Bemidji Town & Country Club Online Newsletter - 1/30/12
members.bemidjigolf.com

Bemidji Town and Country Club Membership,

As you are aware the board of directors at BTCC has decided to move forward on the master plan study that we have been working on with Kevin Norby, golf course architect. As stated in the master plan, the philosophy behind any potential future work would be a "sympathetic restoration" of the golf course to restore and enhance some of the historic character of the golf course while at the same time adjusting the playability of the course to match the skill of the modern golfer. With this concept in mind the architect has identified our tree removal and replacement program as an area which would warrant immediate attention and yet with little cost. Starting in late October, we have begun removing those trees which have been identified as being dead, dying or structurally unsound. We have also begun taking individual trees which have been identified as causing damage to cart paths or causing turf quality issues near tees, greens or fairway edges. In this letter I will attempt to explain the philosophy behind the scope of work we have undertaken.

Maintenance:
As we all know the trees on BTCC are one of the features that enhance our course. As these trees have grown larger and matured they have begun having a negative impact on turf conditions and playability. Currently we have a number of green, tee and fairway complexes that have poorly located trees which restrict sunlight and air movement, and whose root systems steal moisture from the surrounding turf areas. Years and years of scientific research tells us that you can't have the best turf with these negative factors. I can't emphasize enough the importance of this maintenance issue in our desire for quality turf conditions. Another area that needs to be addressed is the numerous areas throughout the course where trees are too close to cart paths where their roots are upheaving and ruining the surfaces.

Tree Health:
The trees at BTCC consist generally of spruce, pine, red and bur oak. Over time the negative aspects of drought and disease have affected all these trees. The trees which appear to be least tolerant of the drought have been the Red Oak. The trees which are most tolerant appear to be the Pine and Bur Oak. In addition, most of the spruce trees throughout the course are reaching the end of their lifecycle and are declining due to common diseases such as cytospora canker and rhizospheara needle cast. Generally spruce trees are a poor choice in high play areas as they have a very shallow root system which makes them difficult to grow grass under.

Strategic / Playability
A mistake commonly made when planting trees is to underestimate the mature size of a tree when it is fully grown. With this in mind we have identified areas where trees planted years ago have a negative impact from a strategic standpoint. We have also identified trees that are integral to particular holes.

As stated earlier, the board in conjunction with the master plan committee approved our maintenance operation to begin the tree maintenance phase of the master plan. Last fall the master plan committee, Rick Grand, Kevin Norby and I toured the course and identified the trees in the above mentioned areas of concern. The plan was discussed and implemented with the following objectives;
  - Identify and remove dead trees
  - Identify and remove diseased and dying trees
  - Identify and remove trees that have a negative agronomic impact on primary turf areas
  - Identify and remove trees that have a negative effect on cart paths
  - Identify and remove trees which are crowding more desirable trees
  - Identify and remove trees which have a negative strategic value

Tree Planting
In conjunction with tree removal the architect and the committee are very much aware of the need to replant trees. This is a vital part of the tree maintenance program. The objective of tree planting would be to add trees that would be more desirable, longer lived and planted in their proper place for the right reason.

In summary, I hope this article gives you a brief overview of the philosophy behind the tree maintenance plan for our course.

Thank you

Tom Johanns,

Master planning Committee