Monday, November 14, 2011

Trees are Expensive

Driving in to work today, I decided to take the scenic route and check out what some other Golf Course Superintendents are up to.  Let's just say what I discovered was little discouraging.  I won't mention the name of the first golf course I looked at but I will say it is one of my personal favorites, and arguably one of the best golf courses anywhere.  Check out these pictures.

As you can see, it's a pretty nice morning here and the golf course looked firm so I guess the staff really could do whatever they wanted to do.  I didn't bother them since I know they are working on some very large projects as they prepare for an upcoming event.  I then drove into town a bit and stopped by another course where one of my good friends is in charge.  Again, I will not mention the name of this golf course but my friend said I could take some pictures and as you can see by this next set of shots, his course looks outstanding.

My friend was enjoying the morning because he was able to take advantage of the conditions and do some neat stuff.  He was deep tine aerating the fairways to improve drainage and playability.  Like all of us turf managers, we have limitations like staff number, equipment, etc.  But really my friend could have done a number of different things today to improve playing conditions because he wasn't limited by weather. I then figured I'd seen enough and decided to go to the Club knowing that what I was going to see was anything but uplifting.  Below are some scenes from the course at Tacoma C&GC this morning.

Yes, it's leaf season.  As you can see by these pictures, today we don't have the luxury to pick and choose what to do like the other guys in town.  We have every staff member today devoted to leaf removal.  In fact, there are so many leaves down that leaf removal is what most of the staff will do all week. Pick up of the huge piles involves the use of machinery and by the looks of the forecast, heavy rain will make that a challenge since it might be too wet for machines to be out on the course later this week.  So today and tomorrow we will scramble to pick up as much as we can with the machines.  Later this week if it gets wet, we will have to do it by hand and picking up huge piles of leaves by hand takes a long time.  If we don't pick up these piles soon, the turf under them will die back and that never looks good so we're crossing our fingers that all the machines stay running and the rain holds off.  All of the leaf removal around greens and tees is done by hand since obviously it's not good to drive big machines over these areas.  All of this hand work will take a little extra time this winter since our staff size is not what it used to be.  Please be patient with us as we try and get things picked up.  The scary thing is as you look at these pictures, notice that there is still a lot of leaves left in the trees.  Although we'd like to be doing other things to improve on the course, for now and the next several weeks, we will be focusing on leaves.  We do love our beautiful, priceless oak trees but loving them, and having them comes with a price.

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