Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Some kids took advantage of the snowday we had yesterday and built a snowman on the bridge near 12 tee.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Snow (Again)

So, looking at the weather, I decided that I should remove some of the snow on #5 and #8 greens. The temperatures and sun looked to be the right combination to make sure that we get some of the ice off of those greens. It worked....... and then we get 6 more inches of snow. The ice underneath the snow is, for the most part gone, however, so it was time well spent. Here are some pictures from last Friday. At the top is a close up of #5. You can see the ice that was underneath the snow. The second image is #8 green (which get a lot more shade, but had less ice than #5 for some reason)At the bottom is #5 green.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Well, the weather has made sure that we remember it is still winter. We got around 8 inches of snow and it doesn't look like it will be going anywhere for the next couple of weeks. Maybe it just wanted make the Olympics feel welcome. At this point, I am still not worried too much about ice on the greens, but it would make me feel better to have a little February thaw.

Having the snow makes me appreciate the modifications I did to my golf cart this fall. I lifted the suspension 3 inches and added some snow tires. This makes it easier to get around in the white stuff, but if we had anymore, I would not be able to get out on the course except by walking. Maybe I should invest in some snowshoes or cross country skis?

The snow cover will give me an opportunity to get some things done inside the shop. I have a wood duck house or two to build as well as some bluebird houses.

I did receive a nice package in the mail the other day, new flags!. I will get a picture up soon. (Edit: I got them uploaded. The one to the left is the blue. All the flags are at the bottom of the page, as well as the new clubhouse flag that will go under the American flag)They have the new logo and we will go from the pin location sheet to a front, middle, back system. For front locations, we will use a red/white flag, while a white flag will be used for middle and back locations will get the blue/white flags. The system will give more flexibility on where we put the cups. With the old system, the cup would never get put to close to the borders between locations. With this set up, hopefully we will have more variability as well as a visual marker of where the cup is.

Monday, February 8, 2010

1st year on the job

One year ago, I started my work here at Leslie Park. 2009 was a good year and I had to hit the ground running. Luckily, my predecessor, Charlie Gaige, had left the course in great shape for me and I was able to spend the first couple of weeks getting situated inside my office. I was also able to go through a lot of old documents and reorganize.

Once the snow was gone in March, I was able to determine that we had some winter kill on greens 5, 8 and 9 as well as some on 9 fairway. This winterkill happened after we got some rain, followed by freezing temperatures and a lot of snow. What this meant was that these areas had a layer of ice for around 60 days. Even though the grass was dormant, it still needed to respire or breathe. the ice layer prevented this and some of the grass subsequently died. We hit these areas with some seed but it was still well into May before all of these areas were completely healed. This winter, I do not think we will have this problem again but I have noticed some ice on a few greens, especially on #5. This is something I will be keeping an eye on and if we get a day or two with temps in the 40's, I will probably try to physically remove the ice from some of these areas.

Also, if you remember, last spring was particularly cool and damp. This meant that the new greens were slow to green up. #1, 8, 10, 11 and 17 greens were rebuilt and re-grassed during the renovation back in 1994. When this happened, the grass variety that was chosen was a compromise between early green-up and summer heat tolerance. The result is that, while those greens are well adapted to summer weather and hold up better to temperature above 80 degrees, they are slow to get started in the spring.

We are currently gearing up for the 2010 golf season and we are currently hoping to open in the last week of March. Of course, it is all dependant on weather, so keep your fingers crossed.

All for now


Wednesday, February 3, 2010


"A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct."

That is the first sentence from the 1965 science fiction classic Dune by Frank Herbert. I thought it was fitting for the beginning of this blog as well.

Let me now take some time to get the balances correct and give you some background.

My name is Scott Spooner and I am the Superintendent of Leslie Park Golf Course in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Leslie Park is owned by the City of Ann Arbor (along with Huron Hills) and as such, is considered a municipal golf course or "Muni." I first came to Leslie Park (LP) nearly one year ago after working for nearly 10 years as a wandering golf course superintendent in south east Michigan.

I have a Bachelors degree from the University of Michigan as well as a two year certificate in Golf Course Management from Michigan State University.

Leslie Park was originally a farm owned by Dr. Leslie, a professor at the University of Michigan. You can see some of this farm genealogy when you see the old orchard located between #6 fairway and #8 tee. The land was donated to the city and turned into a golf course in 1967. A major renovation was undertaken in 1994-95 with the redesign of 5 green complexes (#1, #8, #10, #11 and #17) along with some drainage and bunkers and the dredging of the irrigation pond, located along #17. At this time, the irrigation system was upgraded with new satellite controllers, a central computer control and a new pump house. This was all under the direction of Matt Warba, longtime Superintendent at Leslie Park.

Last year, the city of Ann Arbor rededicated itself to making the golf courses profitable and as such, committed a large amount of money to upgrading some things that had been neglected since that time. The equipment fleet was completely replaced with brand new Toro and Club Car machines. Also, the cart paths were resurfaced and lengthened in some areas while the bridges that cross Traver Creek that runs between #10 and #13 were completely replaced.

On the heels of this, Leslie Park was named the best "Muni" in the State of Michigan by Golf Digest, who was ranking the best Muni's in all 50 states. To put this in perspective, we rank amongst Bethpage Black in New York and Torrey Pines in California while charging around a sixth of what those course will get for a round. Of course, these rankings were based on previous year's conditions and thus, I owe a debt of gratitude to the previous Superintendent, Charlie Gaige. Charlie is now enjoying his retirement but the seven years of hard work he put in before I got here is much appreciated.

That is all I have time for at this time, I will try to update this Blog whenever something of interest pops up or when I can find some time to sit down at the computer. Also, check back for photos of the course that will be coming soon.

Thanks for reading