Friday, May 29, 2020

A pretty threatening sky and radar greeted us this morning but fortunately only a light shower eventuated.  Byron Bay got some more rain and have had a bit more than us this month for a change which I am fairly happy about.  It's a different story at Indooroopilly GC in Brisbane who have had less than 30mm in March, April and May compared to our total of 430mm for the same period.

Threatening skies and a rainbow this morning.

I have come across an interesting apparatus that is fitted to the flagstick that will allow the ball to be holed properly and removed without touching the flagstick.  It would allow the removal of the pool noodle but I would envisage it being permanent post Covid restrictions as well. Since the change of rules earlier this year allowing the flagstick to be left in, the damage to the edge of the hole has worsened with a lot of players still using either the suction cup on the bottom of their putter or a gloved hand and both methods mean more contact with the edge of the hole and resultant damage.  Since the pool noodle has been installed the damage to the edge of the hole has been reduced significantly.  I would be interested in readers thoughts on this one.

Friday, May 22, 2020

A wet week which hasn't happened for a while and considering the height of the water table we were always going to get wet quickly which is exactly what happened. The weeks rainfall totals were; Sunday 10mm,  Monday 20mm, Tuesday 2mm, Wednesday 27mm, Thursday 31mm and this morning 2mm for a weeks total of 92mm.  That takes us up to 1662mm for the year thus far.  In comparison Coolangatta airport had 41mm this week for a YTD total of 1276mm.   Making the call to restrict motorised buggies is always difficult but was certainly necessary this week with the ground conditions.  Another consideration at this time of year is also the lack of recovery weather so that if we do get damage it's going to remain evident for quite a while.

And you know it's wet when disease starts to affect the fairways as can be seen below on 9W fairway today.  This only happens after prolonged periods of leaf wetness which is exactly what happened this week.  And the other photo is of 12R on Wednesday morning at 7.15am and that was one of the fairways that caused motorised buggies to be restricted.

9W fairway disease.

12R fairway Wednesday.

We have been having some issues at the pump station with pump control and the automatic filter that is a vital piece of the irrigation system.  The pumps issue seems to be related to the software in the irrigation control program but the filter has even the technical department of the supply company stumped.  We are back up and running for now and fortunately didn't need any irrigation this week although we had to run some on Friday to activate the pumps.

And some juvenile wildlife on the course this week with a family of pacific black ducks waddling along 9W tee.  I don't mind these as they don't feed and poop on the greens the way wood ducks do.  I would much rather these juveniles than the one in the other photo below that was ''snapped'' on a course in Naples Florida this week.

Trying to keep up on 9W tee.

No thanks!

It was good to see some live golf earlier in the week with the charity skins game at Seminole in Florida.  Seeing the Pro's carry their own bags was quite a sight and obviously Dustin doesn't do it very often as he walked of the first tee with bag back to front.  He did however get smoothng the bunker with your feet right as shown in the video below.  He even raked Ricky Fowler's marks out as well and considering there was no one else following was a good effort by him.  I don't think the same could be said for Rory at the end of the video though with a good example of what not to do.

Seminole is quite an amazing golf club and I have been lucky enough to visit and play it twice.  On my first visit in 1988 I was hosted by long time Seminole Superintendent Bill Whitaker and he was a fabulous host.  It is an intensely private club and had a strict ''no photos'' edict so I have no photographic evidence of my visit although I did get some photos inside the maintenance shed. In 1988 I don't think any of the membership actually lived in Florida which is much the same today.  They only have about 300 members and it is probably the most difficult course to get a game on in the USA.  Bill relayed a couple of stories including the time the club President rang him and asked him to come up to the pro shop and join him for a round to make up a four ball.  Bill was a very handy player and resisted but finally gave in and on arriving at the pro shop shook hands with his playing partner who was the great Ben Hogan.  Hogan would practice at Seminole every year in the lead up to the Master's as he reckoned that if you could play Seminole you could play anywhere.  Another story was when Jack Nicklaus played there and on reporting to the pro shop was asked to pay a green fee.  Jack said ''you know who I am?'' and the reply was ''yes sir but all guests pay to play here''!!  Jack asked for a receipt as he said the tax department will never believe he had to pay to play a round of golf.

The course is closed from May to November as are many other courses in Florida but is still fully maintained during this time.  (Too hot to play golf.)  It also has a rule that it shuts the gates at 6pm every night no matter what is happening.  That was obviously broken last week with the game going overtime but it wasn't broken when Ernie Els had to come in after only 15 holes a few years back.  The TV coverage really didn't do the course justice as it is an extremely difficult course despite its short length by todays standards.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Another productive week on the courses in amongst the myriad of players that we are experiencing at the moment.  Playing 2 balls means the courses are just about completely full every day after 8.30am which as I have mentioned makes it very hard to get the required work done.  It is nice to be getting some very complimentary comments about course conditions as well which is a credit to the staff.  

A few more huge dead trees taken out which doesn't leave too many left for removal.  The wind earlier in the week hampered some of our operations but fortunately some calmer conditions on Thursday and Friday allowed us to get a couple of very important plant protective products out and get some fertiliser on to the West greens and some more fairways.

It has been a frustrating couple of weeks with the irrigation system having a couple of inexplicable problems.  Some contact was even made to the pump manufacturers HQ in Denmark as we tried to figure out what was happening.  Operation during the day was ok but it was at night when the automatic program was running that we had issues.  Unfortunately the only way to really see what is actually happening is to be onsite overnight so a week of 3am starts was the call of the day.  It was a bit chilly earlier in the week but the pump shed is pretty warm with all the pumps in operation so that helped out somewhat.  It turned out (hopefully) to be a glitch in the software so we have re-loaded and started from scratch again.  Time will tell?

Golf is apparently back on in all States of the USA as from next Monday as well as much of the UK.  It's amazing to think of what happened in both the World Wars when courses pretty much closed or just sat dormant for the duration.  And here we are bemoaning playing as a 2 ball.  I remember at Kingston Heath, Royal Melbourne and Victoria GC's in Melbourne that many original bunkers were lost during WW2 when some of the Coastal Tea Tree fell over and grew over them.  A lot of these bunkers were re-discovered during a tree removal project on the courses and were duly re-instated in the 1980's.  From reading the club history of Cool Tweed, golf seemed to continue throughout WW2 although the cost and supply of golf balls was an issue.

On a recent Covid-19 bike ride I came across a plaque on the side of Fingal Road almost directly opposite the CTH clubhouse which commemorates an R and R camp that was situated there during WW2 for members of the US 32nd Infantry Division.  I wonder if part of their R and R included a boat ride across the River for a game of golf?  And speaking of R and R that's what I will be doing next week so there will be no blogpost next week. 

In my readings this week I came across this article which depicts some of what was happening on golf courses in the UK during WW2.  Incredible to think that courses were ''put to the plough'' to grow food or become a landing strip with only the greens generally untouched and maintained.


Friday, May 1, 2020

Just a little chill in the air today but another great day for golf.  Temperatures in the high 20's again all week has kept the grass moving along and I grabbed the opportunity to get the final sanding of the year on to the River greens earlier in the week.  As I have mentioned here several times, sand and reel mowers don't mix particularly well and so we normally don't mow for a couple of days following which happened this week.  The nice temperatures and a recent application of fertiliser combined to give the greens quite a boost in growth which is great as we head towards winter.

All fairways and tees were also fertilised this week which will hopefully extract a bit more growth from them as well.  Elsewhere on the courses the low tides this week allowed us to clean up the islands on 7 and 8R and we were also able to replace the drain on RHS 6R.  It was quite a deep excavation so the area will remain cordoned off for the time being while some settling takes place.  We also made a start on removing some of the dead trees on the courses including what was one of the biggest trees on the property and this will continue next week. 

Massive Eucalypt between 2 and 12W.

 A very interesting day last Tuesday which added a bit of excitement to the week with a police operation on the course following a car being burnt out on the levee bank road adjacent to 8R.  Four people were seen walking away from the incident across the course and the police were called and attended very quickly and chased them into Ukerebagh Nature Reserve which is to the left of 5R.  The police report was;

Three men and a teenage girl have been charged in relation to an alleged break-in and stolen car in the state’s north yesterday.
About 8am today (Tuesday 28 April 2020), police were called to a golf club on Soorley Street, Tweed Heads, following reports of a vehicle on fire.
Officers attached to Tweed/ Byron Police District attended and engaged four people in a foot pursuit towards the Tweed River.
A 17-year-old girl and 27-year-old man were arrested at the shoreline.
With the assistance of the Marine Area Command, Queensland Pol Air and the Dog Unit, two men, aged 28 and 19, were arrested shortly after on Ukerebagh Island.
Police will allege in court that the vehicle was stolen during a break and enter overnight at Banora Point.
All four were taken to Tweed Heads Police Station, where they were charged.
The 28-year-old man was charged with aggravated break & enter, steal motor vehicle, and destroy property in company use fire. He was refused bail to face Lismore Local Court today (Wednesday 29 April 2020).
The 19-year-old man was charged with aggravated break & enter and carried in conveyance. He was refused bail to face Lismore Local Court today (Wednesday 29 April 2020).

It's alight!!

Fire and Rescue station 514 Banora Point on the scene.
The result.

And well away from the heat of the fire was a Green Tree Frog that had made its home not in a tree but rather a sub surface valve box near 5R green.  I haven't seen too many of late so it was nice to see such a healthy specimen.

Nice cool spot