Some Insight to WWGC Maintenance
WWGC's maintenance crew never stops or reduces its work force. It is common in the golf industry to scale back and only retain a limited crew throughout the offseason. Often times a golf course will keep only the Superintendent and Mechanic through the winter months. I have found that employees who are retained year round and not considered “seasonal employees” develop into more knowledgeable and consistent workers. Maintenance employees can count on working year round because I have made a commitment to them. I believe they take ownership; putting in extra effort because they take pride in Wildwood and see a future here. They understand it is their livelihood and not just a summer job. Their knowledge of the golf course is impressive and they explore ways of improving the golf course every day they come to work.
The benefits of having a high performing grounds crew are endless. Maintaining a quality golf course starts with the greens. During the golf season all 20 of our greens are consistently maintained. 20 greens?? Yes, the putting green and nursery green also need to be maintained. This equals approximately 100,000 square feet of green space requiring attention. The greens are mowed at heights of .100 -.125 inch. During the golf season the grass grows rapidly and needs to be cut daily. During months with higher amounts of precipitation and colder temperatures, the greens require different care. In the off season it is important to topdress the greens often. The way I think about the scenario is: During the golf season our tactic is to bring the top down, meaning conditions for growth are ideal and the plant is continuously growing, the most recent growth is to be cut back. During the off season we bring the bottom up by topdressing the turf. Topdressing is when finely screened sand is spread across each green. By timing the applications of sand prior to a heavy rain, the sand gets washed into the turf, this helps keep the putting conditions firm and healthy. Now if people would only fix their ball mark…-
Pace of Play
Let me begin by offering a confession. I AM A SLOW GOLFER! Whew! I feel better now that the burden of shame has been lifted. I am a four handicap golfer who constantly battles slow play. Because I can admit I am slow, I don’t have to play slow rounds. Yes, I am saying you can be a slow golfer and still play fast. But how does one know if they are slow or fast? If you’re a walker and your playing partners are always ahead of you, you’re slow. If you ride, and you don’t follow cart etiquette (dropping one player off and driving to the other ball…etc.) you are slow.
The best rule a group can follow is “keep up with the group ahead of you.” If the group ahead is playing very fast or there is no group ahead then you should time yourself. The standard time for a round of golf is four hours for 18 holes or two hours for 9 holes. Using those standards it should take you on average 13.3 minutes to play each hole. This doesn’t include any time to make the turn, so let’s call it 12 ½ minutes on average to play each hole. That should leave plenty of time on the turn to grab a dog and use the restroom.
The importance of pace of play has been a focus of the golf industry and competitive golf for many years and is recently garnering more attention; some negative, some positive. People have more to do and less time to do it so it is the industries’ desire and job to show appreciation for that time. The LPGA already adheres to its high pace of play standards, the PGA Tour is making slow progress (irony!) and recreational golf is making sensitive and meaningful adjustments. The best thing a golfer can do to avoid the conversation with a marshal is be ready to hit when it is their turn and keep up with the group ahead.
If you ever have any questions regarding pace of play or how to be sure your group is keeping up; please ask us. What golfers can expect from us is we will follow all appropriate measures to make sure their time is valued. Golfers can greatly improve the process by taking a positive and active role in learning about pace of play and staying accountable.
Keep it in the fairway
A Tribute to the Greens
Welcome to the Wildwood GC Blog. Our blog will be aimed at delivering information and opinion on all topics related to the great game of golf. We will inform our readers about course renovations, Wildwood’s future, and industry news. Knowledge is power and with that in mind we hope to provoke thought and discussion about the golf course, the game, and the industry itself… while having some fun too. With all that in mind I thought we’d kick this off with a tribute to something every good course has to have and something we take a lot of pride in.
The dance floor, the surface, the moss, the short grass… the green. The patch of grass every golfer aches to find. We get lost in the rough off the tee and cringe, but missing the green with a pitching wedge is like having your heart broken. It can turn a 300 yard drive into nothing, and lift our spirits to heaven when we manage to hit one close. The green is safe; it represents the possibility of closure, triumph or relief. Ultimately the dance floor is an illusion of safety. Three and four putts haunt our rounds and there is always at least a shred of guilt in the gimme that we know we would have missed. None the less, the security we feel and joy we get when we reach the green prepares us to keep moving forward.
Any course boasting good conditions knows that the greens are the first priority. Without them, nothing else matters. Well-manicured fairways are meaningless when hitting into a shag-carpet green. A course can make up for certain condition problems if their greens are consistently nice. At Wildwood, our greens are the first focus of the condition of the course. Our rigorous effort pays off with greens that roll fast and true all year round.
Tradition in golf often reflects lessons in life. One such tradition is “if it were easy, everybody would do it.” That tradition and life lesson holds true when looking at a courses’ greens. Next time you play, regardless of the course, consider the greens and what they mean to you. How does hitting or missing a green make you react? If they are well kept, silently thank those keeping them and when you make a putt longer than you should, remember the way it looked and sounded. You will need that memory to survive the impending disaster that is sure to emerge at any one of the next greens.