Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Is it time to eat yet?"

When's the course going to open?  I don't know!

Every year with the passing of Daylight Savings Time and the appearance of turf around the bases of trees, anxious golfers always posed the question "when's the course going to open?

As a golf course manager telling the golfer "I don't know" has always rankled me just little bit.  "I don't know" always bought time but was never the perfect answer I was looking for. 

Of course I would like to be totally in control but Mother Nature always seems to have all the trump cards.  To this day I'm still searching for a better answer that would satisfy the human element.

I thought a little humor in my answer would do the trick.  This happened one year when a member asked me in the presence of the golf pro at least seven times in three days when I thought the course was going to open.  You should know that there was at least two feet of snow on the course, frost in the shaded drifted areas and ponds of water forming due to the snow melt.  "I don't know."  But it's going to hit 50 degrees today was his reply when I gave him my answer.  My answer stayed consistent "I don't know" over and over again.

One day I had a brilliant idea. I sought out the golf pro and posed the question "Whens the course going to open?" When he said "I don't know" I tossed a pound of frozen hamburger on his counter and asked him if he tell me the exact time we could eat.  And by the way no microwaves could be used, the hamburger had to thaw naturally.  He understood my analogy and we've enjoyed a chuckle or two over the years when our paths cross.  However, I've never once dared or maybe I have, pulled this tactic on a member.

One of my mentoring superintendents Monroe Miller published in the "Grass Roots" a piece that looked at the average course opening date for his club over the past 25 years and mathematically calculated the standard deviation (plus or minus) of a predictable course opening date.  The deviation was a plus or minus five days as I remember.  Thus a theoretical window of possible early and late dates of opening could be predicted.  As I know longer remember how to calculate standard deviations I'll spare you my possible mathematical error.

So for now when I hear the question, "when's the course going to open?"  I'll reply "I don't know!"  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Winter Maintenance III - The Ball washer Blues.

Have you ever questioned why ball washers are placed near a tee box?  Here is a pictorial essay of one of several golf course accessories that we refurbish on a biennial basis to keep them fresh looking for your use. 

Ball washers are removed from their posts for inspection, cleaning or prepping for painting.

We alternate painting the bases in the even years as they need care too.  We no longer have the time in our down season to completely disassemble and repaint the entire assembly.  Look closely and you can see the posts need to be repainted, but that will have to wait until next year.  I'll touch them up to mask the rust.

If we didn't, over time this ball washer would be "welded" to the post due to corrosion.  As it were, I used a rubber mallet to separate this unit from its base assembly.

What the inside of the post looks like.

Ball washer bodies are inspected.  It was very apparent that our inventory had become an embarrassment no longer worthy of a private club.
Covers showed signs of corrosion
The inside of the bodies also showed deep pockets of corrosion.
Ball washers were sand blasted to remove lose paints and to "etch" the surface for the painting to come.
Forty two ball washers prepped waiting for a warm winters day.
It took almost a full week to prep the covers and bodies for painting.  The protective factory "powder coat"  had long since been removed by sand blasting over the years.
The perfect day finally arrived on March 7th.  We could finally paint outdoors in good light without freezing.
Covers hung with care for drying.
Our mechanical lift served as a drying station.  Each cover and body received two coats of paint.
The finished product.

Reassembled and awaiting the start of the 2011 golf season.
 I'll answer my question with a question and I'll let you think about it.  Who putts with a dirty ball?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Superintendents Humor


"The Randy Wilson Show"  via Turfnet TV.

Humor from a golf course superintendents point of view I thought you might enjoy.  I've added a Superintendent Humor page that can be found on the right side of my blog.  Randy Wilson typically updates his show monthly so check that page often.  The link should remain active, if not I'll re-post.  I will add golf humor that is appropriate for publishing when I hear it.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Green Accounting?

I learned of a new accounting term.  The Triple bottom line.  People, Planet & Profit!  Are the "Number Crunchers" calculating their carbon footprint in terms of global climate change?  Me thinks it doesn't add up!  Profit will always be first, but I cannot figure out if people are greater than planet! _Mk