End of Season Survey Questions and Answers: Golf Operations

Dear Spring Run Members,

The Golf Operations would like to thank everyone that participated in this year’s survey.  Our goal is to answer your questions and provide feedback on various topics of the survey.  We also want you to know that we are striving daily to provide you with the best overall golfing experience at the Club. Thank you very much for your support of Golf Operations. We value your participation in the survey and please contact me anytime with your comments at golfpro@springrun.com  Looking forward to the upcoming season!!

Jeff Carter

Head Golf Professional

Q: Do not understand why there are special groups of men get to have weekly blocked times??

A: The Golf Shop does not block weekly times for any special groups. All members have equal access to tee times via the Chelsea Tee Time Reservation system. The system is a points-based system meaning the more points you have relative to the other members, the less likely you are to receive your ideal time. The only tee times that “reserved” are for leagues or any club events.

Q: Have rangers understand better when play needs to speed up and when not to tell a group to speed up when they are stymied by a group right in front.

A: All rangers undergo training on how to properly deal with on-course pace issues. The Professional Staff are always working, training, and assisting with rangers to ensure proper pace of play is followed on the course.

Q: Maybe you should change your reservation System so we could reserve on line instead of having to call the golf shop when the tee times appear online. It would be more efficient and less time-consuming.

A: The Golf Shop continuously looks for ways to improve the member experience when reserving a tee time, and your feedback will be taken into consideration. This comment will be forwarded to Chelsea Tee Time System.

Q: Improve the invoice time between Golf Guys and Spring Run

A: We apologize for any delays; with the Golf Guys being a third party, it can be a challenge to control the invoice timing.   The Professional Staff will continue to work diligently at improving the member shopping experience between The Golf Guys and Spring Run which will include timeliness.

Q: As a single person, I did not feel safe sharing a cart with another random club member. I felt I had to choose between my health and safety and playing golf. I think the club should have allowed the option of single cart use for those without a spouse/partner. As a result of my reluctance to share a cart, I only played golf 3-4 times this season. Not enjoyable. I would have paid extra for the option of single cart use.

A: We understand your concern. The club has 80 carts in the fleet and member demand for tee times could not accommodate this season for single riders.

Q: In order to increase revenue, it may not be possible, I would consider a way to allow at least some play on Wednesdays since Spring Run is loved by Reciprocals. Possible Options:

– Only Close Every other Wednesday

– Have Tee Times Until 10 Only and Front 9 would then be available to work on sometime after Noon.

– Have an 8:00 AM Shotgun and, again, the course would be available for work sometime after Noon.

There are probably good reasons the Course has to be Closed every Wednesday, but being the Financial Person I am, I am always looking for ways to get a few more Dollars in Revenue.

A: Thank you for your feedback. The course is closed every Wednesday to allow for a full day of maintenance in the off season to prevent any negative on-course conditions.

Q: We think there is too many events that take away tee times.

A: The golf staff along with the board create a calendar of events that balances out regular member play and special events that take place. We will take your input into further consideration.

Q: Rangers need to be eliminated or given instructions as to what their duties are. I would hear comments from rangers saying, things will clear up after hole 4. The ranger would be on hole 3 going to 2. I am of the opinion he should be at 4 attempting to speed things up. Also, they will say its’s really slow today. Never saw a ranger attempting to speed things up all season.

A: We appreciate your feedback and these comments will motivate us to improve the experience with our rangers and how they manage pace of play. We are looking to improve ranger training so that all rangers have clear expectations of how to mitigate any pace of play issues.

Q: I have not played golf this year.

A: If you have not played for any specific reasons, please contact a member of the golf staff to share any thoughts or concerns.

Q: Our staff is very courteous, helpful and professional without being stuffy. My wife deals with Kelsey through the nine-hole Ladies and she is a pleasure to work with and a great addition to the staff. Nothing but good praise for our golf staff.

A: We enjoy hearing such kind words! Thank you and we will continue making your experience and exceptional one here at Spring Run. They’re the best!!!!!

Q: I think the tees that women use for the golf league should be based on handicap at the start of the season rather than randomly picking what is used. An unfair advantage is given to good golfers who choose the 6-tee box.

A: Thank you for your feedback. The SRWGA bylaws states that members get to choose their tees for league play.

Q: Front-9 should be the Back-9 and v-v

A: Thank you for the feedback and we will take this concern to the golf committee.

Q: Favorites get early tee times same people. Same winners often.

A: For open play, all members have the same access to request a tee time through the Chelsea Tee Time system 3-7 days in advance. Chelsea will place members in tee times based on their points relative to other members. For league play, tee times are based off of either handicap or randomized by Golf Genius. The Golf Professional staff along with the handicap committee work diligently to ensure the integrity of all leagues at Spring Run. 

Q: Having been at another golf course other than Spring Run for 19 years, you FAR Exceed the other club, events, friendliness, helpfulness, golf shop items. My husband & I have found out final place in SR.

A: We are so excited to hear this! We value our members and want them to have the best experience possible. Thank you for the kind words.

Q: For me the tee times were fine; however, I have an issue with allowing PGA Pass People to take blocks of prime tee times from our members. This is a private club. Yes, I realize these Passes bring in some revenue but those prices could be higher, to benefit us if our block of tee times are taken out of service. PGA Pass people love our course no matter what condition it is in. I do not think the Pass people should be allowed to bring in their own coolers. Some did.

A: Thank you for your constructive feedback. By putting in requests through Chelsea 3-7 days in advance, the Spring Run membership will always have first access to tee times. PGA Pass players are allotted the leftover tee times that are not initially taken by the membership. With our course being in such good condition, Spring Run is a very desirable place to play in the summertime. We will continue to look at pricing and will make any adjustments deemed necessary. The policy of the club is that no outside players are permitted to bring coolers on to the golf course. We apologize if any coolers have been seen on the course and we will reinforce this rule with all of the staff members to ensure this does not happen moving forward.

Q: PGA players during Nov. & December make Spring RUN A SEMI-PUBLIC golf course. False advertising to prospective buyers to say we are a private club.

A: Spring Run is a private club that does allow limited access to a select population of non-members. The staff at Spring Run will always do our best to describe the golf course accurately. In the high-season, we only allow play from members and their guests. During the slower season, we do allow for reciprocal and PGA Pass play, along for hosting outing events.

Q: The golf staff has grown together very well under Jeff’s leadership! They are a well-trained team with many special and unique traits. It has been a pleasure to see Kelsey grow into her role at SR. Scott is so patient with questions and continues to make Golf Genius work for us. Patti and Susie do a great job with merchandising and ordering. Always lessons available from the team. Particularly enjoyed the Pop-up events. Should be more and better attended. A big plus for the club. Thanks, Jeff, for a great year despite adverse conditions. I am very happy with the condition of the golf course! I don’t remember a season in 21 years that the fairways have been any better. A little damage to the greens but so what. Enjoyable season all around!

A: We appreciate the kind words! The staff is always looking for new, innovative ways to create a memorable experience for our members at Spring Run. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Q: We need to train the younger bag boys to be more thorough. Several times our club covers were NOT put back on. Luckily, we found them in the lost and found. The older men are very good.

A: We apologize for any inconveniences you have experienced regarding outside services, and please know that we find this to be unacceptable. We will put our best foot forward to ensure that with proper training, this does not happen again. We look forward to giving you a pleasurable golf experience moving forward.

Q: Why can’t the 18-hole ladies’ league have 9:00 shotguns??

A: Due to daylight issues in the high season, the 8:00 am shotguns allow for a second shotgun at 1:00 pm, ensuring all players have adequate access to sunlight.

Q: How about a 9-hole couples event Sunday pm?

A: The Professional Staff is always looking for new, creative ideas. For all events, not only golf is involved but food & beverage is as well.  Thank you for the idea and we will take it into consideration moving forward.

Q: I feel the rangers are a waste of money.

A: We appreciate this honest response. We will do our very best to lead the rangers so they can exceed all expectations in the future. Not only are rangers responsible for preventing and handling any pace of play issues, but they also are player assistants when a club is lost or a player needs a ride in. Rangers are also responsible for stocking the on-course restrooms with cups, straws and lids, and are usually the first to notify the golf shop when a restroom needs assistance.

Q: Stay longer than 5 pm. Why do we have a “blackout” and are unable to look at golf things, scores etc. in the late afternoon? Why can’t this be done later in the evening?

A: The Chelsea Tee Time system turns “off” every day between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. for tee sheet placement. During this time, members can call the Golf Shop if they would like to put a request in or book a tee time. Our scoring program, GHIN, does not turn off and you are able to access it at all times of the day. Chelsea must be turned off during golf shop operating hours. This allows the professional staff to ensure a correct tee sheet and input any league play or general tournaments into the tee sheet.

Q: Slow play needs to be addressed!

A: The Golf Shop will continue to do our best at educating the membership on how to improve pace of play. We do our best to send out e-mail communications to members, and will continuously educate staff and golfers on the importance of keeping up with the pace of play.

Q: Golf staff – Name tags with bigger lettering, would be appreciated.

A: This valuable feedback will be taken into consideration. Thank you!

Q: Thank you, Kelsey, for trying to accommodate personal preferences when it came to scheduling either earlier or later times for league play. Greatly appreciated. Staff did an outstanding job.

A: We are always striving to make our membership happy, and we are glad that we were able to do that. We will continue to put our best foot forward in accommodating our members!

Q: With the Chelsea system for tee times it seems you get punished for playing often.

A: The Chelsea Tee Time system is a points-based system and is designed for equity purposes so that those who have not played golf, get an opportunity to play. We do offer the ability to play golf without receiving a Chelsea point. By booking a tee time on the day of or 1-2 days in advance, you will not receive a Chelsea point. Thank you

Q: All new members should have spent time with one of the pros and learn local rules, golf etiquette, golf operations (booking tee times, etc.), and meet the whole golf team including the head Professional.

A: Most new members are given an introduction to the golf operation and rules of Spring Run. The staff is always available to assist members, and if a golf professional is not available at that moment, we will happily schedule a time to meet. We will take your advice into further consideration as we move forward and strive to empower all Spring Run members with the information they need.

Q: The new personnel should wear name tags.

A: It is protocol at Spring Run that each staff member wears a name tag, and we apologize if that has not been the case. We will make sure to enforce this standard moving forward. 

Q: Kudos to all in this year of the pandemic. All went above and beyond to make golf a safe and fun way to live thru this time, we were thankful to be here and live in a beautiful area to walk, walk and play golf, ride and play golf with cart dividers and then without. None of this would have happened without the wonderful staff. We were far better off than any of our other friends no matter what community they lived in in Bonita Bay, Bentley @VI, Pelican Sound

A: We value your kind words, that is what keeps us motivated to give our best every day to the Spring Run community! The staff wants all members to feel proud to be at Spring Run, and we will continue to strive for excellence.

Q: Kelsey had done a great job in her new position. We took lessons from her – excellent instructor. She is customer service oriented and was very helpful with the Ladie-9 events. Outside Services guys are super – Trevor, Brian, Pete and Al are so helpful. They work so hard. I hope they all return next year.

A: We thank you for your kind words, they mean so much to all of us. Each one of us hopes to continue providing you with an excellent experience here at Spring Run!

Q: Why do we need rangers? You have GPs in house and can see and correct any problems. With 5 of 6 people in the pro shop, why should the phone usually go to voice mail?

A: Rangers have a multitude of responsibilities. Not only do they act to prevent and mitigate any pace of play issues, they also assist golfers with lost clubs and bringing players to and from the course when needed. Rangers also drive the course to spot any potential hazards/issues, and also are responsible for stocking the on-course restrooms with cups, towels and lids. The Golf Shop does have access to GPS; however, many on-course issues that arise are able to tended to in a timelier manner with the use of rangers.

The phone should only automatically go to voicemail during non-operating hours, from 5 pm to 7 am the next day. The golf staff always does our best to make sure every phone call is answered. There are only two phones at the golf shop counter, and in the rare case that they are both are in-use, we ask that you please stay on hold or hang up and call again.

Q: PGA play has really torn up our course, they don’t take care of our course the same way as members do. I would appreciate their play ending prior to our season beginning end of October. I would rather pay more in fees and not have them at our club at all particularly now with course in the condition that it is in presently.

A: All outside players, including PGA Pass play, are given a speech from the starter regarding “care for the course” and pace of play information.  If proper care of the course is not being done by non-members, they will no longer have golfing privileges at Spring Run.   We understand your concern and value your feedback.

Vents for Greens Drainage

Dear Spring Run Members,

Everyone is aware we have had issues with some of our greens this past year. We have been working diligently to ascertain the reasons as to why theses areas are not performing as well as the rest of the greens. Through our investigation and discovery, we found several issues. One was nematodes and disease which we remedied very quickly with some chemical applications. While we saw some improvement in the areas these areas continued to struggle. Through our continued investigation we discovered that the topography around some of the greens was causing collection areas on the greens. These collection areas are not allowing water to properly drain off the greens. These thin and struggling areas are right where water seems to be collecting and are drowning the turf. With this new knowledge we have implemented several remedies to help correct the problem. One remedy we have implemented is constant aerifications to these areas. The aerifications will not be big holes not will they impede playability. By aerifying these areas, it will allow these areas to dry out and remain drier more consistently. When these remain wet for so long it not only drowns the roots but it can also cause excessive harmful gas build ups in the soil. When we try to fix the areas by plugging and re-sodding, the gasses in the soil prevent the new plugs and sod from rooting and the turf eventually stresses out again and dies. Along with the aerifications we will be correcting the topography issues so that water drains properly around the greens. We will also be installing these vents in the drains on the fall out on some of the greens.

These vents are designed to give the gasses in the soils another route to escape from the ground so they do not build up in the soil. This will also help us when we plug the back pack blowers into the flush outs on the greens as we will be installing a slide valve in front of the vent that we can close when the back pack blowers are pushing air through the drain lines.

This will allow us to push more oxygen up and through the soil and hopefully aid in the gas exchange and get the gasses out of the soil. With all of these remedies we are confident that we will see a much healthier and improved putting surface for next season and many seasons to come. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing everyone next season.

Sincerely,

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Superintendent

Missing Spray Rig Nozzle

Dear Spring Run Members,

As you are playing golf you may notice the streak of brown grass on #14 green. This was a result of a nozzle that fell off the spray rig as we were applying our weekly foliar fertilizers. When a nozzle falls off like this, the hose where the chemical comes out has a much larger hole. This allows for a lot more spray to flow out than desired, and in a much more concentrated stream. Because the amount of chemical applied is at a much higher and more concentrated amount it can cause a burn to the grass like you see in the picture. This was caught and fixed immediately, and the affected area was flooded with water several times to try and minimize the damage.

 While the grass did turn brown, the chemical should not kill the grass and this brown streak should heal up quickly over the next week or so. Thank you for all your continued support and we hope everyone is having a great summer.

Sincerely,

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Superintendent

Golf Etiquette

One of the most complex and unique things about the Game of Golf is “Golf Etiquette”.  While etiquette is typically learned on the course, please read through this Blog to help you better understand the proper etiquette on the course.  I will show bulletin points on Playing, Course, and Pace of Play etiquette in this Blog.

Playing Etiquette

  • Showing up for your tee time at least fifteen minutes prior
  • Practice putting. Please do not use more than 2 balls – Putting green real estate can be used by more members.  Try not using 10 balls to practice
  • Looking more than three minutes for a lost ball.  Come to peace with the balls disappearance and move on
  • When a playing partner is swinging or putting, try to stand out of his or her line of vision
  • Please do not stand behind someone while they are putting or hitting a golf shot
  • Not walking in a player’s line on the putting green
  • Be aware of your shadow on the putting green.  Please do not stand in a place that causes your shadow to be cast across another player or that player’s putting line
  • Silence is golden.  As a courtesy, do not move or make any noise when a fellow player hits a golf shot
  • Keep the cell phone on silent and please do not answer or make calls on the course
  • Mark down the scores on the next tee and not on the hole being played

Course Etiquette

  • Filling Divots on the course with sand provided on carts and par 3 tee boxes
  • Repair your ball mark and one other on the green
  • Rake bunkers after use and knock off your shoes before walking on the green
  • Place the sand rakes outside of the bunkers
  • Avoid wet areas and follow directional signs or ropes.  Please step over ropes instead of stepping on the ropes
  • Picking up broken tees which will help prevent damage to costly mower reels
  • Keeping all four wheels on the cart path near tees and greens
  • When entering the fairway, use different paths not to make ruts on the course

Pace of Play Etiquette

  • Maintain a good pace
  • Keep the round moving by being prepared to hit your shot when it is your turn
  • The player that is away hits first in a group.  However, in friendly games, this rule can be ignored in favor of ready golf.  Players hit when they are ready
  • Always try to keep the pace with the group ahead of you
  • Hit and Sit
  • When two players in a cart hit to opposite sides of a hole, drive your cart to the first ball and drop the player off with a few clubs, then drive to the second ball.  After both players hit, meet up further down the hole.
  • Cart path only- use the sand bottles to fill your divot and carry more than one club to your ball instead of going back to the cart for another club.  This takes more time that necessary
  • Always leave the putting green as soon as your group has finished putting

There are numerous bits of Etiquette I haven’t mentioned, like lying the flagstick on the ground carefully, tamping down spike marks when you are walking off the green, and so on.  Following these few tips will allow better playing conditions for the entire membership.  Just know that golf has a way of returning favors, and every piece of etiquette you practice will be repaid.

Thank you,

Jeff Carter, Head Golf Pro

Explanation of chemical applications to be used during re-grassing project

Dear Spring Run Members,

It has been brought to my attention that there are some questions and concerns about the spray applications that will be applied next year prior to re-grassing. I would like to take this opportunity to educate and inform everyone about the products being used and all the precautions that we will take to ensure the safety of all our members, their guests and the environment.

Before I had this posted, I made several calls to fellow superintendents who are either doing renovations this year, or who have done renovations in recent years, to find out what they used for their applications. I contacted Heritage Palms, Palmira, Bonita Bay, and Kensington, as well as talked to several vendors to ask if anyone they knew had substituted something else for round up. Every single one of the people I spoke to all said they used Roundup. The reason is that it is the only thing on the market that will give the most effective and proper kill on the grass. There is no substitute for it. If you remove Roundup from the spray, nothing can replace it, and the effectiveness of the kill will be compromised. As we stated in the Board Meetings, the most important aspect of this project is the kill of the current grasses. If we can’t get a good kill then there is no reason to even do the project. We will because we will be right back in this current situation in a few years and we will have wasted $500,000. Because Roundup is not the only chemical in the applications, we will be using a lower, but still effective, rate of in conjunction with two other products: Trichlopyr and Turflon Ester, along with some ammonium sulfate, and an additive to help the chemical stick to, and be absorbed by, the plant.  

I understand the concerns about Roundup, considering all the news that has been written about it in recent years. A couple facts to keep in mind though, is that it would take years of direct exposure to Roundup to have any harmful effects on anyone in the community. We will just be doing four sprays to the course and it will be completely closed on those days so no one except myself or my assistant will be around the chemicals. No members or guests will be allowed on or anywhere around the golf course.  Once the chemical is dry, it is in the plant and doing what it is supposed to be doing. The morning after the spray, we will run an irrigation cycle on the turf to wash off any residue that might be left. This will ensure that no one will come in contact with chemical applied the previous day. There has also been some concern raised about waterways and the chemicals getting into waterways. We are not going all the way down to the ponds when we re-grass. We will stay about 18″ to 2 feet away from the edges of the ponds, so there is little to no risk of us contaminating any water sources around the property. To ensure that our water is safe from chemical contamination, we will spray down to about 3-4 feet from the pond edge. The remaining 1-2 feet will be hand sprayed to control the application and apply it only to where it is intended. We will also watch the weather closely and make sure not to spray if rain is expected to negate the risk of run off. Leaching is not a big concern since the chemicals being applied are sprayed at low enough rates that the soil will be able to break it down and prevent it from getting to any subsurface water sources.

I can assure everyone in Spring Run that we will take all precautions to make sure that no member or guest comes in contact with the chemical. I hope this answers any questions, but if not, please don’t hesitate to email me or talk to your greens committee representatives. I will be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns anyone has. As always thank you for your continued support as we strive to make Spring Run Golf Club the Best Bundled Golf Community in Southwest Florida.

Thanks

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Superintendent

Fertilizer Burn

Dear Spring Run Members,

As you are playing golf the next few days or so you may see some holes out there that are brown or tan in color. This is due to a fertilizer burn on 15 & 16 fairway. We are currently applying our mole cricket prevention application and incorporating some foliar fertilizers to help with the heal up from the winter damage and struggles we have experienced. The fertilizers can sometimes singe or burn the leaf blades on the grass a little if the air temperatures get to warm before the application can dry.

This is what happened on a few holes. We have made the adjustments to the timing of the application to avoid any future burn issues. This fertilizer burn will not kill the grass or set it back. The burn will disappear in a few days or so and everything will be greened up and growing rapidly. As always thank you for your patience and understanding as we strive to make Spring Run Golf Club the best bundled community in southwest Florida.

Sincerely

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Spring Run Golf Club

Superintendent

Course Conditions and Remedies

Dear Spring Run Members,

I am aware of the many comments and concerns about some of the course conditions we are experiencing this season. I want to assure you that no one is more aware of these issues than me, and we are working diligently to resolve them as quickly as possible. I would like to take this opportunity to explain why we have struggled this year more so than in recent years, and tell you what we are doing to remedy it.

This past year was been very trying for everyone for sure. Beginning in March of 2020, we had to change react differently to a changing and uncertain environment. One of the decisions we made was to perform our closure procedures early last April when the course was shut down and we were in the midst of lockdown. We performed extensive maintenance, and decided to forego the 2nd closure in August so we could stay open and bring in more revenue to help the bottom line. This idea initially worked great, and the club did much better than expected financially. The reasoning was based on the idea that we would be able to do various cultural practices and spot aerifications to weak or struggling areas on the course throughout season that would allow us to get by. That did not pan out like we had hoped, because of the extensive cold spells from November through February. Because of this we had to hold off on some practices as the turf would not have healed properly, creating worse conditions. Bermudagrass needs several things to grow vigorously and heal properly: Sunlight, which we definitely don’t lack here in Florida; Water; Fertility, which we have been pumping out as fast as we can; and most importantly, Warm Temperatures. This turf needs a minimum soil temperature (not ambient temperature) of 65 degrees F to grow. The soil takes a lot longer to warm up after it gets cold. If you get a 2-3 day cold spell where the ambient temperatures fall to 55 degrees or less, the soil temperature will also fall, and once the soil temperatures fall below 65 degrees the turf slows or stops growing altogether. The result is slower healing and increased stress. It can take 6-10 days of warmer weather to get the soil temps back to optimal growth conditions. Therefore, a 2-3 day cold spell stop the growth for up to a week and a half. When the turf stops growing, the canopy of the grass becomes tighter and shrinks. This causes the appearance that we are mowing the turf more tightly… and I can assure you we are not! We actually raise the mowing heights during these periods to reduce the stress on the turf and mow less frequently.

Also, it is important to note that some off-type strands of Bermudagrass, like common bermudagrass (of which we have a lot), will tighten up and thin out, leaving the patches you may see out there in some of the fairways. Common Bermuda occurs when our normal 419 hybrid bermuda, which is an initially sterile plant, mutates back to an “of-type” contamination. Unfortunately, the only way to eliminate off-type grasses are to dig them up and replace them with more 419 or Bimini. The areas on the fairways and approaches that look nice and lush are the 419 and Bimini. The thin areas are mostly common bermuda.

The good news is that we appear to finally be breaking the cycle for the year and moving into much warmer conditions for the remainder of the season.  This will allow us to do a number of invasive procedures that will help these struggling areas healed up. Some of the things you will see us doing is something called “knife-tining”.

These are slits in the ground that will help get water and nutrients into the soil faster, as well as loosen up the soil so the turf and its roots can more easily grow. Along with the knife-tining, we will also be doing some localized core aerifications where we will be removing material from the soil and top dressing it to help provide better growing conditions. I am confident that all these efforts will result in marked improvement very soon.

I will be publishing another article that describes some different practices that we have tried and the results that we have seen.

As always, thank you for your patience and support.

Sincerely,

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Spring Run Golf Club Superintendent

Practice Green Status Update

Dear Spring Run Member,

I am happy to inform you that all the cultural practices on the putting greens have been a success. We have seen a dramatic improvement in the overall health of the green. Though we have seen the desired improvements, we are still cautious of excessive traffic and want to take our time reopening it. The current plan is to reopen Monday morning as the chipping green. The reason is that it will not be the same speed as the greens on the course. Until such time as I can get the practice green speeds matched up to those on the course, we will keep green for chipping only. I am hopeful that it will not take long. Then we will switch the greens back to their normal uses and anticipate a great rest of the season. Thank you for all your support and patience as we have worked diligently to resolve this situation.

Thank you for all your Support,

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Superintendent

Proper Care of the Golf Course

by Jeff Carter, Head Golf Professional

There are a few things that every golfer can do on the Golf Course to help maintain the conditions not only for you but the group that is playing behind your group.
If every member could do just these three things on the golf course while playing, the enjoyment and conditions could exceed everyone’s expectations during their round.

Repairing ball marks on the Green
As golfers, a small amount of our time and attention can go a long way in helping to maintain high-quality playing conditions on our course. Repairing ball marks on the putting greens is an easy way to make a positive impact, but the importance of ball mark repair and the proper tools and technique are often misunderstood. Here are five things every golfer should know about repairing ball marks:

  1. The proper technique for ball mark repair is easy and fast.
    Insert the ball mark repair tool behind the ball mark and gently pull the top of the tool toward the center. Continue working around the ball mark, pulling the surrounding turf in toward the center of the indentation. Avoid using a lifting or twisting motion because this can damage turf roots. Once you have finished pulling turf in toward the center, gently tamp the area down with your putter to create a smooth, firm surface.
  2. Unrepaired ball marks cause lasting problems
    Failing to repair a ball mark may seem like a minor oversight, but there are lasting consequences. Unrepaired ball marks can take weeks to heal, during which time they can cause balls to bounce off line. The damage to the putting surface is also an entry point for weeds that can cause serious problems.
  3. Certain putting greens are more vulnerable to ball marks than others.
    Any putting green that typically receives high, lofted approach shots will be more susceptible to ball marks. The putting greens on par-3 holes are a perfect example. If you recognize that a putting green is prone to damage from ball marks, it is important to be mindful of repairing your own ball mark and a few unrepaired ones nearby.
  4. Soft conditions mean more ball marks.
    When putting greens are wet or soft, ball marks will be more of an issue. This is just one of the reasons why our Golf Maintenance staff works hard to promote firm playing conditions with aeration, topdressing and other maintenance practices. If excessive thatch accumulates beneath the putting surface, ball marks and other turf issues will be more problematic.
  5. Almost any pointed tool can be used to successfully repair a ball mark.
    Many different tools have been created to repair ball marks, including single-pronged and fork-shaped tools. Almost any pointed tool, including a golf tee, can be used to effectively repair a ball mark. Using the proper technique is the key to success. Repairing ball marks is one of the easiest ways that golfers can help Golf Maintenance staff deliver high-quality playing conditions. After hitting a great shot onto the putting green, fixing your ball mark and a couple nearby is an excellent way to keep the green looking great!

If you need a Repair tool, please see the starter before your round. If you need further assistance on how to repair a ball mark, please see any member of our Golf Staff.
Below is a diagram on how to properly repair a ball mark on the green, and Kelsey properly repairing a ball mark on the green.

Finished Ball Repair on Green

Raking a Bunker

Our Golf Maintenance staff works hard to provide good bunker playability and presentation, but the maintenance team can only do so much. Once they have completed daily bunker maintenance it’s in our hands as golfers to keep bunkers looking and playing great. Doing a good job raking bunkers is an easy way to maintain good playing conditions for everyone and it’s a great way to demonstrate care for the course.

The ultimate goal of raking a bunker is simple – use whatever rake is provided to produce as smooth of a surface as possible. This includes raking your footprints and whatever disruption was caused by the golf shot. In addition to this basic goal, there are a few other things to keep in mind while raking that can help maintain the bunker and surrounding grass areas:

• Always enter and exit on the low side of a bunker – do not jump down or climb up steep faces, even if it might be a faster. Climbing steep grass faces can cause serious turf damage in an area where it is already hard to grow grass. Walking up and down sand faces can cause the sand to shift and collapse, which creates playability issues and a time-consuming repair job for the maintenance team.

• When raking near the edge of a bunker, do not pull sand out of the bunker into the grass. Sand can accumulate in the grass around bunkers over time, causing the grass to dry out. Raking sand over the bunker edge also makes it difficult to define the edge, which can be problematic from a rule’s perspective.

• As you are exiting the bunker, use your club to knock any sand off the bottom of your shoes. This is especially important following greenside bunker shots. Walking across the green after hitting a bunker shot can leave sandy footprints that cause playability issues for other golfers and may even damage expensive maintenance equipment.

• The final step is replacing your rake in the location preferred by the course. Courses opt to set things up differently, so you should make yourself aware of the desired location before playing. If you’re not sure what to do, place your rake outside the bunker in a location where it is easily accessible by others and not likely to have a negative impact on play. Lastly, knock the sand off your shoes and then go make that par putt!

Below are photos of Kelsey raking the bunker properly.

Filling Divots on the Course

Just as ball marks require a certain technique to correctly fix, divots also require attention to detail for proper repair. So, the next time you hit a take a divot please keep the following in mind:

When using sand provided on the cart or on buckets that are placed on all par 3’s, it is important to avoid over or under filling divots. Under filling a divot will result in a depression that affects golf ball lie. On the other hand, overfilled divots will damage mowing equipment and create poor playing conditions. To properly fill a divot, bend over and directly place sand in each divot, making sure the sand does not spill onto undamaged turf. Add sand until it is even with the base of the adjacent turf. Finally, just as with replacing divots, use your foot to compact and level the sand. This will provide better soil-to-ground contact to enhance the growth of the turf.

Below are pictures of a divot replaced with sand and a divot that has been left untreated. You will be able to see the growth on the sanded divot versus the divot that has not been properly maintain. Also, pictures of Kelsey properly maintaining a divot on the course.

First day divot left untreated and the other filled with sand.
After one week
After 10 days
Fully healed sanded divot

Golf Course Conditions, Efforts & Concerns

Dear Spring Run Members,

I feel it is important at this time to take a moment and let you know the status of the golf course conditions and the efforts underway to address concerns about it. First and foremost, please know that the staff is working hard to determine the reasons for decline in certain areas, especially at the practice facility. The recent cold spells have really knocked the stand of turf back considerably, as Bermuda grass hibernates when the nighttime temperatures average 55 degrees F or less. This has been going on for periods of time at a stretch since mid-December. The grass never has a chance to get back into growth mode before it is forced to shut down again. When the usually hearty turf stops growing, negative effects from other factors begin to show up.

I have complete confidence in Ben Hanshew as our Golf Course Superintendent. I have managed Superintendents for 25 years, and I can tell you that Ben is second to none. He is dedicated, knowledgeable, and proactive. He has the resources he needs to address any issues that come up. He has reached out to vendors and fellow superintendents for assistance with testing and advice. While we have gotten some good suggestions, no one has said that the course is being mismanaged in any way. Everyone agrees that chemical and nutritional measurements are all in line, and we need to try some new procedures that might get to the bottom of it.

Every course deals with mole crickets, nematodes, Pythium, and other fungus and pesky pests intent on destroying the turf for their own benefit. Thankfully, our pest levels are low due to proactive applications to control them. The course isn’t hungry. Ben has implemented a very aggressive fertilization program to feed the turf. And fungus is just something you have to fix when it occurs, due to various weather conditions. I feel confident the appropriate measures are being implemented as best management practices. So while some other undiscovered issue may be at play, we are doing what normally needs to be done to maintain 92 acres of turf to USGA standards.

This past week, Ben has needle-tined the practice green, with nearly immediate positive results. Aerification gets oxygen to the roots, resulting in incredible proof of growth. He sprayed a flushing agent on all the greens, which begins to bind various organic chemicals, including sodium bicarbonate, in advance of a “flush” of the greens, which will eliminate most of the nutrients, but also any potentially hidden damaging elements. We will immediately replenish nutrients following the flush. Please know that we are consulting with others who successfully employ this procedure on a regular basis with very positive results.

Finally, we are locating the “blowout vents” that were installed in each green when they were rebuilt. We will force oxygen through the network of pipes under each green, permeating the roots of the turf and encouraging immediate growth as it migrates to the surface. This is a novel procedure, but one we would like to incorporate on a regular basis.

While we anticipate that these procedures will be effective, I can assure you of what will be…warm weather and a little rain!

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Mike