August 28, 2011

Bunker Basics

Over the last few weeks I've noticed some poor bunker etiquette. The general idea when raking your bunker is to leave the sand close to, or in better condition than you found it.  The following pictures are all from the last week or so.

This bunker to the left was beautifully prepared by the staff in the turf department and it appears someone simply failed to rake their footprints leaving this for all the golfers that follow.

This picture tells quite a story. The golfer here apparently entered the bunker on the low side, played his or her shot and attempted to rake over their footprints while walking up the steepest point on the bunker face. While this is an improvement from the last photo as an attempt was at least made to rake the bunker, there are still footprints across the entire bunker and piles of sand where the golfer attempted to exit the bunker. Please remember to enter and exit the bunker on the low side. This creates much less work for you the golfer and helps to keep the integrity of the bunker faces and bunkers noses.

Here is one that is way too common... The sandy footprints tracked all over a green early in the morning. These footprints were on the green all day affecting the experience for each following member and guest. Please remember to tap your shoes off before walking across the green. The staff in the turf department cleans and mows or rolls each green daily by 9am and after that, it's up to the golfer to make sure the golf course is left as he/she found it.

Following these simple tips on etiquette can have a major impact on the golfing experience here at Claremont. While mainly up to the golfer to make sure the course is left as he found it, at times caddies may be made responsible for the bunker raking and fixing of ballmarks. Currently we are scheduling a training day for the caddies to review many of the practices that have an affect on the golf course and the golfer. Thanks and we'll see you on the course.

Josh Clevenger
Golf Course Superintendent

August 11, 2011

The Fine Art of Handwatering

I received the question yesterday: Why do you do all this handwatering? There are many different reasons why we handwater. The fact is that no irrigation system is perfect and to provide the consistent playing conditions that we strive for daily, we must do some amount of handwatering.

Miguel handwatering new sod at #9 Tee.
Our number one goal in the turf department is plant health. Our philosophy with regard to irrigation is deep and infrequent. For the course at Claremont this means a heavy or "deep" irrigation cycle every 7 to 10 days where we water the golf course to the equivalent of 1/4" to 1/2" of rain. In between these deep watering's, we supplement the areas that need extra water with area specific irrigation and handwatering.

The deep and infrequent program does many good things for plant health and for the playability of the golf course. First and foremost deep watering promotes deep rooting and in turf, it's all about the roots. With water comes oxygen and when we water deep enough we actually pull oxygen into the rootzone. As the water moves down through the soil profile, we allow the surface to "dry down" and in turn, the roots of the plant go down searching for that water. Deep Roots = Good Turf.

Micro sprinklers set up in the rough

A wise old superintendent once told me that if you are not handwatering, you're over watering. We could just turn on the irrigation every night, water enough to keep things green and go home at 2:30. This promotes a shallow root system and in turn, turf that will not hold up to the stresses that we put it through daily. The move for golf courses to use less water and promote firm and fast conditions is not just good for playability but good for the environment. Remember, a little brown grass is OK. Thanks and we'll see you on the course.

Josh Clevenger
Golf Course Superintendent