Trump National Golf Club naturally keeps ponds beautiful

By |  May 11, 2014

The Potomac River is rich in American history — John Smith explored it in the 1600s, George Washington envisioned the capital to be located on it and the Union and Confederacy used it as a dividing line.

The Potomac is also what drew The Trump Organization to undertake a multimillion-dollar clubhouse and course renovation of the former Lowes Island Golf Club in 2009. Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C., is now entering its fifth season under the direction of Donald Trump and The Trump Organization.

Brad Enie, director of grounds, graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Penn State’s agronomy and turfgrass science program. He came to Trump National after five years with Trump International in Palm Beach, Fla. Enie has said that he is very proud of his work at both courses, but Trump National Washington D.C. has now earned a special spot in his heart.

“We have an amazing landscape in a secluded area with natural habitat. The designers incorporated what nature had given them. They worked within the incredible landscape, so golfers can enjoy the sport and Mother Nature at the same time,” Enie says.

When The Trump Organization purchased the property, Donald Trump said, “It was a really good course, but it had something that was unique. It has 2 ½ miles along the Potomac River. No other course has that.”

Trump National GC includes several acres of wetlands and ponds as well as a new 75 foot tall water sculpture. An expansive deck now sits on top of the water sculpture and overlooks the entire property.

“The water feature is spectacular for events. It’s a beautiful new addition — made of native rock from the property,” Enie says.

With the Potomac River in constant view and so many aquatic features, water quality is naturally a focus for Trump National. They are choosing to treat their fountains, sculpture and ponds with natural products instead of chemicals.

Water locked

With courses by legendary designers Tom Fazio and Arthur Hills, Trump National has 36 holes on over 600 acres. It also features a 50,000-square-foot clubhouse, formal and casual dining, state-of-the-art fitness facility and pro shop. While water is a large part of the aesthetics of the courses, it also adds to the challenge of golfing at Trump National because water comes into play on 19 holes. Both par-72 courses are challenging yet rewarding for players of all skill level.

Enie says Trump himself is very hands on. “He visits here regularly and has a true passion for golf. He sees golf courses as artwork created out of the earth.”

“The environment is a priority of ours. Our goal is to create an amazing golfing experience for our members, but the way we work on our courses and ponds is with special concern for the environment,” Enie says.

Ron Slingerman, aquatic specialist for Bioverse, consults with Enie about treatments for the water on the course. “Instead of chemicals, Bioverse breaks down unwanted material naturally. Where chemicals are killers, biological matter digests or consumes what we don’t want in a healthy pond. Bioverse uses organics in a way that doesn’t disrupt the natural ecosystem,” Slingerman says.

Golfers share the property with ducks and geese, eagles, herons, red foxes, deer and the usual animals found in the area says Enie. The Bioverse products handle fish waste, leaves, duck and geese waste and whatever organics might cause dirty or murky water.

Working for quality

The water quality of the Potomac River is a concern on its own, as it flows to the Chesapeake Bay, just 50 miles away. The Chesapeake Bay has been labeled as poor quality due to excessive nutrients, sediment and toxic contaminants.

“We need hydration to keep everything alive,” Enie says. “We know that a healthy pond makes a healthy habitat and healthier irrigation water, which makes for healthier turf. We feel it’s our responsibility to help keep the Potomac River clean.”

Product application is easily done with the Aquasphere, which involves tossing a ball into the pond. The sphere has openings that release live cultures of good bacteria continuously 24 hours a day for up to 30 days. The good bacteria works at the bottom of the pond, reducing the sludge layer from 10 to 20 percent a year.

“The sphere looks plastic but it is actually biodegradable and is made of a corn product. It is also weighted with sand, so there are no unnatural products entering the pond,” Slingerman says.

Aquasphere also consumes nitrogen and phosphorus, which are food sources of algae. Slingerman says, “In most cases what’s good or the turf is bad for the water on the course.”

“We’ve had success at Trump National because Brad understands what it takes. Just like every fairway or green on the same course is different, each pond or water feature is different. Brad knows that patience and natural products combine to make water quality better in the long run,” Slingerman says.

“People have always been drawn to water. It is calming and attractive, whether the water is on a golf course or it’s a lake people visit on their vacations. Trump National makes the best of its water features, and those water features are a part of how what makes us a world-class club,” Enie says.

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About the Author: Sara Schmuck

Sara Schmuck is the Managing Editor of Client Publications for Ellenbecker Communications, an international communications firm specializing in the construction, mining and drilling industries.

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