A fairly quiet week on the courses but certainly not play wise. As always the Queensland public holiday on Monday saw both courses absolutely jam packed all day and then the rain on Thursday only put off a few ladies with a couple of big social groups out there. The week was finally capped off by the Men of League annual golf day.
There has been quite a bit of reporting in the media lately about mental health and its effects on former sportsmen in particular which is one of the areas that the Men of League organisation do a lot of great work. I attended a workshop last week that was conducted by the Australian Superintendents Association in conjunction with the PGA on mental health in the workplace and it was very informative and alarming. Member expectations of their course and pro shop never seem to diminish and yet there always seems to be less resources to get the job done. April / May is a tough time as well with golfers wanting to know why their course and club can't be like Augusta National. A simple answer is 100 volunteers on top of the existing 55 staff working on the course and an unlimited budget which were a couple of the reasons I posted a few weeks back. Mental health problems are becoming more and more prevalent in the course maintenance area with Superintendents trying to match the members expectations by doing "more with less". A brutal summer along the east coast of Australia and particularly in Sydney has had Superintendents stress levels at an all time high this past year and unfortunately a number of long term Supers gave the game away to be able to live and work a "normal" life.
Back to the course and this week we were able to get a few jobs done that are normally way down the priority list with the available staffing resources. One of these jobs is trimming around the tree bases which with the number of trees we have is a huge undertaking from the staff and time point of view and we were able to make a start with casual employee crew still employed at this stage and the grass growth slowing quite dramatically. The casuals hours are reduced over the winter months and our staff numbers drop right back. I well remember my first day in June 1999 when there were 19 crew available to work on my first day in the middle of winter and the club didn't actually own fairway or rough mowers as that was contracted out at the time. My average crew over this past summer was 14 and it's a testament to their attitude and work ethic that they can achieve what they do particularly with the grow in of the new greens added to the workload.
The new TifEagle West greens continue to improve and settle in. Next week's Players Championship on the US PGA Tour will be played at TPC Sawgrass where the greens were changed over to TifEagle immediately following last years tournament. In fact it will be the 5th time this year a US PGA Tour tournament has been played on TifEagle greens. Weather permitting preparation of the temporary greens will commence next week in readiness for the conversion of the front nine west greens that is due to start on October 3.