Our new Supervisor of Outside Operations – Trevor Hill!

DSC_0107Dear Spring Run Member,

Please join us in congratulating Trevor Hill on his promotion to Supervisor of Outside Operations.

Trevor has been employed at Spring Run Golf Club for thirteen years, and has been an invaluable asset to us. Trevor’s new responsibilities will be educating and training the Outside Staff, communicating with the Membership and Golf Shop, and creating outstanding service experiences for our Members and Guests.

Trevor brings a wealth of experience to the Outside Operations, and we are very excited about his new role at the Club! Make sure to say hello and congratulations during your next round at Spring Run.

Mike

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Rangers – By Jeff Carter, Head Golf Professional

The Ranger serves a very important purpose throughout your round of golf, even though it may not always seem so. To that end, I would like to give you an explanation of their duties, discuss Pace of Play, and provide a little insight into why they do what they do.

The pace a round of golf at Spring Run Golf Club has been established at Four Hours and Seventeen minutes (4:17) by the Florida State Golf Association rating team.  The Florida State Golf Association rates the difficulty of the hole, the driving distance from the green to the next tee, and time it takes to make the turn, eat some food, and use the facilities.  Each hole has an established time for a foursome to complete the hole.  For instance, on hole #4: when the flagstick is located on the back left, it will take longer to play than if the flagstick is located on the front right.  That is why you may see more than two groups on that hole: it is due to the tough pin position.

Back in 2014, the average round of golf was four hours and forty-five minutes (4:45). The average round this year so far has been (4:17).

Duties

When the Ranger arrives at the club in the morning, their first duty is to get their cart out of the cart barn, pick up the tee sheet, and see if any cart restrictions are in place.  Each Ranger cart is supplied with extra tees, pencils, scorecards, towels, green repair tools, and a first aid kit.  Every Ranger has been certified in CPR as well.

They proceed out on the course to make sure the restrooms on the course are well supplied and clean. If trash is overflowing, they will empty it. They provide a light cleaning until our Day Porter, Josefina, makes it out to the comfort stations for a more thorough cleaning.

Once they have completed their rounds, it is time to monitor the Golf Course.  The Ranger’s cart has the GPS screen that shows the location and pace of each group.  If a group starts to slow 5 minutes behind schedule, they will immediately go to that group and ask the group to speed up and get back on schedule.  Just this year alone, Rangers have moved over 15 groups to get in position.  They have full authority to move groups on non-league days, though only Scott or myself will move groups on league days due to the penalty shots.  We will not move a group until after the groups receives the first warning; however, if they are still behind after the warning, we will move the group where they should be located on the course.

What are they doing there?

Normally when you see the Ranger sitting in his cart between the fifth and seventh hole, they are monitoring groups that have been behind pace, and informing the members behind the slow foursome that the pace will be improving.  From this location, they can monitor the three holes around them.

Where are they?

Some complain that pace is slow because they haven’t seen a Ranger all day.  With the GPS monitor, they can see your group. If your group is on pace, they will go to other parts of the course where they are needed to speed up play.  The Golf Shop is monitoring three GPS screens as well, observing pace of play. They will inform a Ranger where to go to expedite play.

The Rangers are often bringing members out on the course who were late, or bringing members off the course if they are not feeling well. Sometimes there is an emergency at home.  They are locating lost clubs and bringing them to the player who lost it.  They also direct play on shotguns as to how get to a certain hole on the course.

I will be having training sessions with the Rangers on how to talk to the members on the course. We want to be better able to communicate to you so that all our members can enjoy their round. If you read my monthly article in the News on the Run, you may recall I always sign with “Play Well and Play Fast.”

Certainly, you will experience slow days out on the course, but just remember that we are constantly striving to help improve the pace of play, communicate more effectively, and ensure that you enjoy your round.

Play Well and Play Fast

Jeff

Here’s what happens to bunkers after heavy rains

Dear Spring Run Member,

I thought I would share the results of the “test” from Friday’s (August 25) heavy rainfall. Over the past two weeks, we have installed a material along the face of the rear greenside bunker on #12 and the Fairway bunker to the right on #18. Here is visual proof that it worked.

The image below is one of the bunkers in front of #12 green, with erosion of sand down into the bottom of the trap that is now full of water

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The image below, featuring its new bunker material, was unfazed by the rain event.

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The image below is the fairway bunker on #18 . While a couple areas along the face show small patches of erosion, the vast majority of the hazard remained intact. Normally, this would be in the worst condition on the golf course.  Now it is one of the best.

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The plan is to begin a program of installing Bunker Solutions material to the face of all the greenside bunkers, and likely all fairway bunkers as well, depending on the cost, priority, available labor, time of year, and Board approval. The beauty of this system is that it can be installed by our own crews, as opposed to specially trained installers for the other products. And the best part….it’s considerably less expensive than any of the previous options!

The attached photos were just taken this morning after 3 ½ inches of rain here at Spring Run. This was a very good test of the Bunker Solutions System that we have installed in 2 traps already. The photos show you what the bunker on hole 18 looks like compared to the green side bunker on 18 which is much less severe a slope as the right side fairway bunker with the new system installed. These are pictures Vince Corso took to show the effect of erosion on bunkers and soft paths following these rain events.

The images shows the amount of water in the cart path just before the hole 17 tee box. It is 6” deep and flowing.

The images below are of the fairway bunker on hole 18 which has the Bunker Solutions System installed in it. The images show the only washout in that bunker. You can see that the Bunker Solutions material is intact and retains sand. NO CONTAMINATION occurred!

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The image below shows how far the water in the pond next to the 18th hole is out of its banks.

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The images below show the damage to the bunker on hole 18 which is relatively flat as compared to the fairway bunker.

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The images below show the right side fairway bunker on hole 10. That bunker along with the greenside bunker on hole 18 and I’m sure many others on the course are contaminated as well as washed down and will require a lot of manhours of work to rake the sand back up; but also will require a lot of new sand to cover up the contaminated sand.

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It looks like a beach with all those shells!

Dear Spring Run Member,

Over the past month, several pieces of shell and rock found in bunkers has been spotted, pocketed, and subsequently placed on the GM’s desk. The rumor is that we are buying different sand, and that these pieces are being delivered in our sand purchases. Another rumor is that the sand has changed color from a lighter to a yellow shade. I’ve been told that someone said “They’re mixing old coquina with new sand!” Please note, that’s simply not the case.

For now, I’ll dispense with the science, except to tell you we have “G-Angle” sand in our bunkers. It’s what John Sanford spec-ed in 2014, and it’s what we have consistently purchased from Golf Agronomics ever since. Golf course-quality sand from area mines in Immokolee and Moore Haven is dredged, sifted, and prepared for Golf Ag, who crushes the silica sand into angular particles that interlock to produce firmer lies and better drainage.

I have been told that if a rock or shell ever made it to a bunker from a delivery, the only possible conclusion would be that a) an inexperienced loader dug too deep, or that b) a subcontractor didn’t wash out his bed sufficiently and left foreign material behind. While we don’t discount these possibilities, the most likely cause is from our existing soil profiles. Entire high bunker faces wash down 10-15 times a summer, exposing the base soil at the top. Lime rocks in the soil come loose and wash down into the bunkers, or are dragged to the surface with the Sand Pro rakes. Last couple summers have brought torrential rains, contaminating each bunker with more shell, rock, and organic matter. Eventually, as you may know from physics, the finer particles sink to the bottom, and the larger ones rise and remain at the surface.

And regarding the color, it is NOT coquina. Bunker sand laying out in nature will eventually turn darker, and unless you are refilling your bunkers with fresh white sand every year or two, dirt and organic material will discolor it.

Soooo….what is to be done about it?

This is a two-fold problem. The short answer is that we need to add more sand to the bunkers. We’ve added sand to the heavily used bunkers, but other than that, nothing much since renovation. The longer term solution for the rocks and shells is a bunker liner.

Gregg has cost estimates for sand, and the Greens Committee will be looking at where we might want to consider installing liners. There is quite an expense, as in everything golf course related, and we don’t want to line every bunker. Once we are able to do some analysis on this, we will share more of our plans with you.  You can help, though, when raking the trap when you land in the sand. Please pull (or push) the sand to the center to make sure that there is sufficient depth in the middle of the trap. Most people pull the sand to the edges, making the center more shallow. Ideally, we would like to have at least 6” of sand in each trap, but through daily raking, dragging, and erosion over 2 years, some areas have a lot and others have none! It’s a daily process.

If you have questions or comments, please reply!

Thank you,

Mike 

Update on the rock wall construction

Dear Spring Run Member,

Just an update on the rock wall construction: Due to some mechanical problems the contractors have encountered, the material for the walls has not yet been delivered. They plan to make sure it is here so they can start on Tuesday May 31. They have apologized for the delays and said they will still finish the walls on time, even if they have to put another rock setting crew in Spring Run to finish quicker. We will still start on #4 and then will work on #14.

Thank you.

Mike

Golf Course Comments

Dear Spring Run Member,

In the last Quick Survey responses that are sent out three time per year to 1/3 of the membership each time, we received some comments that were expected given the course conditions over the past couple months. I will address a number of various concerns over several blogs, but wanted to start off with this one. These are all anonymous FYI.

“The fairways and roughs are cut way to short. There are bare spots all over the course. There many areas that you can’t use your short irons because there is no grass. The course over the summer was in great shape. What happen to the course? It’s not due to the amount of play. People have told me the course in being neglected because of budgetary reasons. I can’t believe that after spending $3.1m+. Why is the course being neglected . This is our #1 asset. I will be embarrassed at the member/guest on the 20th. If the condition of the course is not improved. I am speaking for myself and many of our golfers. This needs to be addressed ASAP.”

The comments in this survey response are understandable. The current situation is counter-intuitive. “The golf course was in great shape over the summer. What happened to the course???”  I’ve heard it often, and I felt this would be a good forum to give the explanation to a larger audience.

First, the golf course was in great shape before renovation. Regardless of its irrigation, drainage, and turf issues, it had a very thick protective organic layer built up between the roots and the grass shoot.  It was green and lush. Then we killed it off and dug it up, dispersing the organic layer throughout the course. Remember that this course was built years ago on top of a very sandy soil. It will not hold nutrients in the plants until it builds up an organic layer. So, fast forward to the summer: we had a brand new course with no organic layer, but it had sun, heat, and rain. Not too much rain, but some rain.  Enough to help it grow. Simply add some fertilizer, and BAM! It grew green and lush. The summer and fall were filled with positive compliments on its condition, and frankly, I thought we were out of the woods. But, along came a very rainy fall. So much rain that it washed away any nutrients in the soil, along with any fertilizer that had been applied. The grass looked good and the late fall temperatures were actually quite nice, but the course was starving. By the time we got to December, it was weaker than it normally would have been. It had no protection and not enough nutrition remained in the plants. It wasn’t being neglected. But it had been set back enough that it took longer to recover.

Then the worst thing possible happens. In January, it gets cold, and the course stops growing. And there are wild storms and inconsistent weather patterns that produce lots of cloudy, cool, wet days. Fertilizer that is applied keeps washing away. But the maintenance and cultivation of the course continues on regardless of temperature. We didn’t have to mow for 14 days straight! We heaped on lots of fertilizer….significantly more than budgeted. And once the sun came out and the temperatures increased, the course has flourished.

Height of Cut: We began raising the fairway heights in November, and we are now up to a ¼”. But cart traffic compounds the illusion that we are mowing too closely. The reality is the young turf is not able to withstand all the cart traffic.  Just look at the areas we have roped off. They look great!

Fertilizer/Pest Program: in January,  we began applying a special blend of fertilizer, combined with crushed shellfish, to combat nematodes populations in locations that have a history of nematode activity.   In addition, we are using an organic fertilizer to encourage microbial activity in the soil and provide a longer lasting food source for the turf.  All signs point to a fully recovered golf course shortly.

Third Party Professional comments from an independent turf grass professional…. who reminded me that “the most important thing to convey to your members is that this not confined to Spring Run. This is widespread throughout Florida” and “Overall there is great coverage on the greens. Much better than at many courses I have seen. They are rolling very true.” He went on to say “I would put your greens up against any other course in the area. I truly cannot say anything bad about them.”

Mike

 

Ground Under Repair

Dear Spring Run Member,

With several areas of turf being roped off recently, some are uncertain as to how to play the ball if they land in it, or next to some rope.

Ground Under Repair (GUR) will be defined by either:

  1. Complete circle of white paint
  2. Completely roped area, or
  3. Combination of the two

Some areas are partially roped, and then connected with white paint to surround an area. Either way, it is Ground Under Repair.

NOTE: Maintenance has painted white dashed lines running lengthwise along some fairways. This is for the equipment operators to show them where they should move the line of cut to, NOT GUR

The Rules of golf allow you to play the ball as it lies within the boundary of Ground Under Repair, but it is recommended to take relief as described by the diagram below.

Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you.

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