Things are starting to green up and bloom here in Northern Indiana. Forsythia have begun showing their yellow blossoms on the bottoms of the plants, daffodils and tulips withstood mid-March snows and freezes to begin their Spring, and the grass on the golf course is starting to green up in anticipation of another season. The picture to the right shows 9 green during a 96 hour synopsis of a typical March in Indiana. Snow, melt, snow, melt followed by a day where winds reached 60 miles/hour.
The staff and I continue working on course clean up, applying pre-emergent treatments for crabgrass and other grassy weeds, and mowing the fine turf on an as needed basis. As weather more consistently warms and additional staff return, we will begin to assume our normal in-season maintenance routine. We are typically fully staffed by Memorial Day.
|New Pin Location cards|
The other change is a new maintenance method we are trying in how we maintain the bunkers in an attempt to further improve the playability of them. A large focus of this centers around helping the ball better roll to the bottom of the bunker, to provide firmer sand and playing conditions in the bunkers, and to help prevent "fried egg" lies. In the past, we raked the entire bunker and edges with leaf rakes in daily maintenance, a process that usually takes 5 staff members about 4 hours a day.
The new style of raking is termed the "Aussie Method", which began as a common method of maintenance in the Sandbelt region of Australia, and has become increasingly popular across the globe. It achieved global exposure during the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst.
|Lead assistant Matt McNarney raking #2 bunker|
However, please remember that the single most important factor regarding firmness in bunkers is moisture. Wet bunkers will always be firmer than dry bunkers - regardless of maintenance practices. Also, during heavy rain events, many of our bunkers in their current position and shaping will have to be re-built and raked, which will return compaction levels to square one. The USGA has made a great video explaining bunker maintenance and consistency, which you can click here to view. Edging, pebble removal, and checking of sand depth levels will continue this month as more staff return.
If you have any questions or feedback, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at the Maintenance Facility. I hope to see you out on the golf course!