Monotony- the good kind

From Webster's on-line: Monotony Noun 1. The quality of wearisome constancy, routine, and lack of variety; "he had never grown accustomed to the monotony of his work"
It is that time of year where we are simply trying to survive the summer weather and deal with the play we get this time of year. It can seem monotonous at times but that is the nature of property management. It seems odd to be starting off a post like this on a day where we have had a few showers that were not predicted. It has thrown a monkey wrench into the tee sheet and gives me a headache to think it might have hampered the sprays I put out this morning. Not the break in routine I was looking for, neither was the 24 hr bug I caught over the weekend which made me withdraw from the club championship. Oh well, the planned disruption of heading to my first UMass field day in South Deerfield on Wednesday will be a welcomed change in routine.
Things around here are going OK by all accounts. We survived the club championships and the course continues to behave, for the most part. As I mentioned it continues to rain here and there so not a lot to complain about.
The point of the title is that after three years of weekly blog posts I felt as though I was starting to repeat myself and who wants to be that guy. Certainly the etiquette message of rake the bunkers, fix your ball mark and replace your divot bares repeating over and over but even that gets old. I will add an article done recently about one of our employees which is interesting and inspirational and also a few pics from over the last few weeks that I posted on Twitter. My page is @22crowther if you wish to follow and see more regular updates.

Chris Welch and his life as a Spartan: HERE

Full Moon 6/15 greens

Sunrise 9
sunrise with water 1
Blooming Roses 4 tee

Fog/Mist and dew 4


Officially Summer


The season is upon us. If the weather has not been an indication certainly the traffic this last week should be and the tournament schedule is also a good indicator. Many great events so far with many to come. Chet and his staff are doing a wonderful job as these events seem to be stacked on top of each other. The drought of May .45" was erased with the month of June having over 4" and July started with a bang as you will see below. The course is magnificent. It almost hurts to type it. Superintendents by nature do not compliment their own work probably since we are always looking for the bad stuff and trying to make them better. Or we are afraid of Murphy and his laws and would never dream of jinxing ourselves. Sure there are issues out there and sure I would like them to be better but tee to green the place is solid and playing really well. There I said it. What could happen: a rain event with 1.17" in 15 minutes? A total of 2.26" in 90 minutes? That happened on Wednesday here is some of the proof:
 
2 bursts . the 1st missed lower half of island

main walkway washout

rack line 7 bunker
Waste area on 4. old white sand blown out of bunker years ago washed from grass back into bunker

first fairway during second wave


The video above was in between the two bursts we received. I shot it on my way up to clubhouse. A few paths washed out as well as a few bunkers but overall not too bad. We opened at 12 for walkers and it turned out to be a nice afternoon.

The website and on-line community Turfnet that I am a member of is having a video contest to discuss Smart Water Management. This was my first attempt at actually putting together a movie:


The A B C's of green speed

We have had an amazing stretch of weather in the last few weeks. Continuing "the year of firsts" theme I do not recall a stretch of constant wind, no rain and almost zero dew for such a long period of time. It helped create some fantastic playing conditions and also made the course look more like it does in August than May. I received a lot of great comments about the course and the greens in particular.I also received a few questions as well so I thought I would explain the basics of green speed here.

What causes friction? Obviously height of cut is on the top of the list.



 The most influential factor governing ball roll is friction. The more friction there is the slower the ball will travel and the faster it will stop rolling. What causes friction? Obviously height of cut is on the top of the list. Try putting on the fairway then the tee then on a green. The longer the grass the more surface area for the ball to contact and create friction. There is a point of diminishing returns however when greens are lowered beyond what the turf type you are growing can handle. A key factor for consistency throughout the day has been the use of plant growth regulators PGR's. It is common for greens turf to be regulated throughout the season. There are many benefits to using PGR's such as reduced water use, thicker stand,  but the main reason is for a reduced clipping yield. If the turf is not growing that much than the height of cut in the morning is similar to the height in the afternoon and so they should putt relatively the same. Assuming most greens are pretty close to the same height I would say moisture is the biggest player on putting greens for creating friction. Not only moisture on the surface or in the ground but also in the air. As the humidity rises in the summer the ball travels less due to the friction of all that moisture in the air. The same is true for putting. The weather conditions we had were absolutely perfect for ball roll. Low humidity, dry surface, and wind all helped create a firm playing surface. Add to that regulated growth and the greens were firm and fast all on their own.

Our greens have their most speed in the Fall when conditions mimic the ones we had recently. 


One procedure that has become popular again in golf course maintenance is rolling. Rolling helps to speed ball roll by flattening the grass blades so less surface area to cause friction. Courses that chase speed will roll often, sometimes even daily. Green speed should be set to match the budget, grass type, ability of players, and the contours of the putting greens. When green speed exceeds the contours of a green the balls roll off the surface which then slows play as golfers take 3,4 or more putts to hole out. This will also cause certain hole locations to be deemed unfair and limit the number of usable spaces. Our greens have their most speed in the Fall when conditions mimic the ones we had recently. My goal is to have healthy turf which provides a smooth consistent ball roll with a speed that is not deemed slow by current standards but also will not limit the areas in which we can place a cup. I also do not want the speed of greens to be a hindrance to pace of play. Based on the comments I receive we accomplish these goals. It is fun to have perfect weather to provide faster conditions naturally even if only for a short time.