Last year, the Harrisburg, Pa., property used a tainted batch of fertilizer that contained an herbicide that kills weeds and tall grasses. The property closed to resod three greens and slit-seed the other 15, and reopened on March 11.
The conclusion to the 2015 golf season was anything but ordinary at Blue Ridge Country Club in Harrisburg, Pa., but the venue is back on solid ground, the Mechanicsburg, Pa., Patriot-News reported.
Pete Micklewright, General Manager of The Clubs at Colonial Ridge, the collective name for Blue Ridge and Colonial Golf & Tennis Club, delivered the message this week after course officials offset damage from a tainted batch of fertilizer with nearly seven months of repair work, the Patriot-News reported.
“It’s exciting. Blue Ridge is back,” said Micklewright, the former head professional at Blue Ridge. “Being closed during the season certainly isn’t a good thing, but we’re excited for all our members and the public.”
Blue Ridge, operated by Brown Golf Management, officially opened for business on March 11. Micklewright said three greens were resodded in the offseason and maintenance crews slit seeded the other 15 greens and surrounding green banks to regain the ideal look and pace, the Patriot-News reported.
Under normal maintenance procedures, course employees sprayed the greens with a well-used turf fungicide on June 4. One day later, United Phospherorous, Inc., which markets and distributes the chemical Viceroy 70DF, issued a voluntary recall on certain batches of the chemical produced by Arizona-based TKI Novasource, the Patriot-News reported.
The recall was the result of multiple courses in the Northeast noticing comprised turfgrass on bentgrass putting greens, collars and approaches. Blue Ridge had received one of the tainted batches, which contained a strong herbicide used primarily to kill weeds and tall grasses near highways and railroad tracks, the Patriot-News reported.
Area courses Royal Manchester Golf Links in Mt. Wolf, The Bridges Golf Club in Abbottstown, and Bent Creek Country Club in Lititz all experienced damage of varying degrees, the Patriot-News reported.
“We were one of about 25 courses in the region that this happened to. We ended up closing the golf course in August,” Micklewright said. “During the months of June and July, the golf course wasn’t what it normally would be. All the greens now look perfect, and all the green banks are brand new.”
Micklewright said personnel from three universities known for their turfgrass management programs were brought in to first assess the problem and find a solution. It was discovered that TKI Novasource inadvertently allowed the herbicide to mix into an early batch of Viceroy 70DF during the bagging process. The company has claimed full responsibility and is working with golf courses to reimburse at least part of the costs to repair the damage, the Patriot-News reported.
One course in Philadelphia was forced to dig up 18 inches of soil on all 18 greens, Micklewright said. It’s estimated that Blue Ridge, a semi-private club with 120-140 rounds daily in peak season, potentially lost as much as $7,000 in revenue per day last fall, the Patriot-News reported.
“The members were really great because we kept them informed every step of the way. It was a challenge but everyone seemed to understand,” Micklewright said.
“We were able to work through it but it did affect both clubs because we had to cancel some of the tournaments we would normally run and relocate some outings. It affected food and beverage, as well. The one positive is that we were scheduled to spray Colonial on June 7.”