Welcome to my blog!
It is my intention to give the readers a better understanding of what we do to maintain The Farms Country Club's 18 hole championship golf course and grounds.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Assistant Golf Pro, Jeff Beale, Teaches Golf Course Etiquette!

I just happen to be passing the eleventh green today as Assistant Golf Pro, Jeff Beale, was giving a group of junior golfers a lesson. I noticed that he was teaching them a lesson in golf course etiquette. He was instructing them on how to properly fix ballmarks on greens.  He also elaborated on the fact that this practice, along with divot filling and bunker raking, is part of the rules of the game. I took advantage of the time to address the group of very attentive youngsters. I didn't have too much to say because Jeff seemed to have covered all the basics. He was even pointing things out like ballmarks that had been unrepaired and how long they would take to heal.
I just thought that this was an awesome idea to teach the present and future players of the game that the rules don't just encompass physical and mental skill or imense integrity, the game includes etiquette!

Great Job Jeff!

Jeff Beale gives a lesson in ballmark repair!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ryder Cup Kicks...

OK this is a family site!

There are so many different types of tournaments played in the course of the year that I enjoy for different reasons.
Some that are purely about course conditions that test the golfers skills, competing against each other on a level playing field, the course.

Some tournaments are designed to be competitive, yet the ultimate purpose is fun and camaraderie.

Welcome to the Ryder Cup!!!

The Ryder Cup Tournament is a favorite of mine because it's ultimate goal is to be fun for both men and women of every skill level! It is so much fun!
Tell me I'm wrong! If you didn't play, you missed this...

No caption allowed here... They having too much fun!!!
This team ready to go!
Even staff is having a blast!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Greens Maintenance Quandary or Epiphany?

Stimpmeter which measures green speed to compare consistency from "green to green"
I experienced something today that made me think a bit differently. It's a good thing. It should actually happen more often. As I passed through the grill room, some members were making the turn and asked why the greens were slower than they have been. They were used to consistent stimpmeter readings between 9.75' and 10' as a normal daily speed. We have had tremendous positive feedback on the playability of our greens all year. I explained that we had three employees that were out for the last two days and we were unable to roll greens but still changed the pins and markers. It dawned on me that maybe I am stuck in a place, where in the last twenty-two years as superintendent, I am just used to the fact "The pins must be changed between Saturday and Sunday!" Maybe I should be thinking differently? I know our labor budget has been cut by more than 30%, but maintenance priorities must be adjusted accordingly and those changes must be communicated. If I were the player, maybe I'd rather putt greens that were mowed and rolled instead of playing a course that had a different set-up between Saturday and Sunday. How many members actually play both days and would notice? How often will this actually happen? I decided to drive the course and ask several groups this very question. Every single group unanimously voted for the greens to be at the speed and consistency they have become accustomed to all season.

When you manage something for a long period of time, it's not easy to get yourself to think out of the box. Inevitably, as a long time manager, it’s easy to stay with the "Status Quo". It's not that it's hard to change; it's just a different thought process to get the light bulb to turn on. It opens a door to an exciting area of your position that makes you re-evaluate everything. We have everything from trade magazines to university professors, whose scientific studies spew cutting edge data that help us guide our turfgrass maintenance programs at our own unique courses. Believe me... every course is unique! Always even unique within their own confines!

Superintendents are incredibly good at using that readily available knowledge for proper agronomical management. The hard part of managing a golf course at a high level is staying on the cutting edge of how we manage the health of turfgrass in conjunction with our member's priorities and consistently balancing the two. Today I was enlightened and reminded that I should continue to repetitively re-think my maintenance strategies to balance what is right agronomically while always narrowing the gap between our member satisfaction and those important turf health goals.
In conclusion, I should have skipped changing the pins and markers today. I should have mowed and rolled to keep the consistent green speeds. Survey Says!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

CT Open Qualifier Tees Off On Time! What They Will Never Know!

Last evening's storms were expected but we didn't know the damage we would experience. We had heavy lightning, rain and wind. We worked hard to get the course in the best shape possible for today's participants. Thankfully tee times were scheduled for 7:30 off the front nine only. It gave us some breathing room to prioritize our maintenance. We had a large white pine branch down next to #1 green that needed immediate attention. There were large amounts of debris and hanging branches everywhere. Our goals were prioritized:
  • Safety #1 (We had a tree company respond and arrive by 8:00 AM)
"The Care Of Trees" company was here to take care of 2 limbs that our maintenancece staff were unable to reach on holes #11 and #18.  Both hanging branches were directly over cart paths and posed immediate threats to golfers.

"The Care Of Trees" Company Removing Dangerous Hanging Branches... This One Behind # 11 Green

  1. Our staff took care of the tree damage and hanging branches on rest of course where we could reach.
  2. Make sure tee markers and pin placements follow CSGA plan
  3. Green speed/consistency (greens rolling at 10 on stimpmeter even after .75 inches rain)
  4. Cleanup of tees and fairways
  5. Bunker maintenance (especially around greens)
 Most players will never see the "before and after" of what we face on a morning like this.
White Pine Branch #1
Crew picking up large branches
#16 Green
Final cleanup ahead of play on hole #16

Starting Cleanup on #18 Fairway. It is Priority so we don't bother players on #1.
#18 fairway completed
Hole #12 getting blown off

Seriously? In a cup on Practice Green? Flying Pigs Next?
Just when you are feeling like you kicked butt on an impossible morning you get something like this... I've learned you have never seen it all...