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. 

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