Local Golf Agronomists to Pitch in at American Lake Veterans Golf Course


For some Americans, April 18 means a day of relief after meeting the IRS tax-filing deadline. But for the wounded warriors and volunteers at American Lake Veterans Golf Course (ALVGC) in Lakewood, Wash., it will be a day when this extraordinary course gets a much-needed helping hand from some of its agronomic friends.

The well-used facility, which has been maintained and operated by volunteers since 1995, will welcome golf industry vendors and volunteers to spend the day improving the drainage and aerating the course using loaned equipment.

The improvements are part of a comprehensive plan to enhance and expand the facility, believed to be the only course in the country designed specifically for wounded and disabled veterans.

PGA legend Jack Nicklaus and his firm, Nicklaus Design, have donated design services for nine new holes, as well as for design improvements to the original nine holes to make them more accessible to those who use adaptive equipment. Construction of the "new nine" is expected to begin once fund-raising goals are met.

The April 18 work party involves contributions from several supporters, including DryJect®, Floratine Products Group, GCH Planning & Landscape Architecture, Nicklaus Design, PC Drainage, Profile Products, and Toro Sitework Systems.

"We are very grateful for all those who are helping us, and we expect to see immediate improvement, thanks to these generous contributions," said Jim Jackson, course superintendent for ALVGC.

Members of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association have been invited to the event to observe use of the technology from PC Drainage and DryJect.

The PC Drainage technology is an invention of Dr. Ed McCoy, a professor in the turf program at Ohio State University. It is used only where a drainage problem exists. At ALVGC it will be used to fix chronic drainage problems on hole Nos. 7 and 9. Along with offering a faster, site-specific solution, the system is installed with a minimally disruptive vibratory plow. It combines gravity and capillary action, promising more consistent drainage and overall improvements to turf health.

For the aeration project, one of DryJect's unique machines and vice president Chris des Garennes and operator/mechanic Matt Majernik will travel from the company's main office in Hatboro, Penn. The equipment utilizes a high-speed, water-based injection system that blasts aeration holes through the root zone to fracture the soil, while using patented vacuum technology to simultaneously fill with amendment. The revolutionary service allows aeration, topdressing and soil amendments in one pass. The surface is playable one hour after application.

Toro Sitework Systems is donating use of one of its Dingo utility loaders.

Products for the work project are being donated by Floratine Products Group, based in Collierville, Tenn., and Profile Products, headquartered in Buffalo Grove, Ill. Floratine specializes in products to enhance the health, growth and durability of turf, while Profile Products is a leading producer of erosion control and soil enhancement products.

Seattle-based GCH Planning & Landscaping and Golfscape Design are donating landscape architectural and land planning services for the golf course.

American Lake Veterans Golf Course embarked on a multi-million-dollar fundraising campaign in 2009 to enhance and expand the facilities. In 2010, the course accommodated 20,000 veterans and their guests. Golfers are allowed to play an unlimited number of holes on each visit.

Since 1995, when federal funding for VA courses was eliminated, American Lake Veterans Golf Course has relied on donations, in-kind services and volunteers. Construction costs for the "new nine" are estimated to be $3.5 million.

The course, with its special accommodations for mobility-impaired veterans, is expected to become a model facility that can be replicated across the country as a much-needed recreational and rehabilitation outlet for the growing population of veterans.

American Lake Veterans Golf Course is located south of Seattle and Tacoma, near Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the American Lake Division of VA Puget Sound Health Care System. For additional information, call Jackson (253/589-1998 or 253/584-1311) or Friends of American Lake Veterans Golf Course president Harold "Pepper" Roberts (253/589-1998).

The course's web address is: www.veterangolf.org.


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