One of my goals this season is to focus on reducing wear areas throughout the golf course. I have noticed over the last few weeks a significant amount of wear, but not all looks like maintenance traffic. I have started to train my staff on what a wear pattern looks like and how your mind is trained to drive through the same place to do the same task every day. I am trying to change that focus and have the staff vary their path daily thus reducing wear traffic and compaction, like you see in the picture (wear on #1) , where the maintenance staff drive in front of the bunker daily, once to mow the green, once to rake the bunker, once to change the pin and finally to roll. All this traffic has caused a major wear area without even realizing it.
I have also implemented a program on certain days for the staff to drive in the fairway instead of in the narrow rough corridors between holes and trees! I would like the members to take the same approach. Whenever possible, keep the cart in the fairway and exit the fairway where the black posts (see exit post photo) are located. These rules are in place to minimize damage that would have occurred if all traffic congregated to the same area. Train your eye not to drive on the same path during each round of golf; if we reduce the wear on these areas by 50% during each round we will have a better chance of growing healthier turf. Carts and maintenance equipment are not the only machines causing damage; foot traffic causes the most direct wear around greens and tees. There are limited walk-ons and exits from greens, and a great example is in the attached picture of #6 green. Try not to walk on the same path up to the green during your round and take another path which will help alleviate compaction and wear.
Over the last week the staff has removed areas of turf that are past the point of saving and will begin re-sodding in the next couple of weeks. Our focus will be on the front entrance, #1 tee, #18 and then areas that are in play. When you see a bare dirt area edged out and ready for sod, please play the area as ground under repair. After the sod has been laid the turf team will begin an aggressive agronomic and cultural program to increase growth and keep compaction to a minimum.
Let’s work together and reduce wear areas!
Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent