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.