Golf Course Maintenance - a Members Prospective:
This is my second entry in the Priddis Greens Turf Care Blog as a Priddis Greens Golf Club member and a member of the Priddis Greens Turf Care Team. (see Sunday, April 21st entry)
Now that we have finally opened all 36 holes and the Turf Care staff has begun their regular daily golf course maintenance schedules, I wanted to highlight an area where 'members' could assist with an ongoing maintenance task.
FAIRWAY and GREEN SIDE BUNKERS:
You may not notice, but a very significant amount of time and effort is devoted to raking every bunker, every morning to provide members with the best 'playability' aspect that we can. The Bunker Team grooms each bunker first by turning the bunker rake upside down, (teeth up) so they can smooth the sides of the bunkers. This is done to help golf balls roll down to the bottom of the bunker to a flatter surface to assist golfers in being able to hit the ball out. In addition the bottom of the bunkers are raked to fill in any leftover footprints and ball marks and to fluff up the sand, again for better playability. All this work however, is often negated by golfers who have the misfortune to hit into a bunker and then not raking it carefully (or at all) when they leave it. After a day of this type of activity it takes the Bunker Team a lot longer to get them back into proper condition the next morning. If you are playing later in the day you must wonder why the Turf Care people never seem to rake the bunkers. In fact on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we run what we call the GAP Program, where we put a full team out on one of the 18 hole courses between 11 AM & 1 PM. We go through all the morning routines again including re-raking all the bunkers, alternating between the Raven and Hawk courses. Yet each morning when we go out, the bunkers often look like golfers have been playing Beach Volleyball in them!
Bunkers come in all sizes and shapes but they all have one common characteristic and that is, there is a 'low side' and a 'high side' to each of them. Rakes are normally placed near the 'low side’, which should be your 'entry and exit' point to any bunker. Many bunkers actually have a very steep high side, which should NEVER be the side that one enters or tries to exit a bunker from. This breaks down the sides and creates a great deal of work to repair. In addition to breaking down these higher sloped sides often contaminates the sand in the bunker with dirt/clay that is dug up from ‘climbing’ in and out on these steep slopes. Please take the time to walk around to the low side to step into and out of the bunker.
So, quite simply if you find yourself having hit into any bunker, please enter at the lowest point, take your shot and then rake the sand as smooth as possible as you back out on the same path and exit at the lowest point. This will reduce the amount of raking you need to do, reduces unnecessary repair work by the Bunker Teams and it saves the integrity of the bunker for the next golfer who has the misfortune on hitting into it. Turf Care will still rake the bunkers every day (sometimes twice a day) but we would appreciate the cooperation and assistance from all golfers in helping us to maintain the beautiful golf course that we have here at Priddis Greens.
- Dave Harron
Priddis Greens Member (Past President)