The golf course is back to the level of conditioning that we are accustomed to after much effort that spanned over a period of 14 months (5 winter months, 6 cool and wet months-great for annual bluegrass, bad for bentgrass-and 3 wonderfully warm and dry growing months). Just walked off of the 18th green with a Stimpmeter and clocked greens at well over 9.5’ on the Stimpmeter. Right where we want to be. The picture below makes me happy in that it shows a severely stunted clump of Poa annua (annual bluegrass) surrounded by a less stunted bentgrass. This is intentional as we are taking advantage of the warmer weather to level the playing field in favor of the more abundant bentgrass on the golf course. Much like an oncologist might use chemotherapy to control cancer in a patient, we use a selection of plant growth regulators combined with fertility management to do the same thing to our tees, greens, and fairways-though each prescription is tailor made for each respective area. While most area golf courses have pretty much punted and gone with the strategy of growing the best annual bluegrass that they can, we are not ready to give up the fight as bentgrass is, frankly, a much better playing surface with a better likelihood of surviving all sorts of stress-both from the winter and the summer.
Annual Bluegrass 7 Green 8-4-2019
16 Green 8-4-2019
The only downside of this program is that areas with extensive Poa annua contamination, like the collar on the right side of 16 green, can look a little gnarly with the weakened annual bluegrass that we are trying to control. I am okay with this and I hope that you are too. Everything we do to manage this site is done with an eye towards long-term health of the property-even if it means having some areas that might not look as healthy as the rest of the golf course. This is a fight that will be ongoing for the next few years as we continue the conversion process. Playability is in no way affected by this process-indeed it is enhanced as the PGRs (plant growth regulators) have the added benefit of creating a surface which is more tightly knit and faster. Thank you for your interest in the golf course and the technical nature of our work-I would now like to move on to something a little less complicated.
During this past week we have seen three player behaviors that I wish would never occur. These actions do not really affect us as a golf course maintenance crew as our job is to solve problems and repairing these issues is not a huge deal. What is concerning is that these negative actions affect your fellow player and show a lack of concern for the other players around you. Golf is all about etiquette and courtesy-or at least it should be. The examples are as follows:
The Foot Grinder:
Putting Green 8-1-2019
In this example, a player has camped out on one part of the putting green and ground their feet into the green. I am all for practicing-that is what a putting green is for. All I ask is that players refrain from grinding their feet into the same area repeatedly while they practice. We have a 13,000 square foot putting green so feel free to use the entire area.
The Short Putt Missed Tantrum:
7 Green 8-4-2019
This has happened twice in the past week but has become a fairly regular occurrence over the years. Usually within 2-5 feet of the cup. Not difficult to see what happened here. Somebody missed a short putt and took it out on the green. I have never been around a player that did this sort of thing but if I was, I certainly would not be happy, as a player, to see this and would definitely let that person know that this is not cool. I hope that the other folks in the group at least said something to this person to discourage this. Again, the repair is easy enough but what about the rest of the players for the day coming behind this player?
The Sunflower Seed Guy
13 Green 8-4-2019
This is a relatively new phenomena but is now a regular occurrence on the golf course. I like seeds as much as the next guy but blowing the shells onto a putting surface is kind of an inconsiderate move to your fellow player. Blow them all you like anywhere on the golf course you like other than a putting green if you care for the others trying to enjoy the golf course. These pictures came courtesy of our golf course maintenance crew who show a genuine concern for the property.
I feel lucky to be part of the group that is the Crew of 2019. We had some changes this year-subtractions and additions-but all-in-all this has been a very positive experience in crew building. I have always enjoyed the crew teamwork aspect of my profession more than anything else. We work every day starting at 5 am to do the best that we can for our customers-next time you see them feel free to share a kind word. We are the offensive lineman of the golf course operation. When things go well, no one notices and acknowledgement of a job well done is rare. When things go wrong, however, we are the first to take the heat. Just the nature of the business.
Thank you for your patronage and we hope to see you on the golf course.