Friday, June 12, 2015

A very miserable end to the week weather wise with the constant showers blowing through.  The courses were drying out but the light rain is the worst type as it basically just sits on the surface.  It's a little disappointing with the Senior Matchplay scheduled for next week that the course will be a bit soft under foot and the forecast doesn't look very good either.  The flags that are flying behind 18 West green are there for the Championship which gets under way on Sunday with a practice round then continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Speaking of Championships, I can hardly wait for the US Open to start next Thursday which is being played at a course called Chambers Bay in the Pacific Northwest region of the USA.  This course is a "municipal" which means that it is operated by the local authorities and only opened for play in 2007 and can be played by anyone for around $100.  It is built on an old gravel/sand mine and is famous for a couple of things in my mind.  Firstly it is all one type of grass (fine fescue) and secondly there is only one tree on the entire property.  The course has a definite "links" feel to it and has an abundance of sand which is very striking when you stand on the tee.  Another feature is that the ground conditions are expected to be hard and fast and most of the course will be brown rather than green.  It will be very interesting to see how the long bombers handle the conditions which will call for some imaginative shotmaking, especially around the greens.  And another feature is that the green speeds may not be that high as the greens themselves have some wild undulation in them and would be unplayable at any sort of speed above 10 feet or so on the Stimpmeter.  But it is the US Open??  Oh and given you are going to need an imaginative game I think it may be Bubba saluting once again.

Bubba pointing out the lone tree on the property

Another view of "the" tree showing some of the sand.
Back to the Tweed and the turfed areas associated with the CIP on the West course were sanded this week but unfortunately the rain prevented them being rubbed in so the sand is still on the surface.  Next week will see preparations for the Senior event and the sanding of the River course turfed areas..

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Another busy week on the courses passes by with the beginning of sanding the recently turfed areas with a start being made on 13 West as a trial and the other areas being done this coming Thursday weather permitting.  The fairway extensions in these areas have also been mown out and as the areas are still quite uneven they will remain GUR for the time being.  It is not "compulsory" GUR so players can play if they so desire.

Sanding 13W
Works associated with the Course Improvement Plan are now on hold and as mentioned last week there will be some minor works carried out but nothing on the scale of the past six weeks.

The 26 bunkers that have been removed will certainly help spread the available labour on the courses although most of those removed were very low maintenance areas anyway and few had ever had any sand added to them in my time and most were just "leaf collectors".  The bunkers that do drain the man hours are the greenside bunkers and it has always amazed me just how many resources are allocated to golf course bunkers which are a hazard after all.  At many courses more resources are put toward bunker maintenance than greens.  I read the following in an article recently and it is so true;

However they are perceived, bunkers are areas that receive an inordinate amount of attention at most golf facilities. From their simple origins as hollows on the leeward sides of sand dunes that sheltered livestock from cold sea winds, bunkers have experienced considerable evolution of design, construction, and maintenance over the years. So, too, have golfers' expectations for playability and consistency.

The cold mornings earlier this week has seen the Couchgrass discolour in many areas of the course which is quite natural.  Fortunately we don't get frosts of any strength so the discolouring is only minor.  This turn in the weather will also slow up the growth of the turfed areas mentioned above.