Wednesday, August 6, 2014


After only four days of play, the golf course is certainly showing signs of wear and tear from a number of things, most of which are completely preventable.  As a private members club you would believe every round played would also entail every ball mark being fixed and every divot replaced or filled.  I’d like to offer some tips on how each and every member can help protect their investment and take care of their course on a number of levels improving the quality and playability for all who come out.
The average number of ball marks made per round is 8 per golfer. Not so bad right? Assuming only 130 rounds are played a day, (and last Friday we had over 200) that means over 1,000 impressions daily, over 30,000 a month and incredibly over 200,000 ball marks on our greens in a season. Are you wondering how to make a putt under these conditions?  If you have not yet received a free ball mark repair tool, please ask in the pro shop. We have brought in new slimmer repair tools which prevents twisting when repairing these pitch marks.  Although the tool I am using in the following pictures is different than what you have, the method will be identical, using a two pronged tool to stretch the grass over top of the mark to repair it.
Insert your repair tool in the grass outside of the actual ball mark at a 45 degree angle 
Now raise the handle to a vertical plane.
Now the exact same procedure on the opposite side.
Sometimes gently pushing any soil down with the repair tool held on its side
will remove any soil at the surface. 
 I always suggest using your thumb to gently push the grass on an angle in towards the
middle of the mark, both the left and right side.
 And finally a gentle tapping down with your putter. Under no circumstance should the ball mark be lifted up in the center. This will bring soil to the surface and damage roots. A properly repaired ball mark will fully heal in a few days.
An incorrectly repaired ball mark like the one above will take many weeks to heal. This is an example of a mark that someone lifted the center of the ball mark up. If your repair jobs look like this when you are done, best not to fix them and let the turf department take care of the repair the next morning.
I have to admit I get frustrated when I see (all too often) divots like the one pictured below.

There is no reason why any of us should ever see a divot this size on the fairway.
 If you take a divot this big.............................. should be replace immediately. Step it down with your foot, and it has a great chance of rooting and healing. In a normal summer with the heat and drought a certain percentage of them will dry out and die, but they are still worth replacing as many will survive. If you are carrying a divot bottle and see a brown, dead divot, by all means pull it out and fill it with the seed soil mix provided. Divots should be replaced on tees and fairways unless they disintegrate into many tiny pieces.  Divot bottles contain a mix of soil and bent seed. These should only be used to fill divots in the fairway or on tee decks, never in the rough as we desire Kentucky bluegrass only in the rough. As for divots taken out of the rough, please replace them. Please never use divot mix in the rough.
We have been short on divot bottles probably because some were accidentally packed away last year, but new bottles have been ordered and should be available by the weekend.
We have asked for all golfers to remove the soft (or alternative) spikes from the bottom of their shoes to eliminate the damage these aggressive spikes do to the putting surface. Not only do they destroy the smoothness of the green for all members playing behind someone wearing spikes, but they do direct damage to the plants causing unnecessary stress making it much more susceptible to disease infection. I can tell you the vast majority of members have complied with this request, but its clear to me when we are on the greens first thing every morning there's one or two who are still wearing them.  These spikes are all removable with a special tool, no need to buy brand new shoes, unless you’re looking for an excuse to do so. The pro shop can help you remove these spikes.
Power carts should be driven on the greenest, healthiest, best looking grass as this is the strongest area to support traffic. Please do not drive along the edge of the rough right beside the fairway, this habit will cause great deteriorating of turf quality along the first cut of rough. Always keep both tires completely on the path at all times, and when a path is provided please use it. 
 This damage could be avoided by keeping all tires completely on the path at all times. 
Under wet conditions the damage is severe. This does not have to happen.
Pull carts or electric cart caddies should not be taken between the bunker and putting surface. Once again we see deteriorating turf conditions which negatively affects playability around the greens. Take these carts down the cart path or around the outside of the bunker once again staying on the best looking turf. (Thanks Craig for the "staged" photo)
These tight areas are designed for playability, not traffic. All would be in better condition if we could keep traffic off of them. Putting up ropes to stop people from going through these areas only clutters the golf course and gets in the way of swinging a golf club.
All bunkers have rakes which we ask member to utilize after they have hit out of a bunker as a courtesy to all members playing behind you. We have chosen to leave rakes outside the bunker on the turf when you have completed raking.
One of our biggest challenges is all the duck weed growing in the 17th pond. The two control methods available are illegal for us to use so we have no choice at this point but to manually remove it. We are currently testing different tools and methods to find the most productive options to do a much better job of keeping this pond clean in the near future. Although fountains help reduce algae growth, it will not help with the duck weed.
With a little help from all members we can make this property blemish free to all eyes.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for that Blair, there was one more point worthy of addressing, and you just touched on it. Is it preferable when driving a cart, to stay on the fairway/short grass rather than in the rough? And, does this change depending on wet vs. dry weather/soil conditions?