Apparently these 2 cedar trees got in the way of a black bear who in turn, showed them who's boss!
Thursday, April 27, 2017
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to represent the Carolinas GCSA at a fundraiser tournament at Rock Barn Golf and CC near Hickory, NC. The event raised money to support the turfgrass curriculum at Catawba Valley Community College. Of course, that's Chad and I on the right. My team was rounded out by Aubrey Hines (far left in yellow), who is my salesman from Howard Fertilizer and Howard McKeehan, superintendent of a small public facility in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Howard has been the superintendent there for 40 years!
I am always fascinated by folks like Howard, because they've found a way to stay engaged, challenged and tuned in to their respective clubs for so long. The golf industry is challenging because as memberships change, often times priorities do as well. Its our job to keep learning what the priorities are and guiding the process.
For the last 3 years, I've served as the NC government relation chairman for the golf industry. We recently engaged to help of an outside firm to conduct a NC golf economic impact study. Below is an excerpt from an email exchange that sheds some light on the subject:
"Overall, I think there has been strong recovery in North Carolina’s golf industry (broadly defined), since the great recession except for the decline in net golf facilities and alternative facilities (e.g., miniature golf) over the past 10 years. Golf facility operations and tourism are the only segments that showed actual declines compared to 2011. The decline in tourism is down largely due to a drop from 3% to 2% of people who say they participated in golf while on a trip to NC (based on an annual survey conducted by the state tourism office). I do want to check and see if 2016 was an outlier, or if there are multiple years where the percentage of people participating in golf while on a trip is down. Will try to do this before our call tomorrow.
When we ran the impact calculations, we found that NC’s $2.366 billion golf industry supported $3.738 billion in total economic activity, 36,688 jobs, and $1.156 billion in labor income across the state. The golf industry also generated $151.8 million in state and local taxes when the industry’s secondary and tertiary economic impacts were included."
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Like all outdoor sports, golf contains inherent variability. For example, some putting greens play differently in the afternoon than they do in the morning. Here are eight reasons why golfers may notice some changes in putting green playing conditions over the course of a day:
1. Greens can become firmer.
Low humidity, hot temperatures, sunshine and wind can make greens firmer as the day progresses. This could make it more challenging to control shots into a green. Also, although not always the case, golfers often perceive firmer greens to be faster.
2. Green speed can become slower.
Golfers can expect greens to be slower in the afternoon than they were in the morning. Thousands of USGA Stimpmeter® measurements have indicated that in most cases green speed will slow throughout the day regardless of the weather. Turfgrass growth, golfer traffic, ball marks, thatch and organic matter rebounding after morning mowing and rolling, and increased humidity are common factors that could cause slower afternoon green speeds.
3. Traffic makes greens bumpier.
Although Poa annua is often blamed for reduced putting green performance throughout the day, the biggest culprits are usually golfer foot traffic and improperly repaired ball marks. Golfers are encouraged to properly repair ball marks – even those that aren’t their own – and tap down spike marks from their golf shoes.
4. Poa annua can affect smoothness.
Poa annua can negatively influence putting green smoothness when there is a mixed stand of Poa annuaand another grass. If 40 percent of a bentgrass putting green is comprised of Poa annua it may play differently in the afternoon due to the different growth rates of the grasses. Furthermore, Poa annuaseedhead production in the spring can create bumpy playing conditions. Golf course superintendents use a variety of techniques to manage issues associated with Poa annua.
5. Soft conditions are prone to severe footprints and ball marks.
Greens that are soft underfoot are very likely to play differently in the afternoon because of normal golfer traffic. Soft greens are also prone to deep ball marks that impair smoothness. Soft conditions often are caused by excessive organic matter accumulation, rainfall, heavy irrigation or some combination of these and other factors. Managing organic matter will help produce firmer, smoother greens.
6. Bunker sand can impede ball roll.
Sand that has been splashed onto a putting green by bunker shots or tracked onto a putting green by other golfers may disrupt ball roll. Golfers are encouraged to clean their shoes upon exiting a bunker. Following good putting green etiquette will help maintain quality playing conditions throughout the day.
7. Extreme environmental conditions can affect putting greens.
Extreme cold, heat, rain, hail and wind may negatively influence putting green playing conditions over the course of a day.
8. Necessary agronomic practices can disrupt putting greens.
Agronomic practices such as vertical mowing, sand topdressing and core aeration will ultimately produce smoother greens. However, these practices may create some short-term disruption to putting surfaces. Should you find yourself playing a round following such practices, rest assured that you can still make putts. Tom Watson once shot an astounding 58 at Kansas City Country Club just days after aeration.
The bottom line is that golf is an outdoor game with inherent variability. Golfers are encouraged to embrace that variability as part of the game’s challenge and remember the wise words of the late Payne Stewart: "A bad attitude is worse than a bad swing."
For more information on putting green performance, contact the USGA Green Section.
The fairways are being "circle cut" today. This process, as opposed to striping, is done once monthly to allow the turf to be cut from a number of different angles. It promotes a tighter, more upright growth habit.
Below, the greens are now being mowed at their seasonal height of cut, 0.125"