Bowling Green Golf Club Course Conditions Improvements Ahead of Schedule Thanks to Mild New Jersey Weather

At Bowling Green Golf Club we take pride in providing private club playing conditions on a semi-private course. Superintendent, Ernie Headley’s primary job is to maintain consistency of playing conditions throughout the year. To that end, he monitors the health of the golf course environment through careful observation, diagnosis of disease and treatment of injury to the fairway, tee and green areas, as well as the bunkers, water hazards, and wooded areas.

Maintaining a healthy golf course landscape is both an art and a science and requires a wealth of knowledge and experience. Mr. Headley brings a unique set of skills to the job. He grew up on a local farm and learned about growing hay, corn, and ultimately grass, from his father. He is also able to fix any machine in the barn and in his spare time, he keeps a small herd of Ayrshire cattle just up the road from the golf course.

Weather is the most important factor when it comes to maintaining favorable course conditions. Our mild winter and warmer than normal March allowed the maintenance crew to complete projects ahead of time. Check them out below.

Course Conditions Improvements

    • We constructed a new tee on the 3rd hole, which presents an interesting new angle on this par 3 and allows us to have a backup tee when we begin renovation on the regular tee next fall. The new tee has been sodded and will be ready for play by early summer.

    • We cleaned out and repaired a drainage swale on the 11th hole with a more eye pleasing bed of rocks.

    • We leveled and reseeded the uneven area of rough between the 11th tee and 12th fairway.

    • We prepped the 14th hole for the installation of a drain on the 14th green late in the Fall

    • For the first time in our history, with the completion of work on the 13th hole, we have renovated all 56 of our bunkers.

Those warm temperatures back in March jump started the growing season (usually late April through mid June for us) and have given the course a feeling of mid season lushness. All of the flowering trees have been ahead of schedule. But the big weather event has been the lack of rain and the drying winds we’ve been experiencing. We’ve actually had the irrigation system on in April, something unheard of.


Nonetheless, with a little moisture and a warmer soil temperature, the greens will take off for the season. At that time, we implement maintenance practices that will provide great conditions through the summer months. This includes fertilization and & verticutting of the greens.


The maintenance crew makes repairing areas that show wear due to high traffic part of their daily routine depressions and uneven areas are filled with new earth and re-sodded. Having our own sod nursery, as well as a nursery green, makes this easy to accomplish.

Since proper drainage of the fairways and greens is essential for providing consistent playing conditions, we have been making improvements to the course drainage system for the past several seasons These improvements made a noticeable difference when we received 11.5 inches of rain last September. Motivated by our success with fairway drains, we completed three drains on the 8th green in 2011. We anticipate working on the 14th & 15th greens in the off-season this year.

If you’d like to get updates on course conditions from Ernie, stay connected with Bowling Green on facebook and twitter or visit our website at

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