Message from the President | Chris Caster, President CCC Board of Directors
Greetings! I hope that this letter finds all of our members, friends, and family healthy and safe. It’s been an honor to serve on the board of directors at Champlain for the past couple of years, and I look forward to serving as the new President as well. We are fortunate to have added two new members to the board: Bryan Smith and John Cronin have a lot of great new ideas, as well as positive energy. Our board now consists of Chris Caster, President; Bernie Gage, Vice President; Keri Lawson, Secretary; Bryan Smith, Treasurer, Patty Geraghty, Aaron Reynolds, and John Cronin.
Paul Blanchard is no longer serving on the board, but we are all incredibly grateful for his years of contribution as President. I don’t think many people realize the countless hours that Paul donated to the club; he helped the club navigate some tough financial times as we saw costs rise and interest in the sport wain. The course is on a much stronger footing due to his leadership. I also want to acknowledge Sally Barber, who retired after 28 years at Champlain. Sally always went above and beyond for the club. Mike has some big shoes to fill taking over her role as Pro Shop manager. I hope that Sally is enjoying retirement and is calling for tee times for herself instead of making them for all of us.
COVID-19 has presented all of us with challenges this year. We appreciate the support that all of our members, guests, and sponsors have shown the club throughout this period of uncertainty. It’s been wonderful to see so many people enjoying the course recently; it certainly provides a sense of normalcy that we all need. Members and guests seem to be following the guidelines and have helped the staff by abiding by the recommendations the VGA provided, which we truly appreciate.
Our membership numbers are well above what we anticipated at the onset of the pandemic. So far, we are on track to surpass last year’s figures as new people continue to join. We have seen several people utilize the payment plan option, and we will continue to find innovative ways to keep and grow our membership. Several outside tournaments have canceled, which will impact our revenues this year. However, we saw a great turnout for the spring Men’s Member-Member, and we do not anticipate canceling any club-sponsored tournaments. A government PPP loan has helped offset some of the losses attributed to the delayed opening and canceled events. At this time, we are looking at options for an informal membership meeting this summer to take the place of the canceled spring annual meeting. Please bear with us, as we cannot provide more details yet.
The feedback on the condition of the course has been that it’s in exceptional shape. Please thank Chris Saylor and his staff when you see them. Additionally, Mike and his staff have done a great job in the Pro-shop. It is a challenging job on a normal year, but this year has added difficulties with the extra rules and precautions. Please also take a moment to thank the Pro Shop staff.
It is our goal to ensure that every person that plays at Champlain has a great experience from the time they are greeted at the shop until the time they leave the restaurant. The board is full of energy and momentum. Going forward, the minutes of each board meeting will be posted in the Pro Shop and will be available upon request. We will also advertise on the Pro Shop’s events board when our monthly meetings take place, as well as upcoming committee meetings–all are welcome and we encourage you to join a committee. There are committees for the House, Greens, Pro Shop, Tournaments, Communications, and Ladies on the Links. Looking forward to seeing everyone soon! Have a great summer and stay safe.
Golf Pro & Pro Shop News | Mike Swim, Golf Pro & Pro-Shop Manager
Welcome to the 2020 golf season! What a strange beginning to what will be a great year.
You will see a lot of new faces in the Pro Shop and new outside staff to help with daily play and chores. Please be patient, as you get to know the new staff, and they get to know you. Remind them of your name while checking in and going to the first tee. Keep in mind, there are a lot of new protocols with the COVID-19 restrictions:
- Tee times are available 7 days in advance for members, 4 days for guests.
- Carts are first-come, first-served (but we have yet to run out).
- Please notify the Pro Shop staff as to the number of players.
- With the loss of tee times due to spacing, we will require singles and twosomes to pair up.
- We will be making changes as the state allows and will try to keep all players up-to-date as rules change.
- Tee times are available from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm weekdays and 6:30 am to 4:00 pm on weekends.
In other news:
- Tournaments & Events: We have lost a few tournament events–none that were club-hosted–but we still have a busy schedule starting in July. Please check with the Pro Shop or website calendar for days of events. Be on the lookout: Member-guest forms will be coming out soon so get your partners ready! Also, keep an eye out for Friday night couples’ golf coming soon!
- New Local Rules: Holes #10, #17, and #18: Ball entering Maintenance or warm-up area is free relief. Two club lengths from point of entry, no closer to the hole. Out of Bounds: New local rule allows players to drop ball two club-lengths into fairway equal distance from where the ball entered out of bounds. Adding 2 strokes.
- Personal Note: I would like to take this time to say thank you for allowing me to be your Golf Pro, Pro Shop Manager, and Restaurant Owner. It will be a challenge this year as everything comes together, but I will try my best to provide the excellent service and smooth operations that I have given members and guests over the years. Thanks for all of the support. Please feel to reach out to me on my cell anytime with any questions, concerns, or help with any membership needs: 802-309-3690
From the Greens | Chris Saylor, Superintendent
This past Monday (6/8), the front 9 was closed; and on Tuesday, the back 9 was closed. During these two days, the maintenance crew did some needed work to our greens to keep them healthy and putting well. We try our best not to inconvenience anyone’s golf routine, but we must make sure that our greens are getting the love that they need.
- The 1st job was to “needle tine” the greens. We use a 1/4″ solid needle tine to punch tiny holes in the greens. This allows the greens to breathe a bit, eliminate compaction, and to better accept water and nutrients.
- The 2nd job was to verti-cut the greens, which cuts the laid over grass and stands it up so that it will provide a better putting surface.
- The 3rd job was mowing all the long vertical grass that we stood up from verticutting.
- The 4th job was lightly topdressing the greens. We take a rotary spreader and spread USGA spec sand on the greens. A few benefits of doing this is to get sand into the verticutting lines to help keep the grass standing vertical, smooth the putting surface, and incorporate sand into the soil profile to help eliminate thatch and provide a good growing medium.
- The 5th job was rolling the greens, which smooths out the putting surface and helps get the sand down into the grass canopy.
- Lastly, we watered the greens to help incorporate the topdressing sand and allow the water to successfully get down into the soil via the new aeration holes.
Nobody likes it when parts of the golf course are closed, but this process is extremely important to the health and quality of our greens. In the perfect world, this process should be done once a month. The crew and I are committed to providing the best putting surface that we can and will try to do this process in July, August, and September. Unfortunately, I cannot give any specific dates as it really depends on Mother Nature. I will try to schedule these maintenance times with the Pro Shop early enough so everybody can be notified. The course is coming around and is looking and playing better day-by-day. Thank you for all of your support. Enjoy the golf course!
Lady Links | Kim Barkyoumb, Ladies’ League President
Hello Ladies! First and foremost, I hope everyone is healthy and managing okay in these unprecedented times. We are so fortunate to have golf as part of our lives and be able to enjoy the beauty of nature, as well as our fabulous course. Champlain Country Club is in spectacular condition this year. Tee times have been spread to 15 minutes apart to continue to maintain the social distancing, and the porch is open for food and beverages. Mike and his staff are doing a fantastic job!
We have time slots available for Ladies League on Thursday morning at 9:00 am and 5:30 pm. Either call the Pro Shop or sign up in the book by Wednesday at noon. This is super important as the current guidelines have put restrictions on tee times. Please spread the word…. see you on the course! Keep Swinging…
Swimmer’s-Champlain Restaurant | Mike Swim, Restaurant Owner
The restaurant is in full swing, and we are now allowed to seat 25 guests inside and 40 guests outside. Of course, take-out is still available! This spring, the restaurant had a mini-facelift with fresh paint and lighting, thanks to the hard work of staff and friends. We are updating our menu weekly with new food and drink specials. Don’t forget to call ahead for reservations: 802-524-3804!
We are excited to welcome Chelsea Ellis back this year. She will be taking on the new role of restaurant manager. Her experience in hospitality and at the club will ensure everyone continues to have a great dining experience!