Friday, December 28, 2012

We have had quite a run of quite major irrigation problems of late and today was no exception with a big repair required on 1 River fairway right in the drive zone.  We knew it was going to be a dangerous spot and unfortunately our Irrigation Tech was struck in the head but fortunately no damage was sustained.  It never ceases to amaze me though when the next two players came through and were laughing about it.  We accept that the job is one where being hit by a golf ball is always a possibility but I can assure you that it is no laughing matter.  We rigged up a temporary fence and parked a tractor in front of the boys working on the repair to protect them and they finished the job in somewhat safer conditions.

Temporary protection for the staff

Due to the prolonged wet conditions earlier this year the irrigation system was not in use for probably the longest period since the new control and pump system was installed over ten years ago.  We have then gone into a sustained irrigation period of some four months and I suppose that the aging system just can't cope with the continued use.  One of the most important aspects after a repair is to re-pressurise the sysytem very slowly to prevent further pipe damage from water hammer and air locks.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Well another year is coming to a close and the warm summer weather is certainly upon us with the heat and humidity on the rise.  The worst part of the holiday period for me is the short weeks at a time when the grass is growing its hardest and there is a lot of play which means it is difficult to keep up with the mowing.  So apologies in advance for the lack of mowing and in particular the roughs.

Not a lot has been happening on the courses of late apart from routine maintenance but we did get the tree debris pile adjacent to 6 River mulched recently.  Some of the mulch has been relocated to the area at the rear of the buggy shed and is available free of charge to members.  So please help yourself.  The video below gives an idea of just what the tub grinder can achieve and the mulch is quite high quality. 

I also was lucky enough to get a game in the Pro am at Coolum for the Australian PGA a couple of weeks ago.  Obviously the changes to the resort amongst all the other shenanigans going on up there took most of the press but behind the scenes of the tournament is a well oiled PGA machine that runs the day to day mechanics of what is a very big undertaking.  In my last post I mentioned Scott Gardiner and this time I take my hat off to former CTH Trainee Pro Broc Greenhalgh who is currently the Executive Officer for the Queensland division of the PGA.  I have reason to deal with Broc in a number of areas within Queensland Golf and you couldn't find a more professional person and the way he conducts himself across the board is an absolute credit to him.  And I don't just say that because he got me a spot in the Pro am ahead of his old boss Russ Davis!!

But back to the golf course at Coolum and I also salute host Super Dean Henderson and his crew for the job they did in presenting the courses in what could only be described as less than ideal circumstances which I won't delve in to here.  Every Superintendent I have spoken to has, to a man, been amazed at the quality of the turf presented by Dean under the restrictions he was placed under.

So back to the shenanigans and the video below shows Jeff the dinosaur roaring which from all reports was turned down considerably from the noise level he can emit.  There are also a couple of shots of some of the controversial on course signage as well.

"JFK" sign on the 9 tee

USA flag tribute on 9 fairway
 And at the other end of the tournament spectrum is the news that Merion GC, the host of  the 2013 US Open has instigated the use of mats to play from 8 months out from the tournament to protect the fairways.  They are only in use on fairways where balls collect in a landing area but it does seem a bit of overkill especially when the course is closed from early December to April for winter  It is not a new idea as many courses in Great Britain use mats during winter to reduce damage to their fairways.  Whereas at The Lakes for the Australian Open this year the club held their normal Monthly Medal on the Saturday prior and a large Corporate day for Volvo on the Sunday.  Adam Scott asked one of the groundstaff why there were so many divots and when did you close for the tournament.  He couldn't believe it when he was told "last night" and then commented how good the course was considering!   And lastly on the mats there is the famous story of an elderly lady member who was given a mat to protect the course at the start of her round and when she arrived at her ball in the middle of the fairway she promptly dropped the mat on the ground, stood on it and hit her ball!! 

Well I think that's enough for 2012 and I would like to wish all of my Blog followers a safe and enjoyable festive season and New Year and good golfing.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A very unexpected but overwhelmingly welcome 50mm of rain this morning that will do the courses the world of good after another prolonged dry spell.  The fairways in particular were in desperate need of the rain as once again the fairway irrigation system couldn’t compete with the wind over the past couple of weeks and with the main priority being the greens the water supply levels were starting to be stretched.

I was lucky enough to be at The Lakes GC yesterday and caught up with Cool Tweeds own Scott Gardiner.  I have known a lot of touring pros over the years and none could be as down to earth and courteous as Scott.  I watched him until the 11th and must have been some sort of curse as his game improved on the back nine to card a 76 which he followed with a 71 today.  The Lakes itself has had many major revamps over the years but the latest is no doubt the most severe and one that has polarised opinion amongst the players.  I will sit on the fence for this one and offer the following course information courtesy of Australian Superintendents Association journalist Brett Robinson;

THE SUPERINTENDENT  Anthony Mills aged 35.
THE CREW Assistant superintendent: Stephen Mallyon (recently joined The Lakes from Roseville GC).  Normal staff numbers (non-tournament): 17. Tournament staff numbers: 51 total (average of 40 per shift). 
Configuration: 18 holes, 6290m par 72 (playing approx 150m shorter).
Maintained fine turf area: 32 hectares (greens total 2ha).
Bunkers: 81 + significant sandy waste areas.
Irrigation system: Toro 850 Series sprinklers controlled by a Toro SitePro Decoder system.
Greens: Penn A4 creeping bentgrass (3mm height of cut, double cut mornings)
Projected tournament stimpmeter readings: 10’5”-11’ (10’8” before second round)
Surrounds: Kikuyu and fescue (10mm, morning cut)
Tees: Santa ana couchgrass (10mm, morning cut)
Fairways: Kikuyu (10mm, morning cut)
Roughs: Kikuyu and Fescue (100mm)

Scott honing his putting just prior to the first round.