ads from golf equipment companies. If you pay attention to their advertisements, you will no doubt come away thinking that the best and most reliable way to improve your scores is to hit your driver farther off the tee and your irons longer from the fairway. Conventional wisdom states that it’s easier to hit an 8 iron than it is to hit a 7 iron, so if you just hit your driver a little longer you will have a shorter shot into the green. Because you are closer to the green, you will hit a shorter club on your approach shot, thereby hitting it closer to the hole. Being closer to the hole will result in fewer putts and by definition result in having lower score. Okay, there is some amount of truth to that logic. But let me ask this question: if you are one that has taken advantage of all the technological advances, can you say that your scores have dropped proportionally? Is your handicap that much lower now than it was?
So, here’s a challenge that will enable you to determine whether distance is a primary factor in helping you lower your scores, and it’ an easy one. Move up one tee box on every hole and see if your scores come down – spot yourself the extra distance without the new clubs. There are reams of data out there to suggest that your scores won’t be consistently better (although you may have more fun and play quicker).
My interest as a PGA Professional at Estero CC is to help members play better golf, not to sell more drivers. So, what do I suggest that will help you improve your scores? The short answer is to chip and putt better. I would love to see every member spend at least as much time chipping and putting as he or she spends on the driving range. Practice from the hole back to the tee. Place five tees in a circle around the cup 3-4 feet away and putt three balls from each location. Go around the circle twice and you have hit 30 putts; record how many you make out of 30. If you rarely miss that 4-footer, your scores will improve. Next, practice hitting long putts across the green. If you lag that 50-footer within a few feet, and you have gained confidence in your ability on those short ones, your scores will improve. Next go to the chipping green and hit ten chips from just off the green and putt them all out. Record how many times you get up and down in two shots. Your scores will improve. Now move a little farther from the hole and hit ten pitch shots to the green and record how many times you get up and down. The better you get at that, the better your scores will be. When you do go to the range, spend more time on hitting wedges than you do on hitting driver. Your scores will improve.
The golf staff is here to help you in any way we can – and we want to see your scores improve. Let us know how we can help!
Estero Country Club felt little to no impact from Tropical Storm Gordon. Other than ruining anyone’s outdoor barbeque plans the storm was mostly uneventful. We only received a total of an inch of rain and our new trees made it through unscathed. Grass growing continues to be the name of the game for the golf course maintenance department. We are pushing the turf on the front 9 as much as possible to encourage lateral growth in the hopes of the sprigs filling in faster. Everything is moving along as planned with no major set-back at this point.
Landscape work continues along the course. 400 Slash Pines and Cypress Trees were installed on holes 1, 2, 14 and 15 along the railroad tracks. We are expecting a delivery of 120 Sabal Palms next week which will be planted in the same area. Staff will continue working on the course, removing old landscaping and installing new in accordance with our landscape plan.
The remaining landscape work to be completed around the clubhouse focuses on the tennis court area. Plants are expected to be delivered this week along with additional mulch. Completion is not far away. The new Canary Island Date Palms have been installed at the front of the clubhouse along with new Zoysia grass sod and it looks spectacular!
Clarke Construction is scheduled to be on property beginning next week to continue with punch list items. They will also begin construction of the new landscape retaining wall that is to be installed out back of the clubhouse. After this is complete, work will begin on installing the “Bunker Solutions” bunker liner on certain bunkers with high faces to prevent wash-outs. They will also be putting the ‘G-Angle” bunker sand into the traps and compacting with a plate compactor to a depth of 6 inches. We expect all this work to be complete by early October.
Please enjoy this week’s drone videos!
Through the first three weeks of August, we have recorded 7.5” of rain here at Estero Country Club. As the overall water table in Southwest Florida continues to rise, the golf course is beginning to get saturated. This is good news on the holes that we are still trying to grow grass on, however, it is bad news in other areas as we are trying to mow grass, fertilize, aerify and move large equipment around in general.
The golf course maintenance staff is spending a tremendous amount of time and effort repairing “wash-outs” after these rains. The soil is retrieved when possible but in many cases, new soil needs to be brought in. The ground is then leveled and compacted. We have begun sodding many of the reoccurring problems in the hopes that when established the root system will hold the soil in place and prevent future wash-outs. This is a very slow, tedious process that is all a part of growing in a golf course in the summer in Southwest Florida.
The front 9 holes continue to grow-in nicely. Weekly fertilization continues, and we have begun mowing tees, fairways, roughs and greens on the first holes that were planted 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8. The remaining holes are about 2 weeks behind will catch up soon enough.
We remain on schedule and our opening will be based on the weather over the next 6 weeks. Although the back 9 may look almost playable from the road, I can assure you that there is much work still to be done and we ask you to please continue to observe the no entry signs as all the turf is still very fragile. We have found a few golf balls on the course and we ask that you refrain from any player on the course until we are open.
Many areas along lake banks still need to be grown in along with some spots on fairways and roughs. Smoothing of the playing surfaces continues through aerification, rolling and sand top-dressing and will be ongoing over the next month. We will soon begin to lower the mowing heights, slowly bringing them down to playing condition height over the next 6 weeks. This is not something we want to rush, as we do not want to stress the plant that is still in the growing in process.
Our goal to have the golf course construction completed and all grass planted by July 31st has been achieved!
Sprigging crews installed the last of the Latitude 36 rough sprigs around the practice area on Tuesday morning. This is a big accomplishment and was necessary to keep the overall project on schedule. Although the entire course has been grassed, it will be necessary over the next couple of months to bring in sod occasionally to repair washouts and sod areas that are slow to come along such as on mounds, slopes, and lake banks. At this point, the grow-in process remains on schedule despite a nearly 3-week stretch in mid-July without a drop of rain. We have caught a few small rain showers over the last couple of days and we are hoping this is a sign of things to come. The most important factor at this point in plant growth is soil moisture. Our irrigation pumps are running at 100% virtually 24 hours a day. With our extremely sandy soil profile here at Estero Country Club sometimes the irrigation alone is not enough. That is when we depend on timely rain showers to saturate the soil. The most difficult areas to manage moisture is on hills, mounds, slopes and along lake banks. We all know that water tends to roll downhill and lake banks are always a challenge due to a lack of irrigation coverage in these areas.
Clarke Construction will remain on site over the next month or so completing the cleanup and punch list items.
- The remainder of the brick pavers for the practice area has been delivered. The installation will continue later this week and be completed by the end of next week.
- Landscape install at the Clubhouse continues. We are expecting the last couple of trees, Canary Island Date Palms, to be delivered and installed next week. Mulch has been delivered and staff will begin installation as plant material is positioned in the ground.
- The delivery and installation of nearly 140 trees for the front 9 of the golf course will begin next week. This delivery of trees does not include any of the trees that are designated for the railroad track area. That portion of the project will begin in about 3 weeks. Work on golf course landscaping will continue in the coming weeks as we finish the Clubhouse portion of the project.
- The sprigs and sod on the back 9 have finally reached a point that we can begin applying herbicides to combat the heavy weed pressure. Our goal is to have about 60% grass coverage before we begin the herbicide application process to prevent any damage to the sprigs and/or sod. During the grow-in process, we fully expect to see an abundance of weeds throughout the course. Excess water increased fertilizer amounts, and bare soil is a perfect storm and ideal condition for weed growth.
- With the greens being planted in 3 different phases, each set is at a different stage in the grow-in process. The first greens to be sprigged, the back 9, have achieved about 90% grass coverage in just 8 weeks. They are being mowed frequently and in fact, we even did a verticut for the first time last week. We have also started to back off the fertilization slightly on these as an abundance of Nitrogen is simply not necessary. The second set to be planted, the Putting Green, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 are almost 3 weeks old and mowed for the first time on Monday. Weekly top-dressing, rolling and fertilization continues as they are filling in ahead of schedule. The final set to be grassed, the Chipping Green, Nursery Green, 1, 4, 5 and 9 are approaching their 2nd week in the ground and it won’t be long before they catch up to the second set.
Check out our first update!
Senior Golf Tips
As a senior, your golf game may not be as strong as it was in your younger days.
Fortunately, by adjusting your swing and practicing until you’re comfortable, you can continue to shoot low scores every time you hit the links.
As you age, it’s only natural to lose some of your flexibility. When this happens, producing the correct golf swing is easier said than done.
It’s never easy to age, especially as someone who enjoys golf, but there are a few things you can do to improve your swing.
Check Your Stance
First things first, check your stance to determine if it’s too wide. The wider your stance the more difficult it is to achieve the necessary range of motion in your hips.
By narrowing your stance, you will immediately notice an increase in the range of motion of your lower body.
Tip: this also puts less stress on your hips, thus allowing you to avoid injuries and/or soreness.
Once you adjust your stance, it’s time to focus on foot position. This can mean many things, so here’s the one detail you need to remember: as a right-handed golfer, your left foot should point at 11 o’clock and your right foot at 1 o’clock.
If your right foot is pointing more toward 11 or 12 o’clock, it’s more difficult to turn your hips on your backswing.
Practice Makes Perfect
You can’t expect to change your golf swing overnight. Instead, you need to practice your new swing, time and time again, until it feels natural.
Here’s a training exercise to help you get started:
- Point your left foot toward 10 o’clock
- Take a few practice swings to get a feel for the stance
- Once you practice a few times, speed things up until you’re at “full power”
- Continue to narrow your stance, always making sure your right foot is at 1 o’clock and your left foot is at 10 o’clock
With this exercise guiding you, along with regular practice, you can adjust your golf swing as a senior to better suit your age, health and playing style.
The front 9 is coming together and we are on track to meet our grassing goals for the remaining holes. This past month has been a challenge as we are trying to grow grass, begin cultural practices on the back while also preparing the front 9 for grassing. By the end of the month we should have everything grassed and we can focus our attention on executing our landscape plan for the golf course.
- The final six greens to be grassed, the chipping green, nursery green, 1, 4, 5 and 9 will be completed this Friday, July 20. The previously grassed greens are growing and on schedule.
- Holes 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 fairways, tees and roughs were all grassed this past week. You will see irrigation running continuously throughout the day to keep adequate moisture levels in the soil and keep the sprigs cool.
- Much irrigation work is being performed by our staff to prepare these areas for grassing. As greens, bunkers and tees are altered and moved, so must our irrigation piping, electric and sprinkler heads. This is a large undertaking that requires time and labor.
- Final shaping is taking place on holes 1, 4, 5, 9 and the practice area and we can expect to start seeing grass laid next week. We expect all grassing to be complete on the golf course by July 31.
- On the back 9, we have begun cultural practices – mowing, aerifying, verticutting, top-dressing and fertilizing the tees, roughs, and fairways, pushing them to grow and smooth out as soon as possible. During the grow-in process, it is common to see an abundance of weeds growing in the new turf. With areas of soil exposed, this creates a void where weeds tend to thrive. When we achieve approximately 60% coverage of turf, we can begin herbicide applications to combat the weed pressure and not risk damaging the growing sprigs. Some spraying has begun in areas that are filling in quickly while others are still a week or two away.
- Landscape installation at the Clubhouse is now underway. The golf course maintenance staff will be extremely busy over the next couple of weeks, as the majority of the nearly 4,300 trees, plants and flowers are planted by our “in-house” staff. Upon completion, sod will be installed around the Clubhouse and we will then resume with the golf course landscaping.
- Areas that were “washed out” or damaged during the torrential rains that we experienced last Tuesday are being worked on. Soil that was washed away was retrieved and put back in place where possible, many areas required bringing in new soil to fill the washouts. Areas that may be continuous washout areas will be sodded vs. sprigged where necessary. This is a time consuming, painstaking process that unfortunately is inevitable living in Southwest Florida in the summertime. Keep your fingers crossed that we do not experience another storm like this for some time.
Check out the first video update!
Want to see the rest? Check out our YouTube page!
It has been an extremely busy week on the golf course at Estero Country Club. As holes on the front nine are being finished and prepped for sod and sprigs, others are being shaped. Good news is grass is growing on the back 9. The project is certainly moving along quickly, and it is amazing to see how everything is coming together.
- The greens were sprigged this past Saturday on holes 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 and the putting green. The sprigs were planted at a rate of 40 bushels/1000 ft2 – in comparison to the rate of planting on the back 9 at 25 bushels/1000 ft2. It is common practice when re-grassing a golf course in South Florida to plant at a higher rate to speed up grown in. This allows the front to catch up with the back. The remaining 6 greens will be sprigged on or around July 20.
- The Clubhouse Irrigation project is virtually complete. We have begun installing trees in front of the Clubhouse along Vintage Trace Circle. These beautiful Magnolia trees were shipped all the way from North Florida to Estero. We are expecting the install of Sabal and Canary Island Date Palms this week. We will also begin installing plant material around the clubhouse. This process will take us 2-3 weeks. Once plants are in the ground we will lay the new sod.
- Rough, fairway and tee sprigging on holes 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 will begin today, July 11. This will take 2-3 days to complete. On or about July 25, we will sprig the final holes, 1, 4, 5, 9 and the Driving Range.
- Concrete cart path repairs continue on the front 9 as does the brick paver installation around the practice area. Both projects should be complete in about a week.
- The holes on the back 9 are growing in nicely. The greens have reached about 80% grass coverage. We continue to mow, top-dress, roll and fertilize the greens weekly. The fairways, tees and rough are a few weeks behind the greens but are also starting to green up. These areas are also fertilized weekly.
- Those of you that were around Estero Country Club yesterday can attest to the intensity of the storm that rolled through in the afternoon. This brought heavy winds, hail and almost 3 inches of rain in an hour. We experienced some “washouts” on the course. Our staff along with Clarke Construction will be working diligently over the next couple of days to make the necessary repairs. This type of intense storm activity is common for this time of year in Southwest Florida and we are lucky this was our first “washout” experience. It is extremely important that we get the sprigs down and growing in as quickly as possible to prevent any further issues.
This week’s communication update includes “Fun Facts” about the scope in “numbers” of the work being done on the golf course and around the Clubhouse:
- The Greens are planted with Tif-Eagle sprigs at a rate of 25 bushels per 1000ft2. After planting, irrigation is applied to the Greens at an average of 6-7 minutes every half hour throughout the day. During the Greens construction, 1578 cubic yards of a 90% sand, 10% peat mix will be added to the Greens.
- Fertilization is applied to the greens every 7 days at a rate of ½ lb. of Nitrogen per 1000ft2.
- After the Fairways, Roughs and Tees are sprigged, they will be irrigated at least once every hour and will require weekly fertilization for about the first 10 weeks.
- During the restoration, we will install over 270,000ft2 of sod. This equates to 540 pallets of sod! Crews have already laid over 100,000ft2 of sod on the back 9 holes.
- 680’ of new Sea Wall was installed on 2 and 16. This includes pilings ranging in size from 3’ to 8’ driven into the ground and placed every 5’. All of this work was completed in under 3 weeks.
- An estimated 7,640 cubic yards of earthwork will take place during construction. This includes excavation of lakes on holes 5, 12, 14, 15 and 16.
- It will take 1,629 tons of “G-Angle” bunker sand to fill the Bunkers when complete. This is nearly 70 dump truck loads of sand.
- 3,300’ of storm drain pipe has been replaced on the course. In addition, 6,330’ of drainage pipe along with 58 new catch basins will be installed throughout the golf course, properly draining low lying areas in fairways in rough.
- 5,700 ft2 of “Rip Rap” rock will be installed on the golf course. Most notably on holes 5 and 18.
- As part of our landscaping plan, we will be planting over 13,000 trees and plants. 4,300 will go to the clubhouse, 3,800 planted near and along the railroad tracks on holes 1, 2, 14 and 15. Almost 5,000 plants and trees will be installed on the golf course itself. Out of all these plants, the “in-house” golf course maintenance staff will be installing 85% of them. The large trees will be installed by an outside contractor. These trees and plants will require daily watering by staff until fully established.
- The Clubhouse irrigation installation will require over 800 new sprinkler heads, 6000’ of drip tube irrigation, 3,000’ of pipe and 13,800’ of electric control wire all installed around the Clubhouse area.
After nearly two months of construction, the back 9 holes at Estero Country Club are starting to resemble a golf course again. During the restoration process we have celebrated certain milestones along the way. The construction start date, first greens shaping, initial grass being laid, and last Friday we mowed new grass for the first time. We took advantage of a dry afternoon and mowed and edged all of the collars on the back 9.
- As previously mentioned, all the collars on the back 9 have been sodded. We have also sodded steep slopes around greens as well as around drain basins in the fairways. This week we will begin sodding rough areas around bunkers, slopes and lake banks.
- The back 9 greens were sprigged on Tuesday, June 5th. During this process, the sprigs were delivered from Pike Creek Turf Farm in Adel, Georgia. They arrived via refrigerated truck to ensure they remain fresh while in transit. Prior to planting, the golf maintenance staff applied “pre-plant” fertilizers to all the greens, this will provide the plant the nutrients that are needed to begin the grow in the process. The sprigs were spread out on the greens by hand at a rate of 25 bushels per 1000 ft2 followed directly by a tractor with a slicing and rolling unit on the back that cuts and rolls the sprigs into the green. Immediately after completing each green, irrigation is applied continuously to ensure adequate moisture is present in the soil at all times. Heavy irrigation will continue throughout the first couple of weeks of growth combined with weekly fertilizer applications. After the first couple of weeks, once the sprigs have established healthy roots and the grass begins to grow laterally across the green surface we will then back off the water slightly and continue weekly fertilization. We will look to start mowing the greens after about week 3 or 4. This will be another milestone that we will be sure to share with you!
- Concrete cart path work has been completed on the back 9. Repairs have been made to broken sections of path and new cart paths have been laid on certain holes per the architects plans. On hole number 10 you will see the cart path has moved closer to the tees that have been properly aligned to the fairway. The path on number 13 has been raised up as much as 4 feet in some areas where we would encounter flooding in the past that would render the path undrivable. By rerouting the path slightly leading from 17 green to 18 tees, we were able to alleviate some flooding problems that we have seen in the past.
- Landscaping work continues on holes 12 and 13. Copperleaf, Cocoplum, Green Buttonwood, Wax Myrtles and Bougainvillea have been planted to add some native plant material as well as some color on these holes. We are expecting another plant delivery this week at which time we will continue our install on holes 10, 11 and 17.
- The seawall on #2, as well as the replacement wall cap on #5, were finished this week. This completes all of our seawall work on the course.
- Contractors are continuing with the installation of the irrigation at the Clubhouse. This week they are working around the administrative offices as well as along Vintage Trace towards the tennis courts. The irrigation install is still behind by a couple of weeks, but progress is being made. They have allocated more staff to our project to try and make up some time. Hopefully with the weather cooperating they will be able to complete the front of the Clubhouse by weeks end.
- Rough shaping of the practice and cart staging area continues. The golf maintenance staff will be installing “sleeves” underneath the brick paver and concrete areas throughout the practice and staging areas. These sleeves will prove valuable in the future allowing us to run electric, water or any other utilities underground without disturbing the pavers or concrete. Base rock is scheduled to be installed later this week throughout the staging area and leveling and final shaping will begin.
- Clarke Construction has finished all of the stripping and burying of material in the disturbed areas on the front 9. They are now working on rough shaping throughout the front.
Check out this week’s video updates!
As we started to experience last week with 2.5” of rain, we can definitely say the dry season has come to a screeching halt this week with an accumulated 8” of rain. Forecasters are keeping an eye on a low- pressure area in the Gulf of Mexico that has some potential for development as we near the holiday weekend.
While we do not expect a major storm, it certainly guarantees our continued rain pattern. Construction was slowed slightly this week, mostly with the laying of concrete for cart paths but the past few days have been relatively dry and we expect to pour additional concrete in the next few days. The cart path work is completed on hole 12 thru 15 and started on 10.
- Rough shaping continues on the remaining holes on the back 9 and should be completed in the next 2 weeks barring any weather-related delays
- Stripping and burying material including the driving range and the staging areas continues on the front 9
- Storm drain pipework is 90% completed, the only section remaining but we expect to be completed by the end of today is a small section on the back of #3’s green tee
- Irrigation installation continues around the Clubhouse and the surrounding common area. Our goal continues to have this work completed by June 1. This part of our work is about a week behind schedule
- Clubhouse plant material installation should commence the first week of June
- Our first plant material delivery was this morning for the golf course. Much of the initial planting will focus on holes 12, 13 and 14. Large trees that are to be installed on the back 9 will be delivered Wednesday and installation will begin immediately. Although landscaping will be ongoing throughout the summer we are focusing on large plant material installation first to avoid any new grass damage with equipment.
The most dramatic change this week continues on hole #16 with the installation of the seawall. As you can see from the pictures below, the work is almost complete and looks awesome! As soon as we complete the work on #16 we will start reconstruction of the seawall on #2.
Enjoy this week’s drone videos: