Monday, October 7, 2019

New Driving Range Tee - Phase 1

The driving range tee turned 30 years old this past spring so it's no surprise that it's in need of a renovation.  Typically, practice tees can last 10 - 20 years.  The fact that ours has lasted so long is really remarkable. We've been talking about this project for several years now and we are actively trying to work it into the Asset Replacement Fund (ARF).  The image above is from the Club's Master Plan and shows the footprint of the new practice tee.  With today's technology and the distance that the golf ball travels, it's necessary that we build the new practice tee as far back as possible which brings it closer to the trees that are behind the 9th green.  Below is an image which shows that grove of trees between the practice tee and the 9th green.
Although we're still trying to set a date for the construction of the new practice tee, we have the exciting opportunity right now to complete the first phase of the project which is to remove some of the trees in order to make space for the new practice teeing ground.  The reason we want to move on this project now is because we have just been given dozens of very large evergreen shrubs which are perfect replacements for the lost trees. These evergreen shrubs, which are really small trees, need to be removed from a nearby residence within the next several weeks as the home site is being completely cleared off for the construction of a new home.  So, the plan is to remove 6 of the 9 trees between the practice tee and the 9th green, and then transplant those large shrubs to this area and create a vegetative buffer.  Below is a picture of the 9th green as it looks today and then another picture showing what it will look like when we are finished planting the new buffer.

My photo-shop skills aren't the best, but you get the idea. The new look with one majestic tree is definitely more appropriate given the surrounding oak savanna landscape.Something I found interesting is that these trees behind the 9th green are not as old as they look.  Below is a picture of the golf course taken around 100 years ago and that arrow is pointing to the location where those trees are today.  Back then this was the 16th green and those trees were planted to protect players from errant shots being hit towards the 18th green.  
One more thing I need to mention is that there are so many large plants coming off this home site near the 11th hole, that we also will be using them to replace those small fir trees near the 8th green.  See the picture below.
Obviously the fir trees will get way too large for this area being they are immediately adjacent to a putting green.  These trees were planted in 2010 as a temporary buffer following the installation of the sewer utility, and the new evergreen shrubs will be a perfect permanent solution.  For those of you that weren't here in 2010 or if you don't really remember that project I created a photo album of pictures I took during that crazy 6 month period.  Over 190 trees were removed to facilitate installation of that utility.  Click here to check it out.  All of the trees that I've mentioned here which will be removed this fall are now marked with ribbon so please take a look at these areas the next time you're on the playing field.  

Saturday, September 28, 2019

TMP (Tree Management Plan) - New Update

We recently marked the trees which are scheduled to be removed this coming "off season", and there has been a few questions regarding this tree next to the 7th tee.  It's true that this tree wasn't slated for removal in the last version of the TMP, but it is scheduled to be removed in our latest version of the plan which was updated in August 2018.  If you would like to review the most updated version of the TMP, please click HERE.  One thing you'll notice about the updated version is that it is visually very different from the old version.  Now, the hole-by-hole pages are in color and are overlays of an actual aerial picture.  It is much easier to visualize in this format.  
So why are we removing the tree on 7 tee?  It's pretty simple, the tree shades 2 different putting greens (6&16), 2 different sets of teeing grounds (7&17), and a primary traffic area.  It always looks messy in this area since the tree is constantly shedding debris, and the grass around the tree is always in terrible condition since you really can't grow anything under a fir tree, especially in a high traffic area.  We have been very successful in the past  removing cart paths and the intent is to remove the path here on 7 tee.  For us to successfully manage turf in a high traffic area without a cart path, we need good growing conditions and space for traffic to spread out.  This tree is really just a juvenile since it's only about 150 years old.  It will eventually be twice as big, and the problems that come with it will be doubled.  
I took these pictures just the other day and I think they clearly show just how unsatisfactory this area of the golf course looks given the poor turf quality and the old, broken, worn out cart path.   I'm excited to get this area in a condition that is consistent with our standards.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Bogey score

Ever since we restored the original teeing grounds on holes 6 and 18, we've used some simple signs to help players know which set of tees are being used for that days play.  This spring I put out some new signs (the old signs were awkward to move around) and enough of you have commented on them that I figure it's time for an explanation as to what's written on them.  For example the sign on 6 says that it is a bogey 3, but people keep asking me why it isn't a bogey 4 since the hole is a par 3.  To answer this question we have to review the definition of the terms par and bogey.
First of all "par" is the score that a scratch golfer should make, and for the most part the par of a hole is based on it's effective length.  Today, bogey is considered one over par, but back in the day when Tacoma C&GC was founded, and golf in America was in its infancy, the bogey score was what a good player should make based on the collective agreement of the committee.  The length of a hole certainly had an influence on this decision but mostly it was based on the overall difficulty of the hole.  In other words, hazards like bunkers, water, wind, elevation and the like were considered when the bogey score was calculated.  Check out our scorecard from 1925, you can see that each hole had a par and a bogey score.  The par for the course was 72 and the bogey score for the course was 81.    
To make things more interesting, the bogey score was considered that which was played by a fictitious person named colonel bogey or the bogey man.  It was commonly said that you beat the colonel, or the bogey man if you bested the bogey score.  Since the "good old days" golf course rating with the addition of slope-rating has become a very standardized measure of a golf course's difficulty, and the bogey score as originally intended has mostly become nonexistent. Ironically, the bogey score as originally intended is a much better target score for most of us.  I mean seriously, most of us will never beat par.  If we go out there with the goal to beat par, we will spend much of our golfing days feeling very defeated.  That's why I'm putting the bogey score on the course signage.  We all have different abilities but we all want to have fun. Getting beat up by chasing par is not near as fun as beating up on the Colonel.  If you want to read some more about the history of par and bogey click HERE, or click HERE