For this month’s update, we would like to address some key points that have come up in the past.
Trolleys/ Push Carts
As the stay at home orders were in effect and the golf courses were restricted to walking only, many have asked what should we do with trolleys around greens and tees. This is a question of aesthetics versus agronomics. Tires on the push carts have no ill effect on turf health. Therefore, it is permissible to walk your push cart between the putting surface and greenside bunkers, or on the teeing ground. Trolleys should not cross the putting surface, mainly from a rules of golf standpoint. If tire marks become unsightly on tees, we can address this at a later date.
Divots and Ball Marks
Mix bottles will be in golf carts and available at the starter’s desk. A few weeks ago, we asked all golfers to replace their divot. We are now shifting back to please use the mix provided to fill your divot, in all areas of the golf courses. Continue to fix your ball mark, plus one other. Your help is greatly appreciated as our total team make-up has been reduced to 50% of our normal operating capacity.
More than ever, the need to disperse traffic patterns is of the utmost importance. Single rider golf rounds has increased wear patterns in our pinch areas, such as the ingress and egress points to greens and tees. Please maintain carts 10 yards from greens and tees, and not follow established tire patterns.
Hole Locations/ Course Set-Up
Many tasks are required to set up a golf course, including mowing greens, tees and fairways, but none are as important or how it affects play than hole selection and how well that task is performed by one of our team members. For the last year, we have incorporated the use of technology in our operations. One of these tools is the hole selection program called EZ Locator. Everyday, the system will generate hole locations based upon green speeds (stimp meter readings) and percent slope of the putting surface. Each day, we manually check the program and, if needed, move the selection to ensure the outcome has not favored one golfer over another (left-hand versus right-handed golfer) and locations are moved to spread wear over the entire green surface. This includes confirming holes are moved with varying locations front, middle, back, left and right.
Many other factors are considered in our hole selections each day. These include weather as it relates to:
• Wind direction and speed
• Is the course wet or dry?
• Wet = a long golf course; Dry = the ball will run out (extra yardage with the Driver!)
• Will it rain?
• Holes should be utilized in higher areas of green surface.
Other factors we take into account is if we are conducting a special event that particular day? Tournament hole locations will play different from regular play days. When we host an outside outing on a Monday, we want the field to have an easy day – it takes a while to move 120 plus golfers on a shotgun Monday!
Our overall philosophy for setting hole locations is that of “six – six – six.” We strive to have six easy hole locations, six medium, and six that provide a challenge. No matter the degree of difficulty, the hole location should produce a fair result. We are not aiming for comeback putts to be longer than your original stroke.
Teeing grounds should be pointed to the center of fairway or center of green on Par 3s, and moved in accordance with the depth of hole on the putting surface. In addition, we take into the architectural intent of the golf hole. What club did the designer intend the golfer to use for his or her approach shot? Lastly, we need to address green speeds. As stimp meter readings increase (faster greens), cuppable areas of the putting surface decrease. Golf architect Jerry Lemons wrote an article of note in 2008 regarding green speeds, percent slope and non-conforming hole locations. You can access the article HERE.
The graph below is Mr. Lemons view of greens speeds and percent slope for selecting hole locations.
Earlier this year, EZ Locator scanned our greens on both golf courses. Click here for the presentation of topo maps for a few select greens. Perhaps you have asked your playing partners, “Why is the hole always cut either back left or back right on 3 North, when this is the hardest area to access for our approach shot?” The information herein will hopefully answer this and possibly a few others of the greens we have included.
Have a great month of June!
Director of Grounds & Golf Courses