As of the writing of this article, snow is falling on the six inches of snow already on the ground. Very nice weather throughout the entire month of October and into the early part of November made it possible for us to perform some much needed brush clearing on the golf course as well as some bunker drainage. Combined with the early start this year in the spring, this entire year has been probably one of the most productive seasons on the golf course in the eight years of its existence. I think that everyone will be happy with the improvements to both golf course’s visibility and playability.
Now is the time, after some long overdue relaxation, to begin to focus on indoor work on the golf course. Every year we are asked, “What do you do in the winter?” An apt question considering the weather outdoors. The primary function in the winter months is to prepare equipment for the coming season. When one considers that we have close to twenty separate mowers each with from one to seven cutting units that need rebuilding and sharpening, there is a substantial amount of work involved. Add to this the work we perform cleaning up and repairing golf course accessories as well as the other tractors and utility carts that we use throughout the entire season, and one can see that the work is never really truly done and gives us productive work to perform in the winter.
The depressing snowfall outside inspires this month’s golf course picture. I think we can all use a more upbeat picture taken when the golf course was looking its best.
August 16, 2003 Hole #1
August was another excellent month for the golf course with a substantial amount of our efforts being focused on the Minnesota Club Professionals Championship on August 29, 30, and 31. Preparation for that event began weeks before the tournament and fortunately on the days of the event weather was extremely cooperative. For the event, putting greens were rolling a true 11’ on the stimpmeter and many of the best players in the state were pleased with course conditions. The course played extremely firm and fast and yielded a low score of 67.
Many of you may have noticed the change in course conditions in the weeks before and after the tournament and may wonder why we do not keep the golf course like that year round. Rough was longer, fairways were firmer, and greens were faster. There are primarily two reasons for this:
- Most low-handicap players enjoy these sorts of conditions-they present a sterner test of golf. Most players, however, tend to struggle to score under these conditions and the experience becomes less enjoyable for most golfers. Pace of play issues in particular become more of a problem as well.
- The golf course is less able to withstand heavy wear from golfers when maintained under tournament conditions. Greens in particular are more vulnerable to traffic when both their mowing heights and fertility are low (necessary to achieve fast green speeds). At the Wilderness in particular, the severe undulations on greens limit the number of pin placements on many holes. This in turn funnels the traffic into the same areas over and over again-thinning turf and decreasing quality. When one considers that the Wilderness hosts over 23,000 rounds of golf a year in a 5 month golfing season, golf course wear is something that we really have to manage-even if it means that the golf course cannot be tournament ready for the entire year.
We thank all of you for your understanding.
For this months construction picture, we will have a look at before/after pictures of hole 4 to help illustrate just how rough a site this was to work with (note boulders and ledge rock).
August 14, 2002 July 16, 2003
See you on the golf course,
The month of July was a very busy one for the golf course and the golf course has held up fairly well from the excessive amounts of wear. That being said, there are many ways that golfers can assist us if keeping the golf course in better condition for all players.
- Repairing ballmarks. Experience has shown that a substantial number of our players are not as diligent in repairing ballmarks on greens as they could be. While we try to keep up with this in our normal maintenance, the best time to repair a ballmarks is immediately after the damage occurs. Please refer to the following graphic for instructions on how do perform this very important responsibility that every player should be aware of.
- Replacing divots and use of divot sand. Please replace divots whenever possible. In the event that the divot does not remain intact or for some reason you are unable to retrieve your divot, please use the divot sand conveniently located in bottles on your golf cart.
- Drive golf carts responsibly. This year we are seeing more traffic in areas of the golf course where there has never been traffic before. Please be aware of the white lines on golf course approaches and do not pass over them. When the golf course is wet, please drive on cart paths whenever possible and avoid lower wet areas adjacent to drainage basins. Please avoid driving in the same path that other players take-try to spread the wear from traffic to other areas. Please refer to the following list for some guidelines to follow in the use of golf carts. This list applies not only to the Wilderness Golf Course but any other golf course where you may be playing.
- Never drive a golf car through standing water in fairways or any turf areas that are obviously wet.
- Never drive onto a green, collar or tee or any marked hazard.
- Never drive into any area that has been recently seeded or sodded.
- Avoid abrupt stops and sharp turns that cause skidding.
- Spread out wear-and-tear by avoiding compacted areas.
- If golf cars are allowed in the fairway, follow the 90-degree rule: Stay on the path until you come even with your ball, then make a 90-degree turn into the fairway and drive directly to your ball. After your shot, drive directly back to the path.
- Watch for special signage or other markers that direct traffic.
- Avoid driving over sprinkler heads and yardage markers.
- Don't drive cars into out-of-play areas that may be environmentally sensitive (such as wildflower patches, native grass plantings and marshes).
- Golfers with medically certified disabilities may need access to areas not normally open to golf car traffic. Their golf cars are generally marked with a flag to let others know they have special access.
- Avoid pulling off the path near tees and greens.
- Keep all four tires on the path whenever possible. Do not park with tires off the path.
By following these rules and procedures in regards to ball marks, divots, and golf cart usage the player can make a very real difference in the condition of the golf course and ensure better conditions for everyone. We thank you in advance for your cooperation.
On a final note, this month’s construction picture is of the 8th hole. This hole was one of the most difficult to grow in after seeding because of numerous washouts after seeding. It took a great deal of effort by everybody to make this into the golf hole it is today. Please not the before and after pics and the dates under each photo.
April 22, 2003
July 16, 2003
See you on the golf course,
Sunny days have made a world of a difference on the golf course over the past few weeks and from a playability standpoint the golf course is now truly offering a challenge to all players-particularly when the course is firm and fast. This is much different than most of the month of June, when rainfall and gloomy days made the course soft and slow.
Funny how many people say and think that golf courses are easier to manage when rainfall is plentiful. This could not be further from the truth. Wet conditions due to excessive rainfall increase the need for labor inputs such as repairing bunker washouts and mowing with greater frequency. While occasional rainfall is welcome in relief of a long extended dry spell, consistent rainfall on consecutive days only makes us lose control of the playability of the golf course and at times forces the dreaded cart path only ruling. Let us hope that our luck holds with the weather and that summer-like conditions prevail for the rest of the year.
For the remaining newsletters this year, we are going to submit photos dating back to the construction of the golf course. Doing so gives you, our customers, a better idea of just what kind of site the course is built on. While the site is indeed beautiful, the roughness of the site did pose some serious challenges. This month’s picture is of rock blasting near what is now our practice tee. Note the subgrade for what is now the 18th green in the foreground. The specks in the sky are actually rock fragments flying through the air. Next time you are practicing your swing, look behind you and you can get an idea of where the original rock formation was on the site and the work it took to construct it.
See you on the golf course, Vincent Dodge