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Dodge's Dirt

June 2014

As I sit here watching the rain fall on the golf course, I think that a good topic to write about is the excessive amounts of rainfall we have experienced over the past few weeks. This was especially true on the week of May 20th through the 27th when the golf course had close to five inches of rain in a seven day period. After these events, the course was as wet as it has been in the past three years. Springs began to emerge on 1, 5, and 10 and will likely be hanging around for the next month or so depending on how much more rain we get. Of note is how these springs occur in areas that were either blasted out of ledge rock during construction (1 and 10) or on parts of the golf course that are actually built on top of ledge rock (4 and 5). These phenomena are just one of the many idiosyncrasies of this site that we have to manage. While this site is one of the most beautiful ones that I have had the pleasure of being a part of, with this beauty comes challenges.

Springs are difficult to manage with drainage though we will be tacking some of them this fall after closing. The difficulty lies in the fact that the location of these springs sometimes changes over time depending on fractures in the ledge rock below. Every winter, water freezing within the rock fissures can create new avenues for the water to travel through. A spring might be in one area one year and 30 feet over the next and so planning the location of drainage tile can be challenging-but not impossible.

Overall, we are very pleased with the look and feel of the golf course this year. We have made notable improvements with new tee signs and a new landscaping program around them. We have new tee markers as well. Please note that we no longer have red “ladies” tees but rather green “forward” tees. This golf course can play extremely long for some folks and we would like for people to utilize the proper set of tees for their skill level. There is no shame in playing from forward tees-in fact it may make your round more enjoyable. On a related note, we have opened the tee extension on seven and the new tee box we built on three is growing in nicely. Projected opening on this tee will likely be around August 1st of this year-though it may be sooner if conditions permit. Both of these additions will give us more area to distribute wear on and on three in particular will give the player a new “look” at the green.

As we move into the summer months we will be systematically performing some maintenance work on golf course tees-a topdressing and aerification program that will make for a firmer playing surface over time. Please be assured that this work will in no way interfere with the playability of the golf course and will help to ensure a better playing surface for years to come (especially during wetter conditions). Work on the golf course is never truly done and there is always room for improvement.

For you reading enjoyment, I have included an article on golf cart usage and safety. With potentially wet conditions in the forecast, please be aware that golf carts can both cause a great deal of turf damage and become hazardous to its occupants if used carelessly.

Golf cars & cart paths

Golf cars are a convenience enjoyed by millions of players and a necessity for many golfers with disabilities. However, when they are driven improperly, they can cause serious damage to the course. More important, unsafe operation can lead to accidents and injuries. Here's some information about the use of golf cars and how to use them responsibly.

Interesting facts

  • The first golf car was invented in the late 1940s strictly for people with disabilities.
  • About two-thirds of all regulation 18-hole rounds are played with golf cars (NGF, 1994).
  • Several states now allow golf cars to be registered for "street" usage.
  • Since the introduction of golf cars, caddie usage has dropped to only 1 percent of regulation rounds (NGF, 1994).

Safety first

  • Golf cars should only be operated from the driver's side.
  • Never drive with more than two occupants or allow riders on the back of the car.
  • Be sure your passenger is fully seated and check for obstructions before moving.
  • Keep your entire body -- particularly your feet -- inside the car when moving.
  • Drive slowly through turns and drive straight and slow up and down slopes.
  • Be certain to set the brake when coming to a complete stop.
  • Use extra care when operating a golf car in reverse, or on hills, wet turf, loose surfaces or rough terrain.
  • Remove the key when the golf car is not in use.
  • Do not operate a golf car when impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Golf cars do not provide protection from lightning -- seek appropriate shelter if lightning is present.

Follow the rules

The wear-and-tear of golf car traffic can cause unsightly and expensive damage to the golf course. Tire ruts in soft, wet areas can take weeks to heal. Compaction caused by heavy traffic can also ruin the playing surface. You can help prevent damage by following the course's standard golf car policy and obeying temporary restrictions caused by weather, construction or other factors.

Drive friendly

If you "drive friendly," your use of a golf car won't impede the play of others:

  • Park your golf car behind or beside the green -- never in front -- to allow players behind you to hit sooner after you've finished the hole. (You should generally always avoid driving a golf car into the "approach" area 20 to 30 yards in front of the green.)
  • Stop your vehicle to avoid distracting a nearby player who is preparing to hit a shot.
  • Never drive into yards or neighboring properties.

General tips

  • 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.

We appreciate your patronage and look forward to seeing you soon.

Vincent Dodge CGCS

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