Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Bunker Rake Placement Positioning

Where to place bunker rakes has been a topic of discussion for many years. Placement in or out of the sand is typically the debated issue. At USGA and PGA tournament events placement is generally outside the sand, and in some cases the rakes are completely removed as ample volunteers rake after players as needed. On the other hand, at many typical country clubs or local courses, rakes are often placed outside the bunkers as it speeds maintenance by the worker not having to move every one every time mowing is conducted. Also, inside the bunker they are not vulnerable to being run over and broken by carts. This can lead to a significant cost each year as we use a traditional handcrafted wooden rake and the cost of replacement for the careless cart operator is over $60 each!

Committees, Player, and Course Superintendents have varying opinions about rake placement, and for what it's worth, mine is that rakes should be placed inside the sand, because if my ball were to hit it and it result in a poor lie, well, my ball was likely destined for the hazard anyway and whatever the outcome is the result of my poor shot. Conversely, if the rakes are outside the bunker and my ball hits it and it ricochets into the hazard, well, then perhaps I might feel that it unfairly caused my ensuing bunker shot. You may have a differing opinion but I will say that over the years (that's 22 now) I've had only an occasional mention of rake placement and so apparently the Grounds & Greens Committee's decision long ago to place them inside the bunker has generally been acceptable.

Having stated all this, what I really want to mention in this blog is how we are changing the placement of the rakes inside the bunker. Simply stated, instead of placing the rake parallel to the bunker edge, the Grounds & Greens Staff will now place them perpendicular as we prepare bunkers every morning. We are asking that you place them in the same manner and please feel free to remind your caddies and fellow members to do the same.

 Former rake location was to place rakes parallel to bunker edge.

With rake placed as above there perhaps is a greater chance of a ball coming to rest at the rake head and this could result in a more difficult lie near the bunker edge, than otherwise might occur.

New rake location is still completely inside sand, on outside or leading edge of bunker  (with handle about 6-8 inches inside edge) Perpendicular to edge as shown above.

The idea in testing this new location is that perhaps it will impact final resting location of a ball that rolls up against it, more favorably, than a ball that might come to rest at the rake head with the former location. In this new location a ball may stop against it but perhaps it will be more likely to lie further toward center of bunker rather than closer to the edge.

We'll see how this works, we'll hope it is observed by all and placement will not again become haphazard, and we welcome your input. More importantly, as far as I'm concerned, is that the bunker rake is used after a shot (it's our responsibility as players), and the rake is treated with care and not thrown or driven over or stepped on which can damage or destroy it. It's embarrassing to say this but over 50 rakes were damaged last year and the majority had to be replaced. Please use care and correct anyone, players, caddies, staff, anyone, that mishandles these rakes. Thank you for your cooperation! Now go get a lesson and come out and practice so you quit hitting it in the bunker in the first place! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Scouting Report compliments of CDGA & Dr. Derek Settle

Oh where has the time gone? It's mid summer right? No, it just feels that way with rather dry conditions and a few mid 90's thrown in for good measure. At least this week will cool off a nice amount and re-set the summer clock a little!
I know it's been a while since I've posted, but between building tees, working on replacing the collapsed retention wall at #12, planting all the summer annuals, trying to keep up with plant protectant applications (earlier and more frequent needs due to the early spring/summer) and dealing with the early hot and dry conditions (irrigating, hand watering), I frankly have had limited computer time! Those of you that do follow me on twitter, @scc1897, do know that although I may at times blog infrequently I do at least tweet very often, daily or more often, about many of the activities on the course. You can also see the twitter feed (to the right) on this blog as well and perhaps this is a way you might follow should you rather not follow on twitter. I will say I have had many comments from members stating that they appreciate and enjoy following tweets of course work and other course activities, nearly as soon as they occur, via their smartphones.  Want to know the very latest about what we're doing on the course?...follow me on twitter.  
I'll blog again very soon about our main project at hand, the pond retention wall, and a few other items such as; a new placement method for bunker rakes; a practicing method (desired divot pattern);and more, but for some time now I've been wanting to blog about The Scouting Report that follows:

All of us that are involved with Golf in Chicagoland, whether intrusted with the care of a golf course, as GC Manager or Superintendent, or, as a player of the game, have a valuable asset available to us. That asset is the CDGA and more specifically (for those tending to courses), the CDGA Turfgrass Program. Research, product and variety trials, education events, and on-site visits are just a few of the many benefits provided by Dr. Derek Settle, Director, and Tim Sibicky, Manager of Turf Research.
We are all indeed fortunate to have this local source of excellent information and assistance to help provide solutions to challenges we face on the course, thereby improving our ability to provide high quality playing surfaces for the great game we all love.

On a weekly basis Derek and Tim distribute a report, the Scouting Report, that is chock full of weather information, charts, current pest occurrences, research activity and much more. It's simply outstanding information that helps us plan better and ultimately provide better turf conditions.

I thought I would begin to post this report fairly often, if not weekly, to give members and others that visit this blog, a little deeper look into the world of golf turf management. Be sure to click on link to view entire report. 

May 25, 2012 Scouting Report
High Temps Hit 90s Early: Lack of Rain = Dry, Handwater Management Starts, Peter thinks Root Research, and Tim says "Fairy Ring Research Begins"

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle, CDGA
Memorial Day Weekend Arrives and yet it doesn't seem quite right. So far this season has advanced early, but the poor old calendar just progresses according to numbers. To me and to others, Memorial Day came and went a month ago - this calendar is of growing things. To the uninitiated all seems well, but folks that maintain the landscape are tired - they had to start "doing" a month earlier than usual. What continues to concern us, just a little bit, is exactly just how this growing season will play out since such a spring has never been recorded. March amazed us with 80s for highs - nine consecutive days. Later, April calmed us with more normal temperatures, but a lack of rain meant we were very dry. May saw the usual zig zag of spring as Mother Nature's final cold frosty breaths were exhaled. May's final full week has arrived and already Chicago is counting her first few days above 90 degrees - usually this begins in June.

But May is not over when one more piece of awe inspiring meterological information (AIMI) hits the news, a 100 degree day forecast for Sunday, May 27th. Currently, it isn't even summer and eyebrows (mine especially) begin to look like twin mountain peaks. During summer in Chicago we know the century mark is unusual to cross at any point. For example, we saw 100+ last July, but the last time that had happened was 2005. The earliest 100+ degree day in Chicago (Midway Airport) hails back to May 31, 1934 - dust bowl years. Hang on, summer just arrived.

Click here to view the May 25, 2012 Scouting Report.
Hope you enjoy the report!

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