Where did October go?

The Fall seems to be flying by. The weather is still misbehaving with some great days then real cold then rain and back again. No definitive pattern to speak of. We just wrapped up a Nor'Easter (click on the blue link for a definition if not familiar) that dumped inches of rain on parts of New England and was supposed to hit us as well. You will see from some of the pictures it missed us most of the three days (typical duration). Our total for the storm was .58". The total so far in Oct is 3.92" which is way above the last two Octobers but still below the 19 yr avg of 4.07". Our deficit for the year is still substantial.
9th hole looking towards tee Tuesday afternoon

full sun late Wednesday afternoon
After one of the rain events last week I ran out and graded Golf Club Road. As a few of you zoomed past me I decided to take a picture as I worked up a great post titled "I need your help". I was going to explain how me and my staff feel punished for doing a good job. This is true for roads and many parts of the course. Before we took over road maintenance the roads were in really bad shape in between gradings. This led to inconsistency and lots of complaints, least of all from my lovely spouse. Since then the roads are more consistent and some of the best on the island. Now our biggest complaint is speed. This is where it feels like we are being punished for doing a good job. We have speed bumps and speed limit signs yet most people are going much faster than the 15 mph limit. This creates the washboard or ripple in the road and adds more work for us to repair. It creates a hazard for the many walkers, joggers, children and pets who use the road also. I am asking you to become aware of how fast you drive around the property and make a conscious effort to step it down a notch. I know traffic can be a bear in the summer and everyone is always in a rush but it will improve your golfing experience and even your entire day if when you turn onto the dirt road you ease back, take a few deep breaths and relax.
road repairs on Golf Club Road
The similar course feelings are unrepaired ball marks, unraked bunkers, divots not repaired or filled. We work hard everyday to try and give you the best course we can and then people cannot take the time to follow the etiquette of the game and repair their own ball mark etc. I need your help to slow down when driving and to rake the footprint you made in the bunker.

4th hole during the cold snap recently. heavy dew and fog settling down

Smurf village

family of White Tailed Deer crossing 4th hole
The next set is from Thursday morning on the last day of the Nor'Easter that was supposed to dump inches of rain on us but thankfully missed us most of the time:
Freight boat coming in

Sunrise Shenandoah

Looking over VH harbor towards the club and West Chop

History Behind the Bass-Ackwards Tourney & an alternative to the Big Cup movement

Can you believe it is Columbus Day weekend already? Our final tourney is this weekend. It has an interesting story of how it began so I thought I would share it with you all. When our previous Pro, Allen Menne came he thought it would be a fun idea to have what is generally referred to as a Superintendent's revenge tourney. I was somewhat familiar but had never been at a club where we had one. He was enthusiastic as he explained to me that this was supposed to be a fun event for me and my staff. We get to put the pins in collars and all sorts of weird places. The tee markers could be placed on the sides of the tees. The format is virtually limitless. The players have a blast playing this goofy set up. Being somewhat of a pragmatist I asked "what happens for the rest of the day? We are open to member and also public play?" He answered "yes". "OK so the goofy set up stays or we would then have to go put it back to normal?" Silence and total deflation of exuberance as he answers "yeah I guess so." I then asked that this was a tourney for us? If that is the case then my revenge would not be for double the work but no work at all. You get the course as it is: dew covered, un-mowed, un-raked bunkers etc. and we get to sleep in. The compromise is that we set the course up fairly normal and the pro-shop puts out an extra set of tee-markers in the rough and fairways and you play the course backwards. Brilliant. Due to our unique orientation you always go around counter-clockwise. It is a completely different feel to approach greens from strange angles when you play it clockwise. It is similar to what is referred to as cross country golf where you zig-zag all over the property. A fairly common treat for employees late in the day or in the off-season when looking for a fun way to just play golf. I have played in the tourney several times and it is a real treat and something you should try at least once. It has become a staple and our closing tournament for the
season.

Mink Meadows from the sky

Late season rose and a yellow dog
As I was mowing greens today the pin on 6 caught my attention. Chris placed it right in the middle of a patch of bentgrass. We still have some of the original grasses the greens were seeded to in 1936. The seed blend was called South German Mix and contained several varieties. I am sure there are several biotypes of these and other bluegrasses in these greens as well. The old bentgrasses really show up starting this time of year as the soil temperatures start to dip. When the soil gets cold the phosphorus gets bound up and harder for the plant to take it up. Phosphorus deficiency manifests as a purplish color so as we head into Fall the greens will once again look like the patchwork quilt that they are. It occurred to me that maybe what golf needs is not a bigger cup but a bigger target instead. Check out the pictures below and anyone playing this weekend let me know if it was distracting to putt to this cup or helpful.
patch of old bentgrass

Target golf

Prognostications and a visit with an old friend

I guess my career in predicting weather is over. If you remember I posted my personal rain records which showed we were way behind this year and predicted we would get a ton of rain in September to catch up. Well we did get rain finally but not enough to even things up. I updated the spreadsheet and as you can see we did get more this September then last but the total  for April thru Sept. is well below any other year.
A-Sept 12.65" this year vs 22.58" for 19/yr avg
So again the numbers do not lie and yesterday's weather proves my point. We are in the soup. The weather pattern has changed and we are starting to get more rain. We have more in the first couple of days of Oct this year than we did for the entire month last year. Maybe this month will be the one to catch up?

For those of you reading this you may have been fortunate to either travel away from the coast or be away from the coast already. I know what you will be thinking as you read my account of yesterday, "That is a long way to go for a round of golf" and I agree, but it was worth it. We had attempted to play on Wednesday but moved to Friday due to rain. Good thing because it rained hard and even though the forecast was for clearing skies Thursday and Friday it never happened along the coast. It was spectacular however inland where we went. Connie O'Doherty was a member of a club outside of Hartford called Ellington Ridge CC back in the 80's. He still has stock and can play the course. He raves about the place often reminiscing about his time there and so decided to put a foursome together and make the trip. It is a little over two hours from Woods Hole and about the same from Saratoga Springs NY where our old friend and former member Mark Yale lives. He rounded out the group and we enjoyed a beautiful sunny day and a fine golf course. We were stunned as we headed back to see this cloud cover and wet roads. The temperature gauge plummeted and the realization hit that the lousy weather never left this area. It was a long day and the course was tough but the company and weather was great.
Getting ready for another NY winter with a full beard going Mark Yale

not really our thing here but some stunning flowers on most tee boxes
 Things here are about the same. We continue to try and repair some of the weak areas on the course, mostly rough, and prep the course for Winter. The acorns are falling as well as the leaves in a few spots. We are wrapping up the Charity tournaments with Big Brothers/Sisters this weekend. Last week we had the Tisbury fire fighters and I just had to take a picture of their golf cart. It was painted the same color as the trucks and had chrome hose hook ups, an axe and ladder. Pretty cool.
pictures do not do it justice

They used it to put out the hole sponsor signs