Monday, May 27, 2013

Mornings on the golf course

The day for a golf course superintendent and his or her crew starts very early, especially as we get into summer.  Waking up at 2:30 or 3:00 this time of year is more common than you would think!  The task of setting up the course for the day, which many of us refer to as the "morning shuffle," is a carefully planned and orchestrated task, as there are only so many bodies to put on equipment for the day.  As we go about our morning jobs well before sunrise, care is taken to ensure that we are focusing on the #1 priorities that will affect not only the health of the turf we manage, but more importantly the experience of our customers.

Here is an insightful blog post from Chris Fernandes, Superintendent at Northwest Golf Course.  Enjoy!

            This is how most mornings look for the maintenance departments at your favorite golf course.  While most people are just getting up, getting ready for work, getting their kids ready for school, drinking their first cup of coffee or still enjoying a good night's rest, the maintenance staff is hard at work out on the golf course getting the place ready for our customers.  Everyday is different for the maintenance staff, but one thing that is always the same is setting up the golf course for play.  Mornings are the most important part of the day for the maintenance staff and will set the standards for the course that day. 
            Before the staff members even get to the first hole, there are tasks that need to be done.  Blowing around the clubhouse, picking up debris and trash in the parking lot, setting up the cart restriction and hole location signs and communicating with the pro shop on the days course rules, conditions and what the superintendent and the assistants have planned for that day.

Once the staff arrives at the first hole the work really begins.  On the tee boxes the staff will be filling in divots with seed and sand from the previous days rounds, moving tee markers and divot boxes in their new location and depending on the day mowing the tee boxes.

On the way to the green the staff will be checking for trash on the course, blowing any debris and moving the cart directional signs.  Once on the green, depending on what is planned for that day, many of the staff will be on every green everyday.  Weather it is mowing or rolling, mowing and rolling, spraying or just setting the new pin location there are a lot of tasks that need to be completed.

Also while on the green workers will be blowing sand or debris off the green, checking for any high or low plugs and repairing ball marks to make sure the green is perfect before the staff members move on the the next hole to start the process all over again.  During the morning set up other task are being completed such as emptying trash, making sure coolers are filled and checking the bathrooms before golfers start their round.

While workers are preparing the greens others will be mowing fairways, tees, intermediates, and rough while others will be raking bunkers, mowing collars, or anything else that needs to be done. 

Superintendents and their assistants spend these early hours following up on the tasks performed by crew members to ensure quality control, and will also spend time ahead of any equipment to look at dew patterns (good indicator of stress where there is a mottled or broken dew pattern), check soil moisture, scout for pests or disease (or vandalism!), and innumerable other tasks.  The golf course mechanic is also busy in the morning checking to ensure his equipment is performing up to par, and that the quality of cut is excellent.

These are just some of many tasks that happen everyday on the course to ensure that our customers have the best experience possible every time they come out to play.  

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