Monday, March 12, 2018

My Friend Randy Johnson

On Friday March 9 I lost a dear friend, co-worker and life mentor.  There is huge void that will be felt by Stillmeadow Country Club and myself for a very long time.  This loss has obviously resulted in a lot of time for reflection. I thought it would be good to put some of these thoughts and memories down and to maybe try to give Stillmeadow a glimpse of what Randy Johnson meant to me.
I met Randy in 1999.  I was a junior in high school and I had worked at Lindale Golf Course the two summers prior.  At this time I wasn’t too interested in golf as a career. It was simply a summer time job. This would be Randy’s first job as head superintendent of a golf course.  He had no prior experience in the field and to this day have no idea of how he landed the job. Randy did however know the game of golf. He was well known around those Taylor courses as an excellent player and to many a friend.
Randy immediately took charge.  Having little to no experience in agronomy, he took a very common sense approach to golf course management.  I was captivated by this. I was also captivated by Randy’s magnetic personality and by how much he seemed to mean to so many people around Lindale Golf Course.  It was almost as if he were a celebrity! It was during this summer when I worked every overtime hour that Randy would give me that I fell in love with the job and also knew that I had a friend for life in Randy Johnson.
The next summer, once I had discovered that this would be my career path, I opted to move to the pinnacle of Taylor’s courses at time which was Elks Run Golf Course.  While it pained me to leave Randy and the Lindale crew, I felt that the best opportunities awaited me there. During this time I continued to stay in close contact with Randy and to Lindale.  We occasionally shared equipment and personnel so every time I got the opportunity to help them out I did. I can recall many of the countless lunches, phone conversations and course tours that I had with Randy.
Over the next few years I worked as the head superintendent of the Pines.  Another one of Taylor’s courses. Considering that Randy and I were now both in charge of a course we stayed in constant communication about the similarities of our positions.  We would feed off each other. His common sense approach giving me great ideas and with my educational knowledge growing I’d like to think I gave him some also.
During the next 7-8 years Randy ran into some turmoil at Lindale due to unstable ownership.  The course changed hands and Randy would eventually seek employment outside of golf. I continued to try and build upon my career. This journey took me northwest.  I would move on to become an assistant super at Glenview Golf Course and then to become a head superintendent again at Pebble Creek Golf Course. During these years, regardless of rather we were talking about golf management, UC basketball, Tiger Woods, Bengals or just the grind of life we continued to stay in contact on almost a weekly basis.
Around 2009-10 Lindale was purchase by a new ownership group.  I was a friend of the family and they would call me to consult.  During one of these conversations I mentioned that Randy would be a great hire for them and that they should reach out and see if he would be interested.  They did and he was. Randy’s heart was always in golf rather he was playing or maintaining. For the next 2 years Randy was the head superintendent at Lindale once again and as he always did, he kept the course in great condition.  
In December of 2012 I got the opportunity to return home and start employment at the beginning of something special with the new ownership of Stillmeadow Country Club.  I was their first hire. Our second hire was Randy Johnson. I was awarded the title of golf course superintendent and Randy was assistant but I never thought of it that way.  We were a team. Two parts of the whole. Once again, he brought the common sense, reigned me in when I was feeling a bit too risky (in our world this means when I may have been wanting to push the grass plants too hard and risking poor playing surfaces) and he also brought a savvy and personal touch with our employees that helped to maximize our production.  I contributed the training, technical knowledge and the scientific aspect of the job. Together we were a great team and I feel we have delivered a great product to the membership over the last 6 years.
As great of a team as we were maintaining golf courses,  golf maintenance is not what I will think back to when I remember Randy.  I will remember how quickly he could have an impact on total stranger, I will remember all of the hilarious fish stories he would tell,  I will think of him talking me through high school woes, I will think of him telling me to keep my head up while I was trying to work and get through college, I will think of him being one of the few “golf” invites at my wedding,  I will think of him meeting and getting to know my son, I will think of the countless conversations about the love we both had for our families, I will remember the love he had for Jesus and his faith, I will think of all the times he put me before himself, I will think of my friend.
At Lindale, Randy had a little known nickname amongst the original crew….The Legend.

Randy you will always be a legend in my eyes and words cannot describe how much you will be missed.


Your Friend,

Klint Ladd

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Winter Maintenance Update

Hello Stillmeadow members,

I wanted to take a minute to update the membership on the happenings for the maintenance staff over the next couple of months.  The recent weather has made it difficult to get on the course.  However, prior to the recent rainfall we have had the ability to get a little ahead of the curve.  

Stump Removal Project
We were able to soil, seed and straw many of the stump holes across the course.  Other than the wet conditions, we have had an additional set back on this project in the form of a broken track on our mini excavator that we use to do the bulk of this work.  We hope to have it up and running prior to a break in the weather and then should be able to return to finish this project in the spring.

Dead Tree Removals
We also dropped and mostly cleaned several more dead trees on the course.  Once the grounds dries out a little or freezes, we should be able to catch right back up with the cleanup of what has been dropped.  

Equipment Care and Repair
The maintenance equipment requires much care over the winter along with almost any and all resources we can put towards it.  With the dynamic duo of Rick Evans and Bob Nordyke leading the way, and the occasional help from Randy and myself, I feel that the "Turf and Maintenance" department at our club has done an excellent job at keeping our old equipment running and performing to a decent level.  This requires a level of ingenuity and resourcefulness that the membership unfortunately does not get to see.  However, I am really proud of the job that these guys continue to perform.  They have managed to save us many thousands of dollars!  These extra funds have provided for us in many other areas in my department and other departments around the club.

Course supplies
What are course supplies you ask? Trash receptacles, flag sticks, cups, tee markers, bunker rakes, benches, ball washers, etc.  The task of painting, staining, varnishing, applying vinyl and making general repairs must be accomplished every winter.

Shop Cleaning and Maintenance
We do our best to keep the shop organized, clean and maintained on a year round basis.  However, this time of year we have the ability to detail this process a bit.

Planning
The scheduling of dates, chemical programs and budgetary forecasting are just some of the different types of planning we need to accomplish during this time of year.

Snow Removal
The winter has been very mild thus far but if it does snow, we will be ready.

The previous list are more of the planned or regular activities that we will achieve over the next couple months before the weather truly breaks in the spring.  This does not include any of the unplanned activities that we still get hit with on an almost daily basis.  As you can see, we stay busy all year round to achieve our goals as your maintenance department at Stillmeadow Country Club.

Thank you for all your support as we look forward to another great golf season in 2017! 

Klint Ladd
Golf Course Superintendent

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Due to extremely cold, wet and or icy conditions the course will remain closed for the remainder of the day. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Klint Ladd
Golf Course Superintendent

Friday, December 16, 2016

Tree Removals

The Stillmeadow Turf and maintenance team will spend a portion of the winter continuing to address dead Ash trees.  This latest round of trees were also taken out by the Emerald Ash Borer.  While we hate to lose any mature trees on the course, they are necessary to remove as they have become safety concerns to all course activity.






Friday, December 9, 2016

Course Status Update:
At this time we will be officially closing the course for play today due to inclement weather. If you have any further questions please contact the golf shop at 513-495-1234.
Thanks,
Klint Ladd
Golf Course Superintendent

Friday, December 2, 2016

Fall Maintenance Update

Now that we finally seem to be moving away from warmer temperatures in 2016, I wanted to take a minute to update everyone on what has been accomplished.  While the first half of the year seemed to be filled with rain days, the latter part has been mostly warm and dry.  This has enabled our staff to accomplish many task.  Some of these task we consider to be "regular", yet weather dependent.  However, other accomplishments have been more project or improvement based.  The following is a bullet point list of some of what has, or will be achieved. 
  • Improvements/fixes to the irrigation system (This continues to be an ongoing battle)
  • Leaf cleanup
  • Weekly verticutting and topdressing to greens surfaces
  • Dead Ash tree removals
  • New tree plantings
  • Greens aeration
  • Tee aeration
  • Fairway aeration
  • Aeration to ALL course rough areas
  • Equipment repairs and improvements
  • Stump grinding
  • Chip removal from stump areas
  • Soil, seed, fertilizer and strawing of stump areas
  • Seeding of thin fairway areas
  • Tall Fescue seed incorporation at greens surrounds
  • Pruning of shrubs and ornamental grasses
  • Winterization of irrigation systems, course restrooms and irrigation pump houses
  • Applications of chemicals and fertilizers to all surfaces
  • Rock work in an attempt to control erosion to creeks and other waterways
  • Native rough areas cut to 6-8 inches
As you can see from this list, many areas have been addressed in some fashion.  The course has played fast and firm for most of the latter part of the year.  This is much easier to achieve with less precipitation.  We will continue to deliver the best conditions possible considering the hand we are dealt.  I hope you all have enjoyed Stillmeadow Country Club in 2016 and rest assured that we are taking the necessary steps for more of the same in 2017.

Thanks,

Klint Ladd
Golf Course Superintendent

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fairway Aeration

Fairway Aeration Update:

The rain yesterday had halted our progress on the cleanup portion of fairway aeration. However, the ground was still firm enough to continue aerating. We have aerated the entire front 9 fairways and were able to get about half of those cleaned up. We will suspend the back 9 aeration until Wednesday 9/28 so that we can get the front 9 cleaned today and still have the back 9 playable. If the rain stays away moving forward, we should be able to get the back 9 aerated and cleaned to completion tomorrow. Finishing touches will be completed on Thursday.  Thank you for your patience.

Klint Ladd 
Golf Course Superintendent

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Thank You

Special thanks to Stillmeadow member Bill Batchelor! The maintenance team can always count on Bill to help out throughout the year with various maintenance task. We appreciate what you do!
Klint Ladd
Golf Course Superintendent




Thursday, July 28, 2016

Course Closed

The course will remain closed for the rest of the day as we have experienced a tremendous amount of rainfall. We will re-evaluate tomorrow morning and will hope to open the course then. The members lounge is open today.
Thank you,
Klint Ladd
Golf Course Superintendent

Course Closed

The course is currently closed until further notice due to rainfall.  We will update you here upon any changes to the course status.  You may also call the golf shop at 513-495-1234.

Thanks,
Klint Ladd
Golf Course Superintendent