Friday, August 17, 2018

The USPGA Championship has been run and won and it was interesting that at in June everyone seemed concerned with Pros struggling to make par in a major and then last week the scores were too low!!  Apparently Brooks Koepka earned more money at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship this year than Arnold Palmer and Gary Player won in their careers -- combined!!

The course seemed to play very well considering the weather they have had in the USA, particularly this summer.  St Louis is one of the toghest places on the planet to grow Bentgrass with extreme summer temperatures and high humidity contributing to the difficulty.  Throw in the fact that they get snow there as well which reduces the growth window and the staff did an enormous job to make it work.  I liked the commonsense sign that greeted the players in the locker room when they arrived.

Some commonsense.

The PGA tour moves to North Carolina and to Sedgefield CC which I wrote about in 2012 when they converted their Bentgrass greens to Champion Couchgrass in a very tight time frame prior to the tournament.  That was done due to the difficulty of growing Bentgrass during summer in their climate when the tournament is held.  Unfortunately some of the worst winter weather on record caused severe dieback on their greens and the staff reportedly planted 135,000 x 2 inch plugs from other greens rather than attempting to re-turf.  A monumental job and reports are that the greens are running beautifully for the tournament.  

Before and after a Sedgefield!!

Back to Cool Tweed and the weather is absolutely superb at the moment.  It's still not warm enough to get the grass really moving as we need the soil temperatures to rise for that to happen.  The River greens are still slow to recover from the shade and wear of the past few months and they got a solid tine aerate earlier this week to try and get some much needed air to the root zone.

A week of tree pruning, predominantly on the West course although we did do a little on the north side of 18R tee and I snapped the photo this afternoon of some sun hitting the surface which would be the first time since probably March.  The pruning certainly lightens the area and the bit of sunlight couldn't possibly do any harm!!  

18R tee

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Another hugely successful Vets week of golf with the amazing run of superb weather continuing for them.  In all the years I think there has omly ever been one wet day and this week the little bit of rain that came was just after play had finished on Monday night as per the radar image below.  And as always I think the courses were left in better order than they started the week!!

Only a few mm but after play!!

And now with all the West greens planted with TifEagle perhaps one of their tests was passed this week when the grazing flock of Cockatoos stayed off the greens and fed only on fairways in the late of the day.  They normally would dig the old Bentgrass greens up and cause significant damage at this time of year.
7W green untouched!

A lot of work being done in the bunkers recently with a practice we call "backfacing"being carried out.  It's a process of dragging sand back down off the bunker face and pushing it back from where players drag the sand when exiting the bunkers.  So essentially levelling the floor of the bunker which is a hard, slow and labourious task but very necessary.

18W bunker after being backfaced.

This coming week will see some tree work being carried out.  A travel tower will be onsite for the week trimming dead, dangerous and intrusive limbs and a stump grinder will also be onsite grinding and repairing stumps.  

Friday, August 3, 2018

It's certainly nice to get back to the courses and the sensational weather that is more spring like than winter.  For the sake of the turf, particularly on the greens I hope the sun continues to shine.  The River greens are having a very tough time of it with the huge amount of play almost literally wearing them out.  The shaded and heavy walk off traffic areas are feeling it the most.  It is easy to see just how much shade and wear affects the greens when you compare shaded greens like 4, 5 and 12 with full sun greens like 16 and 18 on the River course.  The West greens are not as badly shaded but 3 and 5 are having a tough time of it which is to be expected given that they are still only 9 months old.  The photo below is of 12R green at 1pm last Tuesday and shows the extent of the shade on the green that makes growing quality turf virtually impossible.

12R green at 1 pm.

All in all though the courses are in great shape and a credit to my Assistant Simon and the rest of the crew with the work they have put in over the incredibly busy golfing month just gone.  The comments from players in the Senior Amateur that was held this week were very positive which helps make all the hard work worthwhile.

I mentioned about the resistant Poa annua before I left and unfortunately there is no real breakthrough available for Poa control post emergence but there were a couple of pre emergent options that we may try.  It is hardly surprising as controlling Poa seems to be a bit like curing the common cold which for the first time in my travels I didn't get a cold whilst away.  Given we spent a week in Iceland in their "summer" where the temperature never got above 10 degrees celsius it was a bit of a surprise!!  There was an unexpected large number of golf courses in Iceland that are predominantly Poa annua so they don't need to control it that's for sure.  As an aside I think I saw at least 12 golf courses but not one person playing given the weather, despite nearly 24 hours daylight being available!!  So the upshot at Cool Tweed is that we will be trialing a couple of different options for Poa control this coming season.

And if you lost a Callaway ball on the right side of 8R recently it's caught in a tree as shown below!!


That's a Callaway up there!!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Very sad news with the passing of the legend Peter Thomson this week.  Peter was a Life Member at Victoria GC in Melbourne where I spent 15 years and I had many dealings with him on and about the golf course.  One of nature's finest gentlemen who never had a bad word about anyone.  Vale Peter.

Peter supervising construction of 17 green @ Victoria GC.

This will be the last blog post for a little while as I am heading to the first Australasian Turf Conference in Wellington next week and will then be taking 4 weeks annual leave.  One of the highlights of the Conference will be to get to hear arguably the worlds most authoritative voice on herbicide resistance.  Herbicide resistance is when an individual plant is able to survive an application that would normally (and does) control other plants of the species.  It has been a major problem in the southern States of Australia now for quite a few years and once it has developed there is no way back other than a change of chemistry and that can take a long time to happen and sometimes there is no alternative.  Poa annua is the plant that has been one of the hardest plants to control in fine turf situations and is the one that is causing concern down south.  At Cool Tweed we are now experiencing some resistance with a "crop" of Poa at the rear of 6R green that is now unable to be controlled either pre or post emergence with our current chemistry.  The first time I noticed it I thought it had just been missed by the sprayer but it is now unable to be controlled by any turf registered herbicides but we will keep trying!!  At this stage this is the only area that we have resistance in.

Resistant Poa at rear 6R.

And speaking of Poa, not everyone considers it a weed as evidenced by the greens at Shinnecock Hills last week and arguably some of the best greens in the world at courses such as Oakmont, Pebble Beach and The Olympic Club.  But that's another story for another day.  And just a final word on Shinnecock, it just shows what can happen to a course when people start overriding the knowledge of the Superintendent without really knowing what they are talking about.  As I mentioned last week the Supers I know who were there couldn't believe the quality of the turf and surface in the previous week and even though the greens didn't look very good on TV they still putted exceptionally well.  It wasn't the fault of the turf managers but moreso those that chose the hole locations.  Oh and one more word - I can guarantee that Peter Thomson would have never ever contemplated doing what Phil Mickelson did!!
The Shinny course maintenance crew last week.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The end of a pretty frustrating week with a number of irrigation issues resulting in no water being available for the courses until Friday night.  The problem was a number of leaks on the town water control line that feeds the satellites throughout the courses.  Just a small leak is enough for sprinklers to either leak and/or fully come on and finding the leaks is very difficult, nearing on impossible some times.  We use the services of a leak detector firm who are very adept at locating the leaks but it is a needle in a haystack situation even though we know where the pipes are located.  It is generally only a 16mm pipe that services the satellites and often the leak can be on the underside of the pipe and spraying straight down in to the sand and not visible on the surface.  Finally progress was made on Friday and a full irrigation program ran overnight in to Saturday.  The new greens were starting to stress and I dare say that if we still had Bentgrass greens they may have been in real danger of perishing.  Here's hoping for some settled time ahead with the irrigation system.

The bonus of the warmer sunny conditions this week was a bit of colour coming back throughout the courses though not enough to cause any real growth.  It's still very important to sand your divots and repair pitchmarks on greens as a courtesy to other players and to give the turf the best chance.  As I have said before "Leave the course as you would like to find it"!!

Obviously a lot of golf talk this week is directed at the US Open.  I have a few friends who are there either as spectators or volunteering and they are unanimous in their opinion of the incredibly good turf conditions.  I am yet to see any footage but have heard that the greens have been a little bumpy which is a common problem with the type of grass they have there which is the same as Oakmont who have some of the best greens in the world.  A crew numbering in the 40's is the normal staffing level at Shinnecock so the 150 volunteers takes the crew to near 200 for the week!!  Kind of shades the 9 crew at Cool Tweed on Friday which was unusually low though due to some annual and sick leave.

The lunchroom at Shinnecock!!

Just some of the machinery in their shed!!

Friday, June 8, 2018

So much for the call of nice winter weather last week.  A particularly cold and wet end to the week although the courses were drying so the rain was welcome for the turf but not so much for the players.  

Our irrigation control system was installed in 2002 and consists of a central computer that communicates with the 25 on course satellites which then operate the sprinklers.  As mentioned a couple of weeks back we are having issues with some of the components in the satellites and that some are now out of production and unavailable.  To ensure that we have some necessary spares we changed the satellite on RHS 9 West to a new irrigation control system known as "GWave" which we have been trialing over the past few years.  GWave is a wireless control system that sends underground radio waves from the controller to the sprinklers which overrides our existing system and so freed up a full bank of 12 components for use as spares elsewhere.  To enable the GWave system to be installed the sprinklers need to be changed over as well and that happened this week.

The US Open golf is on next week at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club  and from all reports the course is in incredibly good condition which it generally is during the golf season.  Shinnecock is one of the most private clubs in the USA and one of the best.  Normal staffing levels are around 30 on the course and that has been lifted to 40 for this season before the army of volunteers arrive for tournament week.  It is a particularly windy site and no two consecutive holes run in the same direction and some cut across each other so it is very difficult to read the wind which makes it very difficult to play.  The USGA do take over course set up for this tournament so hopefully they won't put it over the edge as happened last time they were there.

The layout demonstrating the changes in hole direction.


Friday, June 1, 2018

Well what a way to start winter with!!  If that's what is going to be served up I'd take it every day.  A couple of overnight showers to keep the courses ticking along and beautiful sun filled days!!  Let's hope for it.

The grass is still kicking along, particularly on the fairways which have been getting some liquid fertiliser applied to them over the past couple of months.  Their colour is holding very well and I intend to continue the liquid fertilising throughout the winter.  Any growth we can get on the fairways is a bonus with the divots becoming more prominent especially on the short River course doglegs.  As mentioned a couple of weeks ago please repair your divots with sand.

Whilst talking fairways, we have around 34 hectares of mown fairway area which is quite a bit when compared to the average 18 hole course having somewhere between 12 and 16 hectares.  We only have two mowers for fairways which is why you see them mowing in amongst play as we just can't get them all done in front of play.  A really good 6 - 9 am morning session will see about 12 fairways get mown obviously depending on their size and we have some BIG fairways out there.  We also don't really go out of our way to "stripe" the fairways up as you see at many courses as we can't always mow in the same direction which is how you get such a striping effect.  This is because there are many times where we just mow the fastest way possible to stay in front and/or away from play.  The lower photo below shows some of the striping effect whilst mowing 1 River fairway but if you don't keep mowing on the same lines the effect is soon lost.  Throughout the summer months the fairways have a growth regulator applied to them which has the added bonus of preventing the seedhead to form while it reduces growth by up to 50%.   

1W mower in action

1R in action with striping just visible behind.

We get to talk to lots of people on the courses and the positive feedback we get about the courses is very satisfying including one member last week whose praise for the new West greens was such that I can't print most of it but "brilliant" was part of it!  We only operate with a fairly small crew for such a big property with an average of just 11 crew members on course over the past two weeks.  I well remember when I arrived here in June 1999 and there were 19 staff available on my first day!

But when someone plays the course and takes the trouble to put pen to paper (or send an email in this case) about their experience across the whole club then that's very pleasing for all the employees within the club.  Here's what he said;

3 of my golf mates and myself played the VETS comp as visitors, not having played at your club previously and I feel it appropriate to firstly thank you for a wonderful relaxing day on such a brilliant course [ RIVER ]
The PRO SHOP staff were so welcoming and polite which set the day on a special level to begin with.
The HALF WAY HOUSE lady was delightful and friendlyWhile our golf didn't reach ex heights we all will look forward to another visit in the future
Thank you for a most enjoyable adventure

Friday, May 25, 2018

A vastly different end to this week with a very cool breeze blowing all day on Friday and then quite a shower of rain to finish it off.  The daylight hours are shrinking fast as well and this adds up to the warm season turf we have on the courses starting to go to sleep for the winter.  The West greens in particular have lost some more colour and have tightened up which is the natural reaction of the grass at this time of year.  All the other playing areas have now all but stopped growing as well.  As mentioned a few weeks ago it is now more important than ever to fill your divots with sand and repair pitchmarks on the greens on both courses.

I read an article this week (which I can't find again) and Mike Clayton was quoted as saying something like - the groundstaff on golf courses should stop raking bunkers and let the players care for them on their own as it is the one part of the golf course that the players are equipped and able to maintain themselves.  I don't think I would like to see the result here at Cool Tweed though given the poor attention given to bunker raking as evidenced from this weeks photo below.  There's the old saying of when you repair your pitchmark, repair a couple of others.  We might need something like when you rake your footprints out after playing a bunker shot, rake a few others marks as well!!?? 

LHS 17W Thursday morning!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Another glorious day to end the week and again the low wind speeds gives us the chance to get the courses cleaned up and looking great.  Thanks for the compliments we have been getting on playing conditions recently with some very positive reports coming through.

We are back to fairly low staff numbers at the moment with the summer casuals all but finished up so most of our efforts are directed to routine course maintenance.  Even though the growth has slowed the mowers are still out in force presenting a surface and the bunker rakes are certainly doing some raking.  Unfortunately we are also spending too much time repairing pitchmarks, particularly on the new West greens.  They may be firmer than the River greens but balls will still leave a pitchmark that needs repairing as can be seen below.  The lower close up is of an unrepaired pitchmark that was subsequently scalped by the mower and becomes an ideal site for a disease outbreak.  So please check for a pitchmark and repair as required.  

Pitchmark on 14W

Scalped old pitchmark on 14W.

The Byron Nelson PGA tournament in Dallas is certainly creating some comment although Mark Leishman's opening 61 made light of the predictions that the course would be too difficult to score on.  It's an amazing course and here are a few stats to ponder;
  • Average green size is 1200 sq. metres which is twice the size of 12W at Cool Tweed.
  • The double green is 3,400 sq. metres which apparently makes it the biggest green in the USA.  And the greens are walk mowed!!!!
  • There is 40 hectares of fairways compared with Cool Tweeds 34 hectares.  But we have 36 holes!!!  Most 18 hole courses have between 12 and 16 hectares.
  • The actual fairway mowing height has been raised from normal member play height to slow the course down for the pro's?? 
  • All short grass away from the greens is mown at the same height - no step cuts to be seen.
  • The roughs are not mown and are made up of "Blackland prairie seed" which is the most endangered eco system in the USA. 
  • And there is not a tree on the golf course despite its name! 

And the very sad news from the USA this week of the passing of Dr James Beard who was one of the first American turf professors to travel to Australia.  He visited our shores in 1976, 86 and 88 and I will never forget the impact he had on me as a young Course Super back then.  I couldn't believe the knowledge he possessed and his willingness to share it through his presentations and one on one conversations.  He wrote many books, one of which - "turf management for golf courses" was first published in 1982 and is still considered the bible of golf course management to this day.  I doubt there would be a course super anywhere who hasn't owned a copy and I still refer to it regularly.  His research and passion for education is no doubt one of reasons turf on golf courses is at the level it is today.  He inspired not only generations of Superintendents but also researchers and academics alike.  Vale Dr Beard. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

One of the amazing aspects of life in Australia is the weather and it is why it is so predominant in the media and daily discussion.  This week for us saw some really bleak weather early clear in to two magnificent days to finish the week off.  You then hear about 260mm falling on Mount Wellington in Tasmania, most of which runs off the mountain and down through Hobart itself.  This in a city where a downpour of 20mm would cause some serious issues with flash flooding.

The ladies made a sensible decision on Tuesday in amongst the rain and shifted their comp to River course only which gave us a run at the West course largely player free which is always a bonus that despite the rain, we take full advantage of.  So the greens were double de-thatched and edged and fairways fertilised and it was a very productive day.  Fast forward to today and we had 144 players in an 8.30am shotgun on the West and 140 odd players in the members comp from 6.30am 1 tee start and there wasn't much room to move out there!!

I have been taking advantage of "The Players channel" on Foxtel this past week or so and taking in some great golf on an amazing golf course.  A few observations;

  • The greens were originally Tifdwarf and were then changed to Mini Verde for a few years and then converted to TifEagle 2 years ago.
  • Depending on the timing of the tournament the course, including the greens, is fully oversown.  That isn't the case this year but will be next year when the tournament date moves back to March which is a much cooler time of year.
  • Some of the footage shows the greens browning off which is just the grass used to oversow dying off in the heat.  The greens were generally always oversown but since the switch to TifEagle they haven't been but that may change next year with the March date.  Sawgrass is far enough north in Florida to get some pretty healthy frosts as per the photo below.
One of the most interesting things was the spike marks on the greens years ago when players still wore steel spikes.  One of Steve Elkington's wins saw the greens incredibly spiked up which was one of the toughest aspects of greens preparation back in the day.  It was often made more difficult by players deliberately scuffing the turf with their spiked shoes and yet is now not a great a problem with the new soft spikes although some of them can still cause some damage.  I bet there would have been a lot of happier players if they were allowed to tap down spike marks as to be introduced next year in the rules change!!

And as usual for the, dare I say it, "major" tournaments, a huge volunteer crew was on hand to assist with course preparations for the event.  The photo below shows the maintenance facility at Sawgrass full to the brim.

Need a lot of bums to fill those seats!!

A frosty #18 at Sawgrass in late January.


Friday, May 4, 2018

A nice contrast to last weeks windy end to the week with a beautiful autumn day to round the week off.  We had the chance over the last couple of days to get the courses cleaned up and pretty much 100% mown and I must say they were looking a treat on Friday afternoon and are a credit to the hard work of the crew.  It doesn't look like it will last long though with a strong southerly forecast for tomorrow.

Not much else to report with things going a little quiet without the heavy growth that we had over late summer and early autumn.  It's been a good chance to catch up on a lot of little jobs that are moved down the "to do" list when the grass is growing.  Trimming valve boxes, distance markers and drains and repainting as necessary has started again this week.

As we move towards winter and no growth, Wednesday and Saturday players in particular will notice the rotation of the daily tee markers.  Under the current course rating system the course needs to be set up no more than 100 metres shorter than the rated length to still stay rated so we take the opportunity to move the tees forward as much as possible on normal comp days.  If you have a look at the fixture book and see how many days the blue tee blocks will be required in July and August you may work out why we do this. 

I saw this on the official PGATour site;  Since 2003 the Wells Fargo field is 1,270 under par on the first 15 holes at Quail Hollow. On the final 3 holes the field is ... ... 5,899 over par!!

And finally......

Well said!!

Friday, April 27, 2018

A very windy end to the week and it's on days like this that I would love to work on a turf farm where you get to grow your turf with no trees blowing all manner of debris down around you.  The courses were looking very clean prior to this morning and the forecast has the wind hanging around well in to next week.

Apologies to the members in the Wednesday comp this week who had sprinklers come on both 15 and 16 River fairways.  It is caused by a fault in one of the irrigation controllers that is unforeseeable and spasmodic at best.  The bad news is that the component causing the fault is now out of production and unavailable and I am fast running out of spares.  The controllers were installed in 2002 and have served very well but as with all things subject to the weather they do deteriorate over time, especially with salt air around.

Some of the controllers are double level to allow for the electronics to be above the 100 year flood level.  The upper cabinet houses the electronics and the lower the hydraulic converters.  As previously mentioned we have what's known as a hydraulic irrigation system that relies on water pressure supplied through small 4mm poly tubing to operate the valves on the sprinklers to turn them on and off.  Any interruption to this water supply means that sprinklers will come up and this is the problem with this leaking component at the moment.  So the basic operation is that the electronic boards send a signal to the hydraulic converter that releases pressure and allows the sprinkler to operate via the tube that runs from the controller to each sprinkler.  All of the controllers are centrally controlled via radio by a computer in my office and can also be programmed in the field if needed in the event of a power outage or problem with the computer. 

Double decker.

Electronics box.

Converter box.

Friday, April 20, 2018

I spoke too soon last week about the temperature in the morning after we dropped below 20 degrees at the shed in the morning on Monday this week.  The rest of the week stayed warmer but we aren't far away from slowing right down.  One of the effects of the cooler temperatures is the slow recovery of divots which is particularly noticeable on some of the short doglegs on the River course.  It makes it more important to re-fill your divot with sand to give your fellow players a better chance at a reasonably playable lie.  Although I tend to agree with Tiger Woods that if you land on a sanded divot you should be able to get relief.
The forecast for the next week or so doesn't sound so good rainfall wise so we took the opportunity to get some fertiliser out on some of the weaker tees today.  Quite often a good way to scare the rain away.
And speaking of scaring,  I thought we had a bad duck problem until I saw this photo from a country course in Victoria.  In the USA they have major problems with Canadian Geese as well as ducks damaging greens and most of them have on course dogs to keep the birds off greens.

Good etiquette to stay off the green whilst players are putting!

Wednesday this week was a tough day to make the call on motorised buggies being on.  I heard the rain overnight and checked the airport for their rainfall total and they had 6mm which I thought was about right.  Upon arriving at the course I discovered we had received 27mm!!  The rain was still falling and the thunder and lightning still rumbling and the courses, in particular the West, were under water and hence the call was made which as I mentioned a few weeks ago it is the part of my job that I enjoy least.  It would be a pretty easy call to make at this course in the USA though!!

No chance of buggies on here!!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Soil and ambient temperatures are already starting to drop and this has a slowing effect on turfgrass growth.  We still haven’t dropped below 20ยบ at the shed in the mornings yet which is on par with the previous few years although the growth over the past month has been up following the huge amount of rain that we had received.  

Whilst talking of soil temperatures and weather, spare a thought for the northern States of the USA who are still receiving snowfalls.  The photo below is of Hazeltine GC in Minnesota this week with a lot of snow still on the ground with more forecast for this week end.  The ground is apparently still frozen 3 feet deep!!  At this stage the course won’t open until early May (normally open by now) and generally closes in early November so only a 6 month golfing season!!

April 12, 2018

A bad week for irrigation with a major blowout on 2W fairway and a repair required on the town water mainline to the clubhouse.  This is the third blowout we have had on 2W in a small area so will be looking at replacing a section of the mainline that has obviously been weakened over time.  The main to the clubhouse was losing a lot of water and this repair was done at first light on Friday morning to negate the effect on clubhouse operations.  Licensed plumbers were engaged for the works which is standard practice for us when dealing with potable water.

The reduction in growth is a bit of a sad time for the staff with the casual employees hours being reduced.  There have been anywhere up to 8 casuals employed on the courses over summer and they form a very important part of the crew and resultant course conditions.  My mantra is that “managing a golf course is about bums on seats – as the more you have the more you get done”.  And speaking of staff we are looking forward to welcoming Assistant Superintendent Simon back to work next Monday.  He broke his neck in a surfing accident on Christmas Eve and has been recuperating since.  He has been medically assessed and performed a fairly grueling “fit for work” test last week and is itching to get back to work.

And over the many years I have been managing golf courses I have seen a lot of strange things out on the golf course.  But this one may well be the strangest yet!!  There is a bucket hanging on a branch in a Melaleuca tree on 18R about 12 feet off the ground that could only have been put there deliberately.  It has been there for at least four months and I have been waiting to see if anything was going to happen with it which it hasn’t thus far.

Please explain?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Not much to report on this week although the mowers certainly got a run for their money this past four day week.  To be honest when I saw the courses on Monday night with the amount of grass out there I didn't think there would be any chance that the courses would look the way they do in the four days this cooler Friday afternoon.  Great credit to the course staff for their input this week to get the job done.

Speaking of mowers, one of the big expense lines in the course maintenance budget is fuel and I was doing my fuel figures for March this week and thought I would share some of them with followers of the Blog.  The majority of our machines use diesel fuel, particularly the mowing equipment with most smaller equipment using unleaded.  We also have 3 electric runabout utility vehicles and the greens rollers are all electric.  In March we used 3,478 litres of Diesel at an average cost of $1.32 adding up to a cost of $4,590 for the month.  The fairway mowers used 957L at a cost of $1,263, the rough mowers 1,178L at a cost of $1,554, the intermediate and greens surrounds mowers 566L at a cost of $747 and the greens mowers 218L at a cost of $288.  The bunker raking machines used 322L of unleaded at a cost of $432 for the month.  

Almost all the turf equipment supply companies have all tried alternative fuels, particularly battery powered and to date none have been overly successful in being able to operate at full speed for the time required.  A couple are now close and it will be interesting to watch developments in this area over the coming years.  They have mainly been waiting for the automotive industry to move one way or another so they can then follow suit.

It was interesting watching the Masters start and a couple of USA Course Supers commenting on the first days pin placement sheet saying that they place the flags on their own greens using the template which provides some very interesting placements on their courses!!  The sheet is below and would certainly make for some interesting locations on the undulating River greens here at Cool Tweed.  7 on and 6 from the right wouldn't be all that accessible on 15 River but at least you wouldn't get the result Sergio got!!  Although it was remarkable how cool he stayed with what was shown on the telecast considering his fiery history.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The rain just doesn't seem to want to go away with constant showers hampering maintenance during a short week with a double long week end and another short week next week.  The grass is still growing very quickly and we got the whole property cut despite the rain and reduced hours which was a great effort.

In amongst the mowing we covered some tree root areas with some of the turf scraps from the recent turfing and then sanded over the top.  Most areas are well in the rough and as I have said before, although you are hitting off sand until the grass comes through it is way better than hitting off tree roots.  We also managed to get some fertiliser out on the tees and some more fairways to further strengthen them for the winter.
RHS 14R tree roots covered.

In some ways it seems longer ago but it is 12 months since the remnants of cyclone Debbie reeked havoc upon the local area and I don't really want to see that again for some time.  My thoughts are certainly with those in FNQ who copped it again this week.
1R last year

No thanks.
The US Masters starts next week and the cry will go out around the golfing world of why can't my course be like that??  Lots of reasons why with the main one being the resources available to them.  I was speaking to a young intern in the USA recently and he had worked there one year with his main summer job being erecting tents on the greens to keep the sun off!!  It isn't the most expensive golf club to join in the States but it is the most difficult.  They don't have a lot of play either and the course is worked on pretty hard once the tournament is gone to make alterations and improvements.  The photo below was taken in the heat of summer and you can just make out the covers that they use on the bunkers to save the sand from being contaminated.
It doesn't always look perfect!

More people mowing fairways than I have on my crew!!