|We're gonna need a bigger rain|
A quick rain went through a few days ago (after weeks of drought and heat) so, there's a second to sit down, look back, and take stock of where we are and what's happened since the last update. I'll quickly touch on each of these items.
- Fairway overseeding
- Tournament conditions
- High rounds and excessive cart traffic
|27% water content. 95.9 degrees.|
The last real rain was over 3 weeks ago. We've been able to steer the turf through the lack of water with some diligence and a great crew. The tendency to overwater during a drought is common. Our new soil monitoring device came in handy and with it, we actually watered much less than expected and the course responded well and continues to move in the right direction.
|Careful watering and hand mowing clean-up passes pays dividends|
|16 tee. A pure stand of Perennial Ryegrass. Drought and heat tolerant.|
A positive aspect to the dryness for courses is playing conditions are favorably affected and controllable. Drives go further, green surfaces are true, and speeds are easily manipulated to players tastes (and expect the opposite when it's a wet year).
There are consequences to these conditions, however, that aren't immediately apparent. It's easy to forget that fast greens cause pin positions to become limited -- we like to say "greens shrink". Easy/moderate pin positions become few and far between when green speeds go above 11' at Tuscarora. We have severe enough contouring on a handful of greens that become hard to handle for the average player. Rounds take longer to play, par 3's back up, and frustration levels rise when greens get overly slick (11+).
A common refrain is "just put it in the middle", and I agree, that would be nice. And if we didn't have such heavy play that requires pin changes 4-5 times a week due to tiny greens (or everyday in the case of the multi-day tournaments), this would be a fantastic solution.
In general, the complaints we hear on the course are very few and if we do get one, they're fair.
Complaints about hard pin positions, however, are just bad form, especially considering the size of our greens. Here's a link to an article from the USGA regarding pin positions and the guidelines when placing a pin. Notice there's no such thing as an "illegal pin".
We intend to place 6 easy pins, 6 medium, and 6 hard in a round of golf. It's a guideline only. Ultimately, it's a subjective call by the days cup setter and is influenced by turf condition or incoming weather. The only true requirement is the ball must be able to come to rest above or below the hole on a well struck putt. Although we're successful at this, it doesn't mean that tough pins don't happen - they do. They may even happen on the day you want to play a nice relaxing round with a guest.
Our best advice: If it looks like a sucker pin near the edge, it likely is. Don't take the bait. Aim for the middle of the green and take you're 20 footer for birdy.
Or, if you have to take that shot, go for it! But take your medicine if you hit a poor shot that leaves you in worse shape with limited choices. The course punishes sloppy shots as it should.
High rounds and excessive cart traffic
Tuscarora is a heavily played course and although we love what that means, it can be a double-edged sword. Worn turf is common due to the size of the property. Since we don't have good alternatives to spread it out or GPS control over where carts drive (someday!), much of our work is focused around repair and regrowth of areas that can't withstand traffic (both foot and cart). As we near overseeding the fairways, we'll be roping off the highest trafficked areas near the greens. This includes most every approach. Excessive heat and drought, like we've experienced, makes turf highly susceptible to damage from cart traffic. We can see this on almost all of our entrances and exits on the fairways.
|direct kill from high heat and cart tires|
As recovery and grow-in complete, we'll take the ropes down.
|Directional stakes were down for a day and this damage was the reward|