The Golf Course Confessional: This is really a poor man’s game…

There is an old joke, usually told on a Scotsman, that he had quit the game of golf five years ago, but took it up again recently, because he had found his ball.  Frugality is not limited to the Scotch.  In the New Glarus area there is a saying that someone was “being Swiss,” when the issue of compressing the currency comes up.

Just this morning, one of the “Medicare Kids,” our twice weekly group of octo and nono generians, brought in what he defined as real evidence of a true “Schweitzer”  having been present at the course.  I will admit that the Scotsman might be excused a bit for laying off a game, having lost a “feathery” in the gorse, since that single ball was hand made from so many hats of pounded duck feathers that it might have cost a day’s wage. But I suspect that parsimony has now been elevated to “Alpine” heights. Here is the evidence…



Yes…  That is duct tape on a broken golf tee, found in this pristine condition on the tee of hole #6.  I think we may have prima facie evidence of the presence of a true “Schweitzer!” Either that or we have been granted a visit by a Canadian named Red Green, whose rumination on duct tape and WD40 are legendary at the Argue-ment.  “If it moves and it shouldn’t… Duct Tape!  If if doesn’t move and it should… WD40.”

The Golf Course Confessional: Not all of our golfers are Turkeys and not all of our Turkeys are Golfers…



“You have the best job in the county!” one of our golfers told me, as I mowed the fairway.  I could not agree more, particularly when I am halted by play next to one of the Blackcap Raspberry bushes that are prime right now.  This particular bush got me a full cup for “second breakfast.”  They had been rinsed by overnight rain and were sweet as sugar.  Memo to self:  Bring a large Ice Cream bucket tomorrow…



This hen Turkey must have a brood close by, but was so focused on the Mulberries that had fallen to the ground along hole 6 that she would not be distracted by the large, loud mower a few feet away.  The Mulberries are more fragile than the Blackcaps but are just as tasty.  Memo to self:  Bring another Ice Cream Bucket tomorrow…

The Golf Course Confessional: Noreasters and Souwesters…

Following a wonderful Father’s Day Sunday, Summer Solstice and all, we got a round of storms on Monday.  The morning found Judy and me sitting at our home altar for the devotional time, reading from the Book of Acts about Paul’s impending shipwreck from a Noreaster coming from Crete.  In the back of our minds was the severe thunderstorm warning for our area.  Radar showed the bow of the storm with the lower limb set to cross the Argue-ment directly.  Winds in excess of 60 miles per hour, torrential rain, possible tornado.  We spent an hour or so in the basement.  Not bad in town.

At the course it was a different story.DSC00557Two large trees adjacent to the first tee were ripped from the ground, landing near but not on the practice green.  The hole resulting is more than five feet deep.DSC00556


A large Oak split on the south side of the number one fairway.  Small branches and twigs all over the greens, tees, and fairways throughout the course.DSC00549 DSC00548A fairly large American Elm went down across the #8 path, blocking the way. Farther down the path, several Cottonwood trees were sheared off about 25 feet above ground, branches everywhere.DSC00551There are a couple of “widow makers” in this mess that will have to be dealt with.DSC00554


Along the entry drive, a dead American Elm dropped a major branch, blocking the way in and out.

Picking up, trimming, raking, chain sawing a clear path for carts ensues.  The neighbors across Argue Rd. look like they took quite a hit as well.  Fortunately, from what we can see, their house is not damaged.  Fortunately as well, none of the Argue-ment buildings are either.

The irony of course is that a couple of these trees were on the list of things to do when we have time and money…  The Apostle Paul was visited in a dream by the messenger of God, telling him everything would be fine, if everyone would simply hand together and trust.  Noreasters are survivable.  So is this Sou’wester of straight line wind.  Someone will get some firewood and some of the course paths will get some new chips… Nobody got hurt. God is good.  We will be open for play tomorrow, unless the promised round of storms for this evening intrudes.



The Golf Course Confessional: Heads and holes in the ground

Most golfers have not seen the whole process by which a golf hole is moved.  So here is a progression of pictures that tells the tale.DSC00537


The process begins with locating the site of the new hole.  Typically, this location will be significantly far away from the hole being moved, to avoid additional compaction from golfer traffic.  Most holes will be located a minimum of 3 to 4 paces from the edge of the green.  The location should be reasonably flat.  Once the location is set, an aluminum plate is placed on the grass for the worker to stand on while making the new hole.  The cup cutter is inserted through a hole in the plate that is just a bit larger than the cutter.  This allows the worker to rotate the cup cutter and remove plugs without lifting the turf around the new hole.  DSC00538


Normally, a new hole can be cut with about three “plugs.”  The first plug usually is as deep as the grass roots have extended into the soil.  This plug is placed adjacent to the hole being moved, so it can be positioned on the top later.DSC00539


The cup is pulled from the old hole location by means of a cup puller that engages the drain holes in the bottom of the cup.  DSC00540


When the full amount of soil has been removed from the new cup location  and transferred to the old cup placement the worker pours about a cup of water over the soil plugs and then places the grass plug on top, tamping it down with his shoe.  Then he uses a tool to “stitch” the edges of the plug to the new location, and to level the area for proper mowing.




Sometimes the new hole needs to be cleaned out more so the cup will fit properly.  A tool with a blade to scrape the bottom of the new hole flat accomplishes that nicely.  DSC00544

The edge of the new hole is a bit rough.  There are leaves and roots of the grass that overhang the edge.  We need a clean putting target, so a light trim is done.  The clippings fall into the hole to decompose below the cup.  Now we are ready to set the cup.DSC00542


The cup should be placed so the top edge of the metal is approximately one inch below the surface.  That allows a properly stroked putt to impact the soil or turf at the back of the hole rather than bounce off the metal cup.  The cup setter is designed to provide this setting automatically. DSC00543

Here is the new hole.  All it needs is the flag.  The spots around the hole are Dollar Spot fungus.  We see this every year when the overnights are moist and warm, as we have had for the last couple of weeks with the rains.

The Golf Course Confessional: (Dande)lions… and Tigers… and Bears… O MY!

Recently one of my nieces posted on Facebook about her five year old daughter’s distress that their lawn had no Dandelions.  When mom carefully explained that they sprayed their lawn to prevent Dandelions from growing, the little one exclaimed, “That’s not FAIR!”

The issue of “weeds” in turf grasses is one which will generate no end of commentary.  When Pinehurst #2 was naturalized prior to the 2014 US Open golf tournament the mixed response was sometimes, shall we say, less than civil.

I will admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for “weeds.”  We have thousands of acres of “crops” locally, beautiful with their rowed regulation in their own right.  However, they exist, as they exist, as artifacts of intervention, to be “cultivated.”  Weeds erupt.  Give a Dandelion parachute a microscopic landing zone of bare soil, and it will set up a base camp for the generations. There is a tiny ripening period from bud to flower to seed.  I wonder how well the world could be fed if that joyous haste could somehow be communicated to wheat, barley, maize, or rice.  DSC00502

My wife and I both remember, from the days of our being our grand niece’s age, learning to braid the long stemmed Dandelion into garlands to be presented to mom.  Most of the raw materials were to be gathered from the lawn, although the really good stems were only to be had from the tall grass ditches. (We have a teaching task…)


Some would call the Dandelion seed silk harvest stage “unsightly.”  Tell that to the Hummingbird whose nest is lined with the softest of down, because God likes weeds also and makes such a coverlet available, just in time.



The Golf Course Confessional: Mindless Awareness 4-23-15

DSC00399The golf course is awakening by fits and starts following the long winter’s sleep.  The wonder of watching the grass grow new… how could it be boring?  DSC00439

Other things are awakening as well,  This Painted Turtle greeted me near the #8 green on one of the warmer afternoons last week.  DSC00446

The Dutchman’s Britches are filling the voids on the hillsides.DSC00447

Bluebirds are back in force, as well as the Turkeys.  The Gobblers are pitching woo for all they are worth.  Spring is here.

If I remember my High School reading list correctly, the narrator of BF Skinner’s Walden Two claimed for himself the mindlessly menial job of sorting the nuts and bolts on the bench in the communal workshop. My version at Argue-ment, during times too wet or cool to work with the grass,  is the ball sorting ritual that begins with the delivery of 100 dozen “experienced” golf balls.  We tell our customers that, “since these balls have already spent part of their existence in the woods, tall grass, or the ponds, they know better than to go back there again…”

Like the final judgment sorting of sheep and goats, I consign some to resale and some to range.  There is a mindless awareness involved, similar to that of hunting.  If you look hard for something, you cannot see it, even when directly in front of you.  It is a bit like seeing the deer or turkey at the far edge of the field while driving on Argue Rd, not so much an intellectual exercise of choice as it is a sensing of presence.  I suspect the Gestalt practitioners would understand this as background from which a field of awareness coalesces into consciousness.  The peculiar forms of the various brands and different levels of valuation quickly become habitual, as does the movement of the hand toward the appropriate bucket or egg carton.  If you thought about this at all it would enervate.  Just doing it frees the mind to wander.

The golf Course Confessional: A successful deer hunt


I have hunted on the course for many of the years we have lived in New Glarus.  This year was no exception.  No harvest, but a successful hunt nonetheless.  I was joined by Bret Shaw and David Haugh for several days of the hunt.  We saw deer often.  Nothing is better than being outside doing something you love to do with friends.  Golf and hunting both provide the opportunity to do that.

Yes, there is a deer in the picture above.  You can see what we are up against in hunting them.  They blend in well, unless there is snow!  I shot this one a number of years ago with my camera from the clubhouse deck. When Judy and I lived on the course, in the apartment in the basement of the “little house on the golf course,” I would sometimes awaken in the middle of the night with a sensation of being watched.  Every time, I would open the blinds on the bedroom window and see deer looking in!  They had come for the acorns from the oak tree just outside.

We have a modestly sized deer population on the course.  The surrounding area, even with the housing developments to our east, has a fairly dense population.  The number of deer vs. auto accidents annually in the immediate area is significant.  A deer strike can cause thousands of dollars in damage.  Partner, Art Jennrich found a newly struck deer on the roadside on the way into town just before the season opened this year.  In Wisconsin, you can ask for permission to harvest this for the meat.  He did.  Nice. Not too much damage and about 45 pounds of useful meat. I have not hit one yet, but came very close to doing so right on the driveway of the golf course.  A nice buck, distracted by the scent of a doe during the rut, ran right in front of our car.

No venison yet this year, but the secondary hunt in December is still to come.  Perhaps…

The Golf Course Confessional: Time passes quickly when you are having fun.

It is hard sometimes to remember just how long we have been involved with Argue-ment Golf Course.  I came across some of the older pictures of the course.  Posted with more recent items, they tell the passage of time better than I can with


words.  The evergreens, White Pine and Spruce, have grown to nearly obscure the hill, and now hide the roadway to #5.


DSC00292DSCF0098DSCF0011 DSC00291

The pond in front of #9, from a bare hole in the ground to a lush feature.  It has been seventeen years.

The Golf Course Confessional: Pre Christmas sale starts on Black Friday


It’s tough thinking “GOLF!” when the windchill factor is in the single digits.  However, this is the time of the year when you can buy golf the cheapest.  It is sort of like the used car dealer with the lonely convertible in the back stall of the drifted lot…  The dreams of the summer to come.

Once again your humble Confessor will be manning the phone banks at Argue-ment, DSCF0037awaiting the torrent of interest in half price golf for the 2015 season.  This ad will show up in the Post Messenger and associated editions during Thanksgiving week.

Christmas Stocking Stuffer  from Argue-ment Golf Course

Wouldn’t you rather get a golf ball in your stocking than a lump of coal? An Argue-ment Stocking Stuffer is the next best thing. Purchase as many $25 dollar unlimited use gift certificates for your favorite golfers as you like and receive a bonus $25 coupon with each certificate good for golf, cart, and range fees at Argue-ment.

That’s a $50 value for $25 spent.

Orders may be placed by phone using credit or debit card at 608-527-6366, by a check in the mail at the address below, or in

person Fridays and Saturdays from 10 AM to 2PM between now and Christmas.

Argue-ment Golf Course

N9603 Argue Rd.

New Glarus, WI 53574

Gift certificates may be used like cash for anything available at the course.

Some restrictions apply to coupons. Sorry, no cash redemptions for certificates or coupons. Swing easy!