Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The cleanup has begun....and it's Master's week!

As most of the valley is still on spring break, and JH Mountain Resort had closing weekend we began bringing on a few staff to start cleaning up around the shop and removing signage and snow stakes from around the property.  Our summer staff is shaping up to be really solid again this year.  We will be returning nearly half our staff from last year which is pretty significant for seasonal staffing operations in the valley.  We are bringing back an irrigation tech, grounds foreman and assistant in training, as well as, several key operators.  It's time for the Masters as well.  This really does kick off the golf season for many of the northern tier areas of the country.  For us this week usually denotes the beginning of the beginning as golf is still several weeks away.  That being said please be respectful of the fact that the property is closed and there is still a lot of wildlife and many hazards out there that we can't control.  The turf is starting to come out of dormancy and this is a crucial time to let it do it's thing without a lot of foot traffic creating compaction in areas that need to "breathe".  The south side of Spring Gulch Rd. holes #9-11 is still off limits due to our NRO restrictions.  The snow may be gone but the forage is still thin for the moose and they are still very vulnerable to added stresses this time of year.

Right now the course is 60% clear of snow and we are getting a good look at the what's underneath.  All in all it's pretty good.  The vole damage is not great, but could certainly be worse.  We had a little pink snow mold breakthrough on some fairways but all that requires is warmer temps and sunshine to start recovering.  The greens are looking great underneath the tarps so far and we will be pulling those starting next week and possibly getting ready for an early season aerification the week after that just prior to opening.  As valley residents know April can be such a toss up with the weather, and our progress in getting the course in shape is so dependent on that as well.  We've got some nice days ahead to start doing some general cleaning on the course; removing downed limbs, picking up trash and raking up vole damage around greens.  Getting the shop area in order and organizing all of the equipment we will need to get started once all the snow is gone.  This is the time of year that there are a million things to do with the time and resources to only chip that's what we will be doing over the next couple of weeks.  Management has told us to shoot for an April 23rd opening date so mark your calendar and be prepared to play the course in it's most "rustic" condition.  More than likely bunkers will be ground under repair for opening as they sometimes are.  Again, so much depends on the weather and the ability to get staff here early.  Stay tuned for updates on opening and course conditions as we get to see the rest of the snow covered areas.  Hard to see in the picture below, but this was the first Mountain Bluebird of the season I spotted the third week of March.  There was even a female close by which is a little unusual that early as the males show up first to scope out a nest prior to the females arriving.

Look close...March 20th...first Mtn Bluebird of the season?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Wasn't yesterday the first day of spring?

Just when it looked like we were on our way to an early opening winter reared it's ugly head once again.  Should've known better.  It was just over a week ago all of our greens were clear of snow and other areas of golf course were starting poke through.  Since then the resort has seen nearly 50" of snow and we have a new 6-8" on the course.  The early indications, based on what we could see, were pretty good.  The snow mold damage looks to be pretty minimal on fairways, tees, etc. which is good news.  The voles/mice definitely had good winter, from their perspective anyway.  Damage appears to be pretty widespread in the rough areas, too early to tell on the fairways, despite our fall efforts to keep them at bay.  We are ready to start with the early season clean up once the snow melts and  we have staff coming on board April 1st ramping up steadily through the month.

We are excited to get started and have some fun projects planned for the coming season.  We will be installing a new stair complex on #11 white tees, re-working the amenity pads at the teeing areas to bring some consistency to those areas and if all goes well we will be rebuilding the white and blue tees on #13 to enlarge and align those tees better.  We will continue to "clean up" native areas that are more frequently in play and provide more playable conditions.  We are pleased to announce, as well, that we will be having another visit from our Northwest USGA Agronomist this summer to evaluate our efforts after the last visit and give us some additional recommendations on playability and our agronomic program.  It's going to be a great summer and we can't wait to get started.

The cross country track is pretty beat up and we have stopped grooming for the season due to the thinness of the snowpack and due to the fact that we are now using the track to move around the course with our skid steer and snowmobile, which beats it up pretty good in our travels.  We still request that any travels on the course are limited to the track, or just adjacent to it.  With the current depths and moisture content of the snow this is a dangerous time to be setting tracks across fairways, tees, approaches and greens.  Packing the snow down this time of the year has a great potential to create ice with our extreme freeze thaw cycles so we ask you stay on or near the track.  The wildlife is entering into it's most critical time period for survival as well.  Food sources still aren't very abundant and they have used up a large amount of their winter fat over the course of the season.  We want to be extremely careful on the course and give all the wildlife plenty of room to maneuver and try not to spook them.  Thank you all for leashing your pets on the course as well, we have had zero reported negative wildlife interactions this winter, this is a for that since I took over as!

Have a great week!

Coyote hunting voles on #9

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March update

I hope everyone is enjoying warmer temperatures and last of the least down low.  We have gone from over 2' of snow as of my last update to 4-8" on the course.  We spent all of last week blowing the excess snow off the greens and since then they are almost completely clear as of today..maybe 80% clear in most cases.  The good news is there is no ice or snow mold to be concerned of, the flip side is since the snow is going so quickly there are some freeze/thaw concerns as we move forward without some insulation.  That's the game we play every spring with the snowpack, moisture, temperature, etc.  We will be monitoring the greens closely over the next 3-4 weeks before we think about removing the tarps and then away we go!  The big unknown is what the weather will do between now and early April. 

My staff and I, along with a few volunteers from the Grand Teton Lodge Company, volunteered last Saturday for the county's annual Moose Day.  We spent 7 hours patrolling the property and surrounding areas documenting moose and logging that information into JH NatureMapping software.  In total there were 73 volunteers that spent nearly 223 hours patrolling areas from Buffalo Valley to the southern end of Teton County and from Teton pass east up through the Gros Ventre drainage.  Volunteers identified 99 moose which was up slightly from last year and those numbers will be added to Wyoming Game and Fish's numbers to identify a total number for what is referred to as the "Teton Herd".  On JHGTC property we identified 6 moose: 1 bull, 2 cows and 3 yearlings.  That is the most on property that has been observed in the last 6 years!  I would like to think that our efforts with respect to closing the NRO areas and limiting traffic on the rest of the property is aiding in the increasing numbers.  So, in return, I would again like to thank everyone for staying on the CC track, leashing your pets and being respectful of the NRO area south of Spring Gulch Rd.

Keep checking back for updates regarding opening and how the course overwintered.  Have a great week.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

No signs of spring yet

As we reach February winter is still in full force here at JHGTC.  The prior couple of years have seen below average snowpack and warm February temperatures, even a couple of rain storms last year.  No sign of that...yet.  The snowpack at elevation is just under 100% YTD but with the cold temperatures this winter the snow has really held on and piled up.  We are currently under about 24" on the course which is what we would hope for this time of year. We typically end the season with 30-36" when we start blowing greens off the end of February or early March.  In addition, the snowpack is consistent throughout with no significant layers, ice, etc.  It's powder all the way to the ground, good news for the greens.  The only negative drawback from an agronomic perspective is that the voles don't have any resistance in their travels under the snow, so we are keeping out fingers crossed with respect to vole damage on the course..only time will tell.

Now that we are closing in on spring we've started ramping up our hiring efforts, getting budgets in order and laying the ground work for a great 2016 season of golf!  The cross country track is holding up well, albeit a little soft around the edges.  The wind blew early this week and the snow really set up on top so it didn't groom out as well as it has been.  That being said, it's still in good shape, the views are fantastic and the mom and twin moose that were born on the course 2 years ago have set up residence again.  Last seen on the north end of the property near holes #2-3.  Please be vigilant as you use the track as mom is still pretty protective of her young.  Don't forget that all users are required to pick up an arm band at the clubhouse in order to access the property.  Members are free of charge and guests arm bands are $100 for the season.  We've had mixed results with this and are not policing this with a great amount of effort as this is this first year we've implemented this policy.  Next year we will police and enforce more aggressively as we will have a year's worth of precedence behind us.  I wanted to thank everyone that is utilizing the track for adhering to our policy and staying on the track.  This year has been a great success from that perspective.  We are still having issues with users not leashing dogs while on the course.  We have been very patient with this and have tried to educate folks we see on the track with dogs off leash regarding skier safety and negative wildlife interactions.  If we can't get a handle on the problem we may have to consider enforcing the membership documents which state that "dogs are not allowed anywhere on JHGTC property unless assisting you in your travels."  We have chosen not to enforce this policy in the past in order to allow the local community a place to exercise their pets in the winter...responsibly. Dogs are still not allowed on the property between April 1st and December 1st.  We will be ramping up our enforcement efforts as the season goes on and next year violators will lose access privileges, so thank you in advance for leashing and cleaning up after your pets.

Volunteer opportunity.  We will be participating in the annual "moose count" in partnership with Nature Mapping of JH towards the end of February.  Volunteers spend a day or two in areas all over the valley counting and logging moose numbers and activity.  If anyone is interested in participating please feel free to reach out via e-mail and I can help coordinate participation around the golf course.

Have a great rest of the season and let us know if there's anything we can do in the mean time.


Mom and twin yearlings on #7

"When does the restaurant open...I'm hungry!"

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas

What a great 2015 we've had.  My staff and I have had some time off and are back at it already getting ready for next season.  The snow has finally started to really fly around here and there is a good 18" or so on the golf course insulating the turf and making for some beautiful scenery.  We've had several moose make their way on to the property, as they generally do this time of year, and the elk have finally made their way to refuge for the winter.

The cross country track is groomed and ready to go for the Holidays.  If you haven't heard already, the club has made some changes this winter season for the cross country track.  Members and guests are still welcome to use the track but we are requiring that everyone stop by the clubhouse from Monday-Friday and pick up an arm band and sign a liability waiver.  Members can use the track free of charge and guests are being charged $100 for an armband for winter use.  We will be policing the track a little more this year to ensure everyone has arm bands and are not venturing off the track.  It is so very important that everyone adhere to our regulations for winter use: Staying on the track and not setting boot, ski or snowshoe tracks anywhere other than on the track or just adjacent to it; dogs must be physically leashed (electronic collars are not permitted); do not cut through native areas or private property to access the track and keep your distance from wildlife.  We've already had several instances of folks setting boot tracks in areas that are off limits, including across a couple of greens so please stay on the track at all times. 

Merry Christmas to everyone and a Happy New Year!!!!!!!
Early winter full moon over the Tetons


Saturday, October 3, 2015

What a great season!!!

It's been a while since I've update the blog..thanks for your patience.  August and September turned out to be great months for the club.  The recent stretch of weather has been fantastic and somewhat unexpected.  Golf play was up, weddings went off without a hitch and restaurant has been serving up some amazing food.  The golf course has been in fantastic shape..tight, hard and fast.  We had the greens rolling 11 consistently throughout the period and pushed 13 on a couple of occasions for the Member-Guest and other high profile tournaments.  I have been getting great feedback on the consistency of the bunkers these last couple of months.  I believe we have found that perfect technique that works for majority of golfers and makes for the highest level of playability...out of a hazard...that is.

We are definitely winding down after the busiest September in my 8 years at the course, the whole valley seemed to not drop off after Labor Day like we used to see.  I think it's a trend that will stick with us in the valley moving forward.  Our "shoulder" seasons are shrinking :-( .   We are all but finished with aerification: tees, approaches, fairways and greens which we finished on Thursday.  We only have the driving range, tee deck and high traffic areas around the clubhouse left to complete.  We will be working hard moving forward getting ready for the snow...pruning up around the clubhouse, wrapping trees with deer barrier, removing leaves from the course in preparation of our fall snow mold mitigation, and all those little things that have to happen before we get buried with snow.  We certainly won't be waiting on the leaves to come down like we have had to do the last couple of years, something about all the rain and moderate summer temperatures had them turning and coming down more quickly this year.

We plan to close the course on Sunday, October 11th so get out and enjoy it while it lasts.  The greens aerification turned out great and they are putting surprisingly well.  After the 11th we have 20 days to "put the course to bed" and tarp the greens.  It's always a mad dash to get everything done so we can come out looking good in the spring.

A reminder to members and homeowners around the course.  Once we close for the season we would ask that you refrain from walking on the course, especially with dogs, as we will begin spraying for snow mold, doing tree work and will have large equipment in random spots at random times.  It really is a point of safety for the club and foot traffic can affect the viability of the spray we put out, affecting quality later down the road.  Once the we get our first significant snowfall and the cross country track is groomed the property will be back open to members and paying guests to access the track.

As part of our new member initiative members only will have free access to the track, homeowners and guests will need to purchase an armband at the clubhouse in order to access the CC Track.  You can do so Monday-Friday 9AM-4PM starting November 1st.  Thanks in advance for adhering to our winter property rules:  access to the course is limited to the track only, setting your own trail or boot pack is strictly prohibited; dogs must be physically leashed at all times (electronic leashes are not an acceptable form of restraint); please access the property at designated road crossings and/or the clubhouse (do not access through native areas or from homeowner lots);  the south side of Spring Gulch Rd (holes #9-10-11) along the river is off limits from November 1st to April first as it is designated NRO, critical moose winter range.   We are looking forward to a great winter season and we are already excited about what next year will bring. 

Have a great week and stay tuned, I will update this more often from here on out.

Below is part of the crew on #13 "working" the sand into the green as a final touch on aerification..they did a great job this year!!


Monday, July 27, 2015

Taste of Fall

It looks like we are in for a taste of fall over the next couple of days..60's for highs and low 30's for low temps.  It has been an interesting summer to say the least for weather.  We are anticipating frost delays for the next couple of mornings, be prepared. 

The Club Championship was held over the weekend and it was a great success.  We had the greens up in the 11-11.5 range and course was playing great.  Here are the results I have so far:  Patti Cook was the winner of the Ladies flight; Brad Cook won the net total scoring; Erin Ackley won the gross total and David Clauss won the Hybrid Tee flight.  I will update with scores once I get them.  Congratulations to all that participated!

Next week is a big week for the club as we are hosting our 35th Annual Strutting Grouse Tournament, coordinated by our ladies to support St. John's Medical Center Oncology department as well as scholarships for local high school students.  They do a great job setting it up and we are so excited to be a part of something so rewarding for our community and local youth.  It will be a shotgun start at 8:30AM on Tuesday, August 4th.  It should be a great day for the ladies, the club and the community at large!!  Tomorrow, Tuesday July 28th, is the deadline for entry. If you are interested you can follow this link for an entry form:,%202015%5D.pdf

We have a new pair of twins on the course, in addition to the moose twin calves we now have twin deer running around.  Apparently twins are becoming pretty rare for many species that call home around here.  Continue to be vigilante when playing your rounds.  I got the pictures below just outside my back window over the weekend.

Have a great week!!