Bower Leads Expert Turf Team at Martis Camp

Scott Bower, Martis Camp Club's superintendent, is inspired to see his course - built in 2006 - host a USGA championship. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)
By David Shefter, USGA
July 27, 2013

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Scott Bower vividly remembers the day when the first tree was cut down to officially start construction on Martis Camp Club.

It was May 13, 2006, and there’s a photo in his office to commemorate the moment.

Seven years later, Bower still marvels over what has transpired on the 342-acre property. This week, the Tom Fazio design hosted its first USGA championship and everyone associated with Martis Camp has come away beaming over the success of the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur.

“[Head pro] Gus Jones and [superintendent] Scott Bower deserve a lot of credit,” said Mark Johnson, the club’s president and general manager. “They have done just a fantastic job.”

Bower, a 42-year-old New Hampshire native, has done yeoman’s work the past three years in collaborating with the USGA to get the course in pristine championship condition. He’s been forced to respond to various weather issues, including near-record heat the past few weeks.

“It’s always a challenge,” said Bower. “This year we had some different variables. We had some heat spells and some cooler soil temperatures earlier in the season that kind of delayed some of our agronomic planning. But we had a plan … and we stuck to it. And I think we hit it.”

In 2000, Bower came to Truckee from the Sacramento area to help with the development of nearby Lahontan Golf Club, another private residential community that was developed by DMB Highlands, the same company that created Martis Camp.

Bower had experience with new properties: He  had helped build Twelve Bridges, in Lincoln, Calif.,, the site of a former LPGA Tour event. When he arrived in Truckee he thought he would stay in the area just two years. It’s turned into 13 and he couldn’t be happier.

Ever since the ground-breaking at Martis Camp, Bower worked closely with Fazio’s design team. Because of the challenging topography, rock had to be blasted and hammered to route the course. All of the crushed stone was re-packaged for cart paths and shading material for irrigation. When they ran out of topsoil, they re-crushed more stone and turned it into material for re-growing grass.

“It took us four times through just to clear the golf course,” said Bower of the removal of trees and rocks. “We wanted to get it just right. We wanted to have the feel that the golf course has been here forever.

“It was a challenge, but we did it.”

Long before ground was even broken at Martis Camp, Bower was taking water samples from Martis Creek to analyze for quality.

“We built state-of-the-art water quality stations and monitor them with real-time data,” said Bower.

Martis Creek flows through the property and the monitors deliver data on soil impediments as well as phosphorous and nitrate levels when the water enters and exits Martis Camp.

“Since 2003, the water has been cleaner when it leaves the property,” said Bower. “We’re making sure that Martis Camp has zero [negative] impact on that creek.”

For Bower, golf and agronomy have been passions since he was a teenager. He started as a caddie at Amherst (N.H.) Country Club and then worked his way onto the grounds staff. Brower graduated from Michigan State’s renowned turfgrass management program and during that time, he helped prepare Oakland Hills Country Club in suburban Detroit for the 1996 U.S. Open. That was his introduction to the USGA.

He later interned with the Pebble Beach Company before moving on to other courses in California, including Twelve Bridges.

Since coming to Martis Camp, he’s prepared the course for two major golf events: the 2011 Pacific Coast Amateur and this year’s Junior Amateur. Last year, his assistant Clint Luedtke spent time at The Olympic Club during the U.S. Open to gain valuable insights on course setup.

Since the championship was awarded to Martis Camp, Bower has worked closely with USGA Green Section agronomist Brian Whitlark, gathering data on green firmness.

But even the best-laid plans can be sidetracked by Mother Nature. Temperatures reached the mid-90s earlier this week, which were near-records for the area. To get the desired firmness for championship play, Brower’s team only hand-watered greens and fairways.

The result was a golf course that virtually everyone – from players, USGA volunteers, spectators and officials – raved about.

Bower, who has a staff of 30 to maintain all of the grounds that also include 21 miles of hiking trails, wouldn’t divulge his daily routine. When the winter comes, that’s when he’ll take more time off to spend time with his family, which includes three boys (6-year-old twins and a 9-year-old boy). But even when the golf-year ends, Bower’s team grooms trails for cross-country skiing, sledding and snow-shoeing.

Said Bower: “We work enough hours to get the job done.”

David Shefter is a senior staff writer with the USGA. Email him at

Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @USGA
Get The Rules of Golf App For Your iPhone Or Android Today
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image