bruce 2February 15, 2018
By Bruce Meadows
golf 707222

Bunkers on the mend at Foxtail

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Greenside bunker on No. 3 before work began . . .

Bunkers are always a concern — for golf course operators as well as golfers — and let’s face it, some courses do a better job than others to make their sand more playable.
Maintaining and improving bunkers is not cheap, but the result can be sand that golfers can play out of without striking dirt in the process of trying to extricate your ball from the sand.
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Improved drainage was the key to creating effective bunkers 

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The finished product made all that hard work worthwhile 

Foxtail, in an effort to make the golfing experience more enjoyable, has undertaken a project to upgrade bunkers. Like any course, they cannot keep you OUT of the sand, but can make getting out a little less difficult.
“We have recently renovated 17 greenside bunkers on the North Course,” says new golf course superintendent Brandon Coulter, who has taken over for Chanaan Fasanello. “Last year we hired golf course construction firm D.H.R. out of American Canyon to renovate 17 of our worst greenside bunkers.
Coulter went on to explain the process:  “We decided to renovate our bunkers using the “Better Billy Bunker Method” which is a unique approach to bunker construction and claims to be the best bunker construction method in the world.  The process involves installing new sub-grade drainage pipe within the bunker floor which is then covered with a 2 inch layer of washed coarse pea gravel.
“This washed coarse pea gravel is then sprayed with a special patented polymer glue that solidifies the pea gravel into a large gravel drain blanket.  Once the polymer has dried, the pea gravel is permanently locked into place and is guaranteed for 10 years.  The porous state of the pea gravel allows for water to pass through the gravel blanket and into the drain lines at a rate capable of 1500 inches per hour.  This greatly eliminates bunker wash-outs and extensive maintenance after excessive rain events.
“We used a premium washed white sand for our new bunkers which is installed on top of the solidified pea gravel at a depth of 4.5 inches.  Before the Billy Bunker Method  we used a great deal of staff time repairing wash-outs or pumping excess water from the bunkers after rain events.  I am happy to say that the new bunkers are performing nicely and there has been little to no staff time repairing washouts after rain events.  There has been no need to pump out excess water.   In addition the playability in the bunkers is consistent and our members are happy with the upgrades.”

Also at Foxtail:

Annual membership features 10% discount on food and beverage and on all non-sale merchandise; 14-day advance tee time reservations and an invitation to Foxtail Golf Club exclusive member events.
Unlimited annual pass, $2,425, with cart, $3,350; unlimited couples pass, $3,200, $4,400 with cart; limited annual pass $1,950, $2,800 with cart; limited couples pass $2,450, $3,500 with cart.
Limited South Course only pass, $1,400; private cart $825; senior private cart %625; Rohnert Park resident/senior discount $200.
Foxtail 2018 Players Club membership: Join for $139 and get one free round of golf on either course; $10 off North peak rates; $5 off North twilight rates; $5 off South rates;10% off all golf shop merchandise,
Add a $50 or $100 range card to Players Club membership purchase and Foxtail will double the value of your range card.
You can purchase Players Club membership in Golf Shop. Call 707-584-7766 for details.
St. Paddy’s Day Scramble: Sunday, March 11, North Course, 7 a.m. check-in, 8 a.m. shotgun start. Two-person scramble includes green fees, lunch on the course, prizes; flights based on number of entries. Cost $70 general, $60 members (Annual, Players and Sunset); includes sleeve of Titleist ProV1 balls if signed up by March 10. Register online at or call the Golf Shop.
Cleveland wedge scoring clinic experience: Scheduled Saturday, March 10, 9 a.m. Two hours of expert short-game instruction including chips, pitches, bunker shots, flops and more. Every attendee receives a personalized wedge fitting from Cleveland Golf and a custom-fit Clevelaand Golf CBX Smart Sole 3, or RTX-3 wedge. Cost $129 per person, limited to first 10 golfers to sign up. RSVP to Mark Brouwer at

Click here to find out more about our great courses!
Click here to find out more about our great courses!

First tee on the way back . . .

The First Tee junior golf program appears to be coming back to our community.
Former county supervisor Paul Kelley was originally involved in helping The First Tee of The North Bay and is playing a key role in the rebirth of the program, which will be known as The First Tee North Coast.
“Originally, when the first chapters were set up, First Tee was provided with national funding,” explained Kelley. “But there came a time when programs had to raise their own funds. When the Charles Schwab Cup (Senior PGA Tour) Championship was held at Sonoma Golf Club, one of the charities was First Tee but when the Schwab moved to Harding Park, funding went to San Francisco programs.”
So when local funding dried up, so did First Tee of the North Bay.
“A couple of years ago, I was approached by a few course operators about getting First Tee back in Sonoma County,” Kelley said. “For some reason they felt I could do it with some of my contacts to raise funds, and that a new face interacting with First Tee International would help them overcome the bad taste of a location where a program didn’t make it.”
Kelley has talked with First Tee national representatives, noting “they have a very rigorous process for getting a chapter in a location,” and he has asked Windsor GC’s Demian Reddy to be “program manager” since he was a First Tee coach with the previous program “and handles a lot of youth golf activities.”
Kelley said First Tee is looking for non-profits to help provide youth services and would then be considered for a local chapter, adding “they don’t want a program to go out of business again.”
A proposed chapter would have to show local funding and the desire to expand to nearby counties like Lake, Mendocino and Marin so the “First Tee North Coast” name would make sense.
This would be similar to the current First Tee of the Central Coast program, which gets funding from Silicon Valley and apparently has a very healthy budget in excess of $3 million.
“First Tee people consider $200,000 a good starting point,” said Kelley, hoping for an infusion of corporate and individual money.
Kelley, who owns his own consulting business, is a volunteer with the First Tee effort and continues to meet with First Tee National and other programs such as ones in Sacramento.
“The plan is to go with one to three non-profits to get seed funding for a program that could include up to 500 kids,” said Kelley, who will entertain plans to form a non-profit situation locally. He wants to start marketing the “First Tee is back in Sonoma County” concept and can even start programming at schools even before a chapter is designated.”
Kelley was scheduled to meet this month with local golf courses, PGA pros, local business leaders, community leaders such as the Boys & Girls Club to lay out a schedule for raising funds, and is targeting fall of 2018 to get the program in schools and go from there.
“The best thing about this is that it teaches kids core values to make them better citizens and use golf to help do that,” said Kelley. “The future of golf is with the kids.”
Big plans but Kelley, with a lot of help from others such as CourseCo’s Tom Isaak, appears to be headed in the right direction.
Isaak recalls helping get the Silicon Valley chapter – formerly The First Tee of San Jose – the Oakland chapter (TFT East Bay) and the Fresno chapter.
The First Tee even made Isaak the recipient of its Founders Award for his work helping establish various chapters.
“I believe under Paul’s leadership, a TFT chapter would be put together correctly and easily fulfill TFT pre-conditions,” said Isaak. “Not withstanding the stringency of the new chapter requirements, they will be met and exceeded under Paul’s leadership because he has taken the trouble to fully understand the conditions and their implications.”
He added, “Paul recognizes a smart growth path that avoids errors made under the prior Sonoma County effort . . . I will do anything Paul asks of me, which includes donating and helping raise funds and selling the program to other courses.”
Good guy to have in your corner.
If you have any ideas or thoughts about First Tee, contact Kelley, or go to or call 707-953-5166.
Jess Stimack, pro at Bennett Valley and Montgomery High golf coach, likes the idea.
“It’s great to hear about revival of the First Tee. We need to get these kids on the golf course. Learning how to act, communicate, develop and maintain relationships. Get some character built, and learn the game.
“Speaking for myself, as a varsity golf coach, I am blown away how the level of maturity, and level of ability have steeply declined in just the last the three years with the underclassmen. It has somewhat become the norm that kids now come out for varsity golf with little to zero experience, let alone competitive experience.
“I have never cut a kid, and never will. Bob (Borowicz) has never limited the amount of players I can keep. We have to get these kids interested in the game at a younger age. There are tons of amazing options available to Junior Golfers in the area.
“Such great characteristics, and values can be learned and developed through golf, especially junior golf.  Parents, hide the video game controllers and get your kids to the driving range!”

Oakmont junior golf

“The Oakmont Junior Golf Association is very excited for the 2018 junior golf season,” according to pros Rebecka Heinmert and Jessica Reese Quayle. “We have been planning lots of fun programs, from our Spring Developmental Class to the PGA League, and of course, the Summer Junior Camps.”
The Developmental Program starts March 7, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Program includes skill building, rules and etiquette and on-course games. Clinics will be March 7, March 14, March 21, March 28, April 4, April 11, April 18, April 25.
Every other week, group will meet on the East Course and students will play at least four holes back on the West Course. Program also includes one 30-minute private lesson for each junior golfer.
There is a bonus range card worth $70. Cost of the Development Program is $200; take $40 off for sibling discount
March 3 is a golf playday at Oakmont East. A free event and everyone is welcome to attend and see if the PGA League is right for your child. To register for the league, go to
   Registration is open for Summer Camp at Oakmont . . . camps are June 11-5, July 9-13 and Aug. 6-10.
Half days (9-12) and full days (9-4) are available. Full days do an on-course session in the afternoon and lunch is provided.
Call 539-0415 or go to

Other junior news . . .

At Healdsburg’s Tayman Park: The Junior League/Girls Golf is offered on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from3:30-4:30 p.m..
Also, check out educational golf videos on YouTube; the channel is AmandaBeeler

Do you repair or ignore?

We all take divots, and for those of us who can actually land a ball on the green from any distance, we all leave ball marks.  But honestly, how many of you actually take the time to repair that damage?
From the looks of things at many courses, some but not all.
It would mean a lot to golf courses and golfers if you can take the time to repair your divots and your ball marks. That includes practice swings on the tee. And while you’re at it, maybe repair one or two other divots or ball marks left by those less sensitive to keeping the golf course in the best condition possible. We would also add raking bunkers.
Teaching your kids and other young players to help maintain the course is a good thing for them, a good lesson that can promote respect and responsibility.

Let’s hear from you  . . .

I hope you enjoy reading GOLF 707, but I want to remind you that hearing from you – amateurs or pros, golf course or golf shop owners, etc. – is what keeps me going.
If you have events – tournaments, clinics, sales, demo days, whatever – please let me know and I will try to help get the word out.
I would love to hear more from you regarding young golfers from our community who have done well. I would also like to hear stories about your good and not-so-good times on the golf course.
And if you have a complaint or a compliment about a local golf course, golf shop or whatever, let me know and I will try to get you some answers.
Email be at and let me take it from there.bruce