It’s hard to believe two months, or just over 16% of the year has passed. The month of March is a transitional time for the Grounds Department, as we head into the shoulder season for the months of April and May.

In March, our staff will begin to monitor phenological indicators, such as forsythia bloom, for timing of pre-emergent applications ranging from grassy weeds (Poa annua, crabgrass) to pesky insects. We have also received some alerts that in a short time, we will be seeing the return of our migratory winged friends. Our team will be steadily preparing their homes surrounding the reservoir and throughout the property in the coming weeks. In addition, it is our hope Mother Nature will be kind to us in preparing the grounds for the coming season to either finalize work such as bunker modifications or fairway drainage installations.

From a staffing perspective, we have been actively recruiting prospective candidates to add to our team. Success breeds success and we want team members that have a strong desire to push themselves and others in an effort to achieve our collective goals all while growing in our program. Recruitment is an on-going process as we strive to continually cultivate and produce the next generation of agronomists for the golf course maintenance industry. We are excited to announce below our new team members that will undoubtedly upgrade the overall member experience in the short and long term.

Jacob Shughart is currently the assistant superintendent at Woodmont Country Club located in Rockville, Maryland. His past experience includes a season at the Maidstone Club in East Hampton, New York, as well as, various volunteering at tournaments such as the Quicken Loans National, The Barclays and Tour Championship. In addition, Jacob was a project manager for Total Turf on projects at Green Acres Country Club, Old Oaks, Consee, Stanwich and Blue Bell. Jacob was charged with shaping and grading all tee complexes for the Bobby Weed renovation at Green Acres. He is a graduate of the Penn State Golf Course Turfgrass Management program. Jake is coming back home to Delaware as he is a graduate of Conrad School of Science. Jake will be the North Course Assistant Superintendent and will start March 4th.

Chris Cooke will graduate in May with a B.S. in Turfgrass Science from Penn State. His summer internships were completed at Merion (two different summers), Augusta National and Oakmont Country Club, where he had the opportunity to work the US Open. Chris will be the South Course Assistant Superintendent and will begin in early May.

Jim Elliott has been hired as our Spray Superintendent and will coordinate our plant protection programs. He is the former superintendent of White Clay Creek and Brandywine Country Club. Jim has volunteered at various golf championships, including the US Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club. Jim is a graduate of Rutgers University’s Professional Turf Management Program. He is married with a daughter at St. Mark’s High School.

An important conduit for employees and future leaders is our Internship Program. Tailored to the individual’s needs, we are able to provide a dynamic learning environment for our students. We are happy to report two apprentices will be joining our forces this season.

Matt Gillespie is currently attending Penn State via the World Campus, and will graduate this December with a B.S. in Turfgrass Science. He conducted an internship last year at Bidermann and began his golf career at Concord Country Club. Last year, Matt volunteered for the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club.

Cody Sander is attending Penn State’s two-year Golf Course Turfgrass Management program. During the winter break, Cody had an internship at Bonita Bay where he had the chance to experience each of the five golf courses at the club. Prior to joining us in March, Cody will volunteer at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

From of all in the Grounds Department, we hope you have a great month of March!

Warm Regards,

Jonathan Urbanski
Director of Golf Courses & Grounds