Monday, January 29, 2024

Global Warming? Somebody tell the Midwest

    Somewhat of a slow start to the new year for us here at Swope. This January has been filled with more snow coverage than we have seen in the area in several years. Over two weeks of snow coverage so far this year making for a frustrating month for the local golfer.

    The bright side to all of the snow coverage for us as Superintendents is the advantages it gives the turf in the brutal conditions of a Midwest winter. One of the major concerns for turf health through the winter is a lack of moisture accompanied with freezing temperatures and high winds. That combination can cause turf damage that is irreversible and will require turf replacement come spring time. As Superintendent's the snow coverage was a blessing during the extremely cold and windy conditions we faced mid January. The snow acts as an insulating layer for the turf to protect it from the wind and freezing temps. The snow also continues to give moisture as it melts helping the turf stave off any winter kill.

    We are all excited for the warm temperatures the end of January is bringing and hope this continues into the February and March. From all of us at Swope Memorial we hope to see you out on the course this week to start the year off right.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Good Problems to Have

     The golf boom post 2020 has been noticed by none quite as much as the maintenance staff at most municipal golf courses. The increased round count and subsequent revenue each season has brought many opportunities for innovation to municipal course that just wasn't possible pre 2020. At Swope Memorial we continue to be innovative in creating not only a better experience for our golfers but also finding ways to do more with the resources we are given.

    One innovation we added to the course at the tail end of the 2022 season that greatly improved our season long course conditions was the temporary par 3 tee boxes. These tee boxes use an artificial playing surface that is not affected by the colder temperatures like our zoyzia tee boxes are in the winter. The temporary tee's along with with winter covers allowed our par 3 tee's to come out of the winter with much more viable turf. In turn this created much better playing conditions for our golfers during the warmer months.

    With the overwhelming success the temporary  tee's had we will again add these back to our par 3 holes for the 2023-2024 winter. We appreciate all of you that are on board with the innovations and have seen value in the delayed gratification that comes with the temporary tee's. 

    From all of us at Swope Memorial Golf Course we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 1, 2023

Winter Is Coming

 As you will have noticed our fall season is coming to an abrupt end as winter is rearing its head sooner than expected in the Midwest. While this year is going down as the warmest year on record, Kansas City did receive an early snowfall over the thanksgiving weekend. This added moisture is much appreciated as we go into the dryer parts of winter. 

    The colder temps have brought and end to the growing season for our warm season grasses such as zoysia and bermudagrass. As a result we are going to cart path only until the spring as usual to prevent any unneeded damage to the fairways while they are dormant. You will also notice our temporary tee boxes on all par 3's have made a return. This was very successful last year as a way to keep those tee boxes healthy going into the spring and summer months.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

The Winds of Change


    Fall is in full swing at Swope Memorial and as always that marks the bookend of our traditional season. While a much-appreciated relief from the summer heat Fall does bring many challenges of its own to the daily maintenance of the course. With the cooler winds comes many exciting changes Superintendents love to tackle before the winter fully hits us. 

    Many tout Swope as the best place to play fall golf in Kansas City, albeit biased I have to agree. With the timeless design showcasing multiple scenic views, to the hundreds of mature trees changing to their autumn colors, not many courses can compare.

    Fall brings many opportunities for us as Superintendents to make changes to the course that will offer benefit to the golfers for seasons to come. As you will have seen there are many areas at Swope that have been seeded and are showing great germination. Like many neighboring course Swope also participates in the best turf practice of an early Autumn Aerification. This is crucial for the longevity and playability of the greens for years to come. We hope to see you out on the course soon to enjoy all that fall golf at Swope Memorial has to offer.

Thursday, June 29, 2023


Like many sports golf can be a game of inches. Golf and golf course maintenance are very alike in this way. A win at a Major tournament can come down to coming up short by an inch or stroking it perfectly. Similarly the maintenance of the course is also a game of inches. Many would not believe the difference inches make in the presentation and playability of a golf course. We see examples of this everyday in the height of cut of the rough, fairways, and greens. How many inches of rainfall also greatly affects the presentations for many courses as well as the playability.

The months of May and June at Swope have been very blessed compared to the hand mother nature handed us this time last year. We have been able to make many improvements to the course in the last few months which is not going unnoticed among our clientele. Common complements we are receiving are that the conditions are the best they have seen them while playing here. Our greens are getting a reputation for being very fast and healthy, two things not usually associated with one another. Rough is much cleaner than previous years and is playing true. Maintenance to our ageing bunkers took priority this May with close to 100 tons of sand added to bunkers to increase playability.