Sandy Lane course all set
Not even Tropical Storm Tomas can keep true golfers off the green. So it was no surprise that despite severe drought early last year, followed by the onset of Tomas in late October, the 45 holes of the Sandy Lane Golf Courses are in top condition as players from around the world prepare to descend on the facility in 2011.
That word has come from the five-diamond resort’s director of golf turf and landscapes, Peter Stormes, who revealed that the golf staff at Sandy Lane were put to the test preparing for this season.
“First, we had extremely dry conditions in the early part of 2010, conditions that aren’t good for the courses,” said Stormes while overlooking the 18th green of The Country Club, one of three courses at the facility.
“Then during the rainy season we had three or four rainy days in a row, and that made it tough to run our grass-cutting equipment. Then, of course, there was Tomas.”
According to Stormes, it is during times like the aftermath of the storm that his team of nearly 100 full-time and contract employees show what they’re made of.
“Our staff came together in an incredible way, both during and after Tomas,” he continued.
“We had to face the reality of having about 100 trees down around the property. The clean-up effort was a Herculean task and it was wonderful to see everyone pull together. We were open for play very quickly after the storm, considering the amount of damage on the property.”
The work necessary to bring the three courses – the Country Club, the Green Monkey and the Old Nine – up to the standards of Stormes and the players who seek out the Sandy Lane golf experience is a year-round effort that will again pick up steam during the summer.
Stormes’ crew began the annual maintenance regimen by aerating the greens. This is a process that involves taking plugs out of the putting surfaces, applying a top dressing and filling the holes with sand. This filtration process allows air and water to reach the roots of the grass.
Each of the courses underwent aeration three times during the summer of 2010, with Stormes’ alternating the process among the courses so that there was always a place for the willing golfer to play.
Many people would be surprised at the education and experience necessary to lead the maintenance team at a facility like Sandy Lane.
The Canadian-born Stormes, 40, studied horticulture, specialising in turf management, at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. He gained his experience with such world-class golf facilities as Jamaica’s White Witch Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton, the Royal St Kitts Golf Club, and the El Cameleón Golf Club at Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
But according to the man responsible for the look and feel of Sandy Lane’s courses, Barbados has something that his previous stops lacked.