March 19, 2015 – In his first season as Stone Creek Golf Course Superintendent, Brad Waggoner is working to improve play for those breaking out the clubs this spring.
Starting in January, Waggoner’s first duties have been to clean up the fairways, improve the greens and clear some dead trees.
“One of the first things I did was spray the fairways to get rid of the undesirable grass,” Waggoner said. “There was Poa annual. There was fescue. There was bluegrass out there. We don’t want that in the Bermuda. We want 100 percent pure bermuda fairways – better playing surface, easier to take care of – looks better”
The greens were healthy when he arrived but thinning of the grass was required to make them more playable.
“Greens were healthy, almost too healthy,” Waggoner said. “There was so much grass on them. Some of the grass needs to come off. That’s just how bentgrass works. It’s a creeping grass, grows sideways … We’re going to thin some of the grass off the greens.”
The first task for Waggoner and Golf Course Director Todd Newman was to clear some dead trees from the nine-hole course.
“We’ve already removed 41 trees off the golf course,” Newman said. “I don’t want people to think because we’re cutting trees down mean we’re going to get rid of all the trees. I’d like to plant two trees for every one we’ve cut down.”
Eventually Waggoner wants to establish a tree planting program with species more ready for the extreme climates of southeast Kansas.
“We want to kind of get some trees in here that are better for this region,” Waggoner said. “A lot of people like to plant Bradford pears, which shouldn’t be here. People like to plant crab apple trees, which shouldn’t be here. We’ll start planting some hardwoods and some healthy trees that can take the climate around here and the wind that we’re going to get here.”
A major change to the course is the upgrade to the clubhouse and added cart storage. The swimming pool was also filled in. The old pro shop was located in a small building directly to the south of the original clubhouse. That small building was torn down earlier this week. For tonight’s open house, the newly remodeled clubhouse will be used.
Several city departments have also aided in moving cart storage from the old Safari Course and making sure the clubhouse has utilities.
“The city guys have worked their butts off,” Waggoner said. “City department, water department, electrical crew, all those guys have been out here. They’ve rewired the whole building. They put in new service lines, new water line, hooked up sewer lines, eliminated old water lines and have done just an outstanding job.”
Prior to working for the City of Chanute, Waggoner was the superintendent of the Osawatamie Golf Course for 26 years. He also worked at Lake Quivira Country Club.
Reviving Stone Creek is an exciting challenge to Waggoner.
It’s got a lot of potential and we’re going to bring it to its potential,” Waggoner said.
Stone Creek Golf Course will hold a open house tonight at 5:30 p.m.