Between the Trees Blog

September 15, 2020

To paraphrase the great Minnesota band Semisonic, “it’s closing time...one last round, so call up your friends and get here!”  

August may have seen the end of summer, but it went out in style.  The Indian Summer Classic was great, the crew had the course in great shape...a little rain in the morning didn’t even slow them down.  

September can be an amazing time to play golf, with the fall colors and the crisp cool temps, perfect khakis and a long sleeve.   It’s also a huge time for fall cleanup, or as they say in golf maintenance, aerification.

  <I’ll duck, while you throw things> 

I could bore you with the details, but know this...1) it is an absolute necessity for the immediate and long term health and quality of the course, and 2) we work too hard to provide a great playing surface and wouldn’t mess it up, if it wasn’t important.  For those of you who would like some more information about aerification, here is a link to a great article by the USGA...click here.

Fall means here comes the cooler temperatures, and as we’ve seen already, it can get pretty chilly in the morning.  Brings about another one on the top 5 golfer dislikes...the dreaded “frost delay” <dun ta dun>.  Let’s cover some of the common questions, I hear…
Why is there a frost delay?...”I don't see frost on the first tee or putting green, there wasn't frost at my house, and what possible damage could it do?”  So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and answer some of these questions?  

“What is frost?”… I think most of us know what frost is, it's the freezing of dew on the leaf blade.

“Why is this bad?”...since the leaf blade is made up of 88% water it also freezes and any contact by man or machine will cause it to break and rupture the cell walls.  Thus breaking the cell membrane and causing the plant to discolor and die.“

But there is no frost on the putting green?”…That very well may be true, but the golf course is a large piece of property with elevation changes, shade, and micro climates all being important factors in determining temperature and frost.  

 “The first tee time is after the sunrise; doesn’t that mean the frost is gone?”…little known fact, the coldest part of the day is just before sunrise, once the sun rises the frost sets in and we are able to determine the length of the delay.  

“Why is there a delay at all?”…the reason for the delay is, when there is frost we don’t want anyone on the grass, golfers or maintenance staff, thus delaying the start of maintenance operations.  Since we strive for the best golf course conditions (mowed greens, tees, and fairways, and raked bunkers) this puts us behind and we have to briefly delay the first tee to allow for maintenance to stay ahead of the anxious golfers. 

“The first hole is clear, can’t we go?”...unfortunately, no.  While the 1st hole might be ready to go, if holes after it are still frost, then that stops us from doing what we need to do.  The major delay here is that the 3rd hole is low lying and in the shade, one of the holes that stays frosted the longest.  

Frost sucks, there is no if, ands, or butts about it...we have to wait, the golfer has to wait, and it’s cold!!...but at the end of the day, we have to do what’s best for the course.  

This month we recognize one of my favorites (is that because she makes an amazing strawberry, rhubarb cheesecake bar, maybe) or is it her constant smile and positive attitude, definitely, Billie Jean Monson…

While she may not have been here the longest, started in 2017...she comes with 15 years of prior golf course experience.  When a friend recommended working at a golf course, Billie Jean jumped at the chance to work outside.  Billie Jean fell in love with numerous different pieces of equipment and is always looking to try new things when new stuff arrives.  Billie Jean said one of her fondest moments was getting to work alongside her youngest daughter for 8 seasons, but while the working was fun, the drives to work could be a little sketchy.  When it comes to lessons learned, Billie Jean will never forget to use her parking breaks, while getting off her mower to put the tee markers back, her triplex creeped off into the woods without her!!  When you see Billie Jean, you won’t be able to hold back your smile...thank her, as we thank her for the job she does.  

The days are getting shorter and colder, get those final rounds in while you can...As always, we look forward to seeing you on the 1st tee and keep it between the trees.  

Red 

Give us a follow on the Wilderness Golf Maintenance Twitter Page @WildernessGCM

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The Wilderness does not have a restaurant at this time. The bar is open and the outdoor grill will serve subs, hot dogs, brats, and burgers from 11am-6pm daily.