Boardroom Yarn #55 - It Never Ends Part 2

In the Sept/Oct 2013 issue of the Boardroom, I wrote an article titled “IT NEVER ENDS’.  I want to take the liberty of continuing a part of that article with an update of events at that course over the last 2.5 years.

I began that article “IT NEVER ENDS’ with the following story line:

It Never Ends
By Dave Doherty

During a recent conversation with a very good friend of mine who is the Director of Golf Operations at a private club in northern California he confirmed that the new Bermuda grass fairways sprigged last fall were coming along now that the weather had warmed up. Then the conversation turned to how the chemical side of the equation in conjunction with an aerifying and sand top dressing program was being achieved.

During this entire 32 minute conversation not once were the club’s greens or bunkers mentioned, and probably for good reason. Eight years earlier when I started working with this club, the only conversation was about how to bring the greens up to the level that the members expected and how long it would take to get them there.  Now they were meeting members’ expectations.

Then the conversation turned to the bunkers, a project that also had been completed.  The fairways, the club’s third project, had come in very successfully during their first growing season. 

We learned a tremendous amount during this eight-year period about getting the greens and bunkers where they were expected to be, but most importantly we learned how to keep them there. A combination of physical properties science and soil chemistry science combined with commonsense and hard work has resulted in this course being one of the finest in northern California, and which by the way, has a waiting list for members.  It’s a drive for perfection …“It never ends.”   

Let’s fast forward 2.5 years to the present.  The greens, bunkers, fairways, and project #4 roughs have all come in and continue to perform very well and the members are extremely satisfied, to a point.  The members want green speeds of 10 and 10+ year round without sacrificing turf quality.   This is not an unrealistic request and the members are very much within their rights to make such a request.  

My phone conversation this morning with this same Director of Golf Operations was not could we achieve and maintain green speeds in the 10s but what we need to do agronomical to achieve and maintain these greens speeds without suffering loss of turf quality.  I have no doubt that within the next few years the club’s maintenance staff will have developed techniques and procedures to meet the member’s expectations.   The first stages of some added procedures and reduction of another will start within the next few months.  The results will be monitored and changes made as we go along. 

I have to smile when I think that a few short years ago the only thing the members wanted was grass on their greens.  The present day playing conditions did not come easy and not without turmoil within the club’s leadership, but everyone continued to work toward a common goal.  

Over the last 25-plus years I have worked with thousands of golf course superintendents, grounds managers, owners, green committees, board of directors, general managers and only God knows who else, and in all of this time I’ve come to realize that there will always be another project and that’s what is so exciting about the turf industry.        


Copyright      David L. Doherty     April 2016