Friday, June 1, 2012

Well it seems nothing much has changed with the weather as the rain continues to fall.  Unfortunately it followed me on my holiday as well as we had rain nearly every day.  Probably the best day weather wise was May 24th which was also the day Michelle and I got married at San Remo in Italy!!  It's only taken us 13 years to get there.
Congratulations are in order for my Assistant Simon on the job he has done with the courses while I have been away under pretty trying circumstances with the weather. Constant rainfall such as we have been experiencing brings disease pressure on the greens in particular and severely interrupts maintenance programs but the courses are in great shape and greens on both courses putting well.
Probably one of the toughest decisions that has to be made is the call on whether motorised buggies are allowed on the courses following rain and Simon has had to make that call on several occasions over the past month.  It is  a decision that is not taken lightly and numerous considerations are taken into account, not the least of which is the obvious effect on income and the disruption to members enjoyment of the courses.  In most cases when there is enough rain to potentially have the buggies removed, the courses are inspected at around a quarter to five in the morning in the dark and as I have mentioned before there are about six areas that are fairly reliable indicators of the condition of the courses.  The forecast and radar are also taken in to consideration and the call is then made.  The Pro Shop is normally informed first and then the club website is updated generally by 5.30am.  At this time of year in particular the drying process is much slower due to the lower temperatures and shorter daylight hours and when the courses are already saturated as they have been over the past two months, it doesn't take much for the courses to get very wet again.
I will be attending the 28th Australian Turfgrass Conference in Melbourne next week during which there will be a number of presentations on sustainable golf course management.  Every year we seem to be subjected to an increase in costs and this year will be no different with the "carbon tax" coming into effect which will no doubt lead to increases in the cost of good and services that we require for the maintenance of the courses.  It is difficult to get information from suppliers at this stage but there will no doubt be price increases across a range of products.  Fuel is probably the most certain for us and when you consider that it was only in 2010 that we were paying around $1 a litre it puts a lot of pressure on our budget with some forecasts of up to $1.75 being a real possibility.  There are two American presenters at the Conference who have both specialised in basically getting better turf for less money so it will be interesting to see what they have to say. 
And on Wednesday of Conference week I will appointed as President of the Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association for the next two years.  It is a role that I am quite passionate about as I believe it allows me the opportunity to contribute to an industry that has allowed me to enjoy my working life so much.  There must be something in the air at Coolangatta Tweed as I will be following two former Tweed Superintendents in Doug Robinson and Jeff Gambin as Association President.

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