Maintenance Standards Manual
The Maintenance Standard Manual for the Marquette Golf Club (MGC) provides the guidelines for all maintenance practices associated with the care, conditioning and upkeep of the golf course grounds and playing surfaces. The Golf Course Superintendent develops these standards with the direct input from the Greens Committee. Definition of the overall preferred goals and desired conditions of the golf course are approved by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors are elected to their position by the membership of MGC, thus they represent the membership. Implementation of the standards and practices to achieve these goals will be the responsibility of the Golf Course Superintendent and Assistants, working in coordination with the Greens Committee Chairman. The specifications outlined in this manual are designed to provide the best possible golf course playing conditions as allowed by the current MGC budget and climatic conditions. The golfing season is defined by the time our turf starts to grow in the spring until it stops growing in the fall. (Mid-April thru Mid-November)
This Manual will outline
-Goals and Standards of specific turf areas
-Line of Supervision
This Maintenance Standard Manual is to be used as a guideline by the Greens Committee, Board of Directors, Assistant Superintendents and the Superintendent as a tool to achieve the best annual playing conditions possible with respect to MGC resources. This manual can be updated or reviewed for changes with recommendations from the Greens Committee. Annual review of this plan will take place based on agronomic needs determined by the Superintendent or a change in equipment. Changes will be based on management decisions concerning budget or a change in maintenance philosophy.
Maintenance Standard Objectives
The Maintenance Standard Manual is essentially the business plan for the grounds department of MGC. The objectives contained in this manual will address priorities, expectations and is a documented guideline of maintenance practices. This manual also gives the MGC a base to address suggestions for improvement and to create a measure of performance.
Additionally, the Maintenance Standard Manual should act as a communication tool from the Greens Committee and Superintendent to the membership with the purpose of describing the objectives stated above.
It is our goal to adequately and professionally maintain the Marquette Golf Club to provide an excellent experience for all members, member-guests and daily-fee players. The players of MGC reflect a wide range of golfing handicaps. We will maintain greens, tees, fairways and approaches at a moderate level of difficulty to assure an optimum level of enjoyment for all members. With respect to the variety of player skill levels, amount of play, budget and resources at MGC, high standards of difficult tournament conditions are not achievable on a daily basis nor are they recommend based on long term turf health.
Working within budgetary requirements, it is our goal for MGC to become one of the most enjoyable golfing clubs in the country. We want to be at the forefront of new maintenance technologies and practices while remaining at one with nature and the environment. We feel the MGC is adding to the beauty of the land and we will do everything possible to remain environmentally responsible to protect our local ecosystem for future generations. The Greens Department will continually work to achieve these goals in order to provide a very unique golf experience unequalled by any other club.
The outline described in this section is priority number one, the maintenance of our Greens. The Greens should be the only surface on the golf course with a pure expectation. With good climatic conditions our Greens should play firm and roll true. A smooth ball roll is the goal for our greens at MGC. Changing climatic conditions have a large impact on ‘target green speeds’ thus daily consistency from Green to Green is the goal. Various cultural, mechanical and synthetic practices will be used to achieve these goals. It also must be noted that the membership of MGC needs to help create these smooth rolling conditions by repairing all ball marks and lifting, not dragging, their feet when walking on the greens.
All practices need to be in balance to achieve a high quality-putting surface on the Poa annua/bentgrass greens of the Heritage course and L-93 bentgrass greens of Greywalls.
During the peak golfing season greens will be mowed on a daily basis with the exception of a rain day (mowing during saturated conditions caused increased compaction and scalping). The bench set height of cut (HOC) for our triplex mowers will be 0.125” or 1/8”.
Off-season (early spring & late fall) HOC will be slightly higher at 0.140” for plant health reasons. Greens will also be mowed on an as needed basis, determined by the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent because turf growth is slower at these times of the year.
Mowing after topdressing will be completed using ‘sand reels’ set at the same or slightly higher HOC for about one week or until no significant amount of sand is evident in the mowing baskets. Sand reels are simply an older set of reels used after topdressing as a way of protecting our good mowing reels from the damage sand causes to the bed knives and reel blades.
Vertical mowing is a practice of de-thatching the greens with vertical blades, it also lifts the turf, increases smoothness, repairs imperfections in the putting surface, stimulates new growth and creates channels for topdressing sand to work into, which dilutes the thatch or mat layer.
Vertical mowing will take place several times in the spring and fall in conjunction with topdressing. Vertical mowing during the peak summer turf stress months will be completed only if absolutely needed and if cool climatic conditions allow this practice to be completed. Vertical mowing will also take place after aerifying greens with ¼” mini tines. Vertically mowing these cores will break them up, distribute the sand and soil back into the turf canopy leaving only thatch balls on the surface, which can be blown off and cleaned up with ease.
Brushing the greens with a triplex mounted brushing unit will stand up the grass and allow another mower to come behind and clean-up the surface. Brushing helps reduce the amount of lankiness in the turf creating a more upward growth, which in turn creates a smoother ball roll.
Brushing will be completed the week before a topdressing application is scheduled. Brushing also will take place with a flat drag mat pulled by a cart after a topdressing application has been applied; it is a way of working the sand into the turf canopy.
Topdressing with pure sand is the backbone of any solid greens management program. Topdressing is a practice used to smooth out the putting surface, repair any imperfections and dilute the thatch layer, which accumulates with healthy turf growth. Keeping the thatch layer in check not only provides a smooth ball roll and firm conditions but also helps with pathogenic disease management.
Topdressing is scheduled to take place every third Monday as long as climatic conditions are in our favor. The sand will be applied using a Cushman mounted Turf-co 1530 wide-spin topdresser. The sand will be left on the greens to dry, then a flat cocoa-fiber drag mat pulled by a cart, will be used to work the sand into the turf canopy. Given perfect climatic conditions the whole topdressing process will take 5 hours on the Heritage course and 7 hours on Greywalls, hence the reason the courses will need to be closed till noon on those given days.
Spiking is a shallow aerification process used to break up any surface tension on our greens allowing an increase in air exchange and water/nutrient penetration thus helping alleviate any potential localized dry spots (LDS).
Spiking usually takes place the day of topdressing using either a Cushman mounted spiker unit or triplex mounted spiker heads. The sand from topdressing will fill the spike marks and after the sand is drug in with the flat brush most spike marks will have been eliminated. With the completion of mowing the next day with our sand reels, very little evidence of spiking will be left.
Greens’ rolling is a heavily studied subject and has been proven to increase overall plant health, because you can increase your bench HOC without loosing any green speed. There are many different types of rollers on the market today; currently MGC has a set of triplex mounted vibratory greens rollers. These rollers mount on our Jacobsen triplex mower the same way reels do. When lowered to roll the greens, the lightweight rollers vibrate and provide a smoother putting surface.
Rolling may take the place of mowing and occasionally rolling may be coupled with mowing on the same day. Those days will be determined by the Superintendent based on other variables.
Aerification is a cultural practice that will alter subsurface stoloniferous and rhizomatic ecological zones beneath the putting green to allow for the infiltration of aqueous solutions and the beneficial exchange of gases, primarily oxygen. In other words aerification reduces thatch by physical removal, increases air exchange, allows water and nutrients to enter the root zone easier, and reduces compaction of the soil.
Core Aerification of the greens will take place in the spring and additional aerification of the clean-up pass around the perimeter of the green surface will take place in the fall. We will use a Jacobsen GA-24 aerifier to complete this process. If aerification cannot take place on the scheduled day due to weather or any other factor, it will take place on the next available day. Nine holes will be shut down per day to allow the maintenance staff to perform this duty. Tine size and spacing will be determined by the Superintendent based on the balance of organic-inorganic compound ratio in the turf surface of our greens.
*Additional aerification may need to take place at the discretion of the course Superintendent. These additional applications are a key part of a preventative maintenance program and will be done as necessary.
MGC also owns a Hydro-ject aerifier, which inject high-pressure water into the turf surface with very minimal disruption to playing conditions. The Hydro-ject is not a replacement for core aerification; it is an additional tool that can be used to increase plant health during the peak golf season. Hydro-jecting will be completed at the discretion of the Superintendent throughout the growing season.
A base fertilizer program will be written every fall by the course Superintendent as a means of budgeting for the upcoming season. All actual fertility applications will be applied to the greens based on an optimal needs assessment made by the course Superintendent and his assistants. This assessment will factor in fertility needs of the turfgrass plants, condition of the greens and playability of the greens. Additionally, fertility needs will be monitored and adjusted on a regular basis determined by need, time of year and climatic conditions. A combination of granular and foliar applications will be made during the course of the year.
To maintain healthy turfgrass at 1/8”, chemical applications will need to be made to aid in the survival of the grass. Chemical applications will be based on an Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM).
The MDA defines Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as:
The use of all appropriate and economical strategies to manage pests and their damage to acceptable levels with the least disruption to the environment. Using many different tactics to manage pest problems tends to cause the least disruption to non-target organisms and the surroundings at the application site. Relying only on pesticides for pest control can cause pests to develop resistance to pesticides and may cause outbreaks of other pests. IPM provides the applicator with a diverse pest management program that avoids sole reliance on one technique and its potential shortcomings.
IPM involves monitoring, identifying pests, determining threshold levels, selecting management tactics and evaluating the results.
To solve pest problems, pest mangers must:
*Determine pest management goal(s).
*Detect and identify the pest(s) and determine whether control is warranted.
*Know what management strategies are available.
*Evaluate the benefits and risks of each tactic or combination of tactics.
*Choose a strategy that will be most effective and will cause the least harm to
people, non-target organisms and the environment.
*Use each tactic in the strategy correctly.
*Observe local, state, and federal regulations that apply to the situation.
*Evaluate the strategy and make adjustments as necessary.
*Control a pest only when it is causing or is expected to cause more harm than is
reasonable to accept.
*Use a tactic or combination of tactics that will reduce pest numbers to an
*Cause as little harm as possible to everything except the pest.
*Prevention – keeping a pest from becoming a problem
*Suppression – reducing pest numbers or damage to an acceptable level.
*Eradication – destroying an entire pest population. Eradication is rarely a goal in outdoor pest situations because it is difficult to achieve. Usually the goal is prevention and/or suppression.
Natural and applied techniques are used to manage pests. Proper identification and knowledge of the pest’s life cycle, the pest’s density, and its relationship to the plant’s or animal’s stage of development allow applicators to choose the right tactic or combination of tactics to manage the pest in the most economical and least disruptive manner.
All chemical applications shall be determined by the Superintendent, using pesticides and wetting agents that are approved for use in the State of
Michigan. All administrative records concerning
application and storage shall be kept by the Superintendent in his office. All copies of MSDS sheets are kept in the
Heritage shop maintenance building in a file hanging on the wall by the
chemical storage room. Additional MSDS
copies are also available in the Pro-shop in a red folder behind the
counter. The membership will be notified
of all chemical applications with signs posted on the 1st and 10th
Tee the day of the application.
Chemical applications may take place any day of the week, but will be made when least intrusive to play.
Chemical applications will include but are not limited to:
Wetting agents- used to control soil moisture and alleviate LDS
Contact/Systemic fungicides- used to control fungal pathogens
Herbicides- used to control weeds
Insecticides- used to control insect pests above thresh-hold levels
Turf Growth Regulators (TGR) - used to reduce vertical growth of the turfgrass and increase plant density and wear tolerance.
Chemical applications to the greens will be made in late fall to protect the turf from any potential snow mold damage over the winter months.
The Superintendent, Assistants Superintendents and staff will conduct daily monitoring of pests on a daily basis.
This section of the Maintenance Standard Manual is devoted to maintaining the green approaches. Following the greens, the approaches are the second most important area of turf on the golf course. The practices outlined in this section will give golfers the ability to play a “bump and run” shot so they will be able to run the ball onto the green if they choose to do so.
Approaches and collars will be mowed on Twice weekly during the peak golf season. Additional mowing will take place for special events and tournaments or if the grass is growing very rapidly. Jacobsen, John Deere and Toro triplex mowers will be used to mow approaches with a bench set HOC of 0.400” on Greywalls and 0.450” on the Heritage. Off-season (early spring & late fall) approaches will also be mowed on an as needed basis, determined by the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent because turf growth is slower at these times of the year.
Sand topdressing of the approach directly around the green, will take place when topdressing greens. An additional heavy sand topdressing application of the entire approach will be made in the fall of every year.
Approaches will be aerified once per season. The Superintendent will determine the tine selection and timing of this cultural practice when conditions are favorable and interference with play is minimal.
Fertilization and Chemical Treatment
A base fertilizer program will be written every fall by the course Superintendent as a means of budgeting for the upcoming season. The fertility program for all approaches will consist of a spring granular applications followed by monthly foliar applications applied with a wetting agent, contact fungicide and growth regulator. The Superintendent will determine actual application amounts and frequency based on turf performance and needs.
Chemical applications to the approaches will be made in late fall to protect the turf from any potential snow mold damage over the winter months.
This section of the Maintenance Standard Manual deals with the care of our fairways. Fairways make up the largest area of closely mown turf on both of our golf courses. Improved playability can be achieved with the use of sound maintenance practices.
Fairways will be mowed twice weekly during the peak golf season. Additional mowing will take place for special events and tournaments or if the grass is growing very rapidly. Jacobsen, Toro and John Deere five-plex mowers will be used to mow fairways with a bench set HOC of 0.625” or 5/8”. Off-season (early spring & late fall) fairways will also be mowed on an as needed basis, determined by the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent because turf growth is slower at these times of the year.
Fairways will be aerified once per season using one of three pieces of equipment or a combination of all three.
The first machine that can be used is a Toro Procore which mounts on the three-point hitch of a tractor; it works by impacting the turf surface with an up and down motion moving the tines in and out of the turf and soil. This machine has limited use on the Greywalls course because of our geology (granite). It is used primarily on the Heritage golf course.
The second machine that can be used is the seed-a-vator aerifier. This machine also mounts on the three-point hitch of a tractor and can be used on the extreme terrain and geology on the Greywalls fairways. This machine does not pull cores it is a solid tine aerifier with limited depth penetration.
The third machine is an old pull behind independent aerifier. This machine will pull cores but has large spacing between holes and again is limited on its ability to penetrate deep into the soil. However, because of the geology on Greywalls this is the only machine that can be used to pull cores, as it does not impact the ground but rolls over the ground giving it the ability to roll over underlying rocks without damaging the tines or the machine.
The Superintendent will determine the tine selection, machine to use and timing of this cultural practice when conditions are favorable.
*Additional aerification may need to take place at the discretion of the course Superintendent. These additional applications are a key part of a preventative maintenance program to alleviate compaction and will be done as necessary.
Fertilization and Chemical Treatment
A base fertilizer program will be written every fall by the course Superintendent as a means of budgeting for the upcoming season. The fertility program for all fairways will consist of granular applications, applied with a pull behind spreader. The Superintendent will determine actual application amounts and frequency based on turf performance and needs.
Chemical applications to the fairways will be very limited due to budgetary restrictions. Chemical applications will be made in late fall to the Greywalls fairways to protect the turf from any potential snow mold damage over the winter months, otherwise only in the case of a major pest outbreak will chemicals be applied to the fairways.
Other Fairway Maintenance
Yardage markers, irrigation heads and valve boxes will be trimmed for visibility and proper operation throughout the golf season on an as needed basis.
This section of the Maintenance Standard Manual deals with the care of our
Tees. The primary function of the teeing surface is
to provide a stable platform for the players of MGC to begin a golf hole. The teeing surface should be of uniform grade
with maintenance and setup completed on a consistent and daily basis.
Tees will be mowed on Tuesdays and
Fridays during the peak golf season.
Additional mowing will take place for special events and tournaments or
if the grass is growing very rapidly.
Jacobsen, John Deere and Toro triplex mowers will be used to mow most
tees with a bench set HOC of 0.400” on the Greywalls course and 0.450” on the
Heritage course. Smaller tees will be
mowed with John Deere walk mowers with a slightly higher bench set HOC. Off-season (early spring & late fall)
tees will also be mowed on an as needed basis, determined by the Superintendent
or Assistant Superintendent because turf growth is slower at these times of the
Aerification and Topdressing
Tee aerification will take place once a year. Aerification will be completed by using a walk behind GA-24 Jacobsen aerifier. The Superintendent will determine tine size and hole spacing based on agronomic needs.
*Additional aerification may take place to improve playability, increase water penetration and relieve compaction.
Heavy sand topdressing of the tees will take place in the fall, if time allows.
Divot repair and
Divots on all par 3 and short par 4 tees will be filled by shovel or hand with a sand/seed/fertilizer mixture and smoothed out using a lawn level on a weekly basis. This will help the tees recover from voids left in the surface from golf shots taken with irons.
A staff member will move tee markers and collect trash on a daily basis during the peak golf season in an effort to spread out wear patterns over the entire teeing surface. Tee markers will be pulled off the tee surface on mowing days and put back on the tees by the tee mower operator after the tee has been cut.
Ball washers will be drained and refilled on a monthly basis but checked regularly.
Fertilization and Chemical Treatment
Once again, a base fertilizer program will be written every fall by the course Superintendent as a means of budgeting for the upcoming season. The fertility program for all tees will consist of granular applications, applied with a push spreader. The Superintendent will determine actual application amounts and frequency based on turf performance and needs.
Granular fungicide applications will be applied to the Greywalls tees as needed during the peak summer months to keep the dollar spot and take-all patch diseases under control on the south-shore bentgrass turf. Previous year disease outbreaks warrant these applications.
Granular or foliar fungicide applications may be applied to the Heritage tees, if and only if a disease outbreak gets above thresh-hold levels.
A chemical applications will be made in late fall to all tees on both courses as a way of protecting the turf from any potential snow mold damage over the winter months.
MGC has three categories of rough that will be outlined in this section; Primary Rough, Surrounds Rough and Native/Natural area rough.
Primary rough makes up the majority rough-grass playing surface, it is the large areas around and between fairways that is maintained regularly at a playable HOC.
Mowing will take place on a weekly or as needed basis throughout the golfing season. Large area rotary mowers (Lastec) will maintain these areas at a HOC of 2-1/4”; recovery shots from these areas are completed with relative ease.
Surrounds Rough is the area of turf directly around all tees, bunkers and greens. These areas have some degree of slope and mounding to them and are maintained regularly at a playable HOC.
Mowing will take place on a weekly or as needed basis throughout the golfing season. The Toro sidewinder rotary mowers are used to mow these areas at a HOC of 2-1/4”. These are specialized rotary mowers are all wheel drive and have independently floating decks to avoid scalping.
Native/Natural area rough is the area of turf that is only mowed on a yearly basis in the fall with rotary mowers at a HOC of 3-4”, mowing of these areas is performed only to keep the grass from laying over, matting up and smothering itself over the winter. A controlled burn is a good way to manage these areas, but MGC is located in
city limits, which does not allow burning.
The turf in these areas is made up of primarily fine fescue and is allowed to grow naturally throughout the year. These areas of rough are designed to define a hole, keep player focus within the boundaries of the hole and are very aesthetically pleasing and add interest to the overall game. Environmental habitat is also created by having these areas on the golf course. This rough also acts as a buffer strip filtering nutrients before they enter surface water. Recovery shots from these areas can be very challenging, but when completed successfully they are very satisfying. Native/Natural areas are only to be entered by foot and no carts or other vehicle traffic are allowed in these areas, as vehicle traffic will destroy the look, feel, playability and integrity of these areas. Having these areas on a golf course reduces labor, saves fuel and as mentioned above gives MGC diverse environmentally friendly ecological areas, which will be inhabited by many birds and other wild species of our area.
Some specific areas of Native/Natural rough areas on Greywalls receive irrigation coverage from green and fairway irrigation heads and tend to grow excessively. These areas will be groomed monthly during the season to keep the grasses in these areas playable. A checklist of all these areas is used to assure the job is finished to completion every time.
Rough aerification will be completed on a limited basis with the need determined by traffic and turf density considerations. The Superintendent; based on agronomic need, will determine tine size, hole spacing and the decision of what machine to use. An over-seeding program will be developed and implemented on an as needed basis.
Fertilization and Chemical Treatment
Budgetary restrictions do not allow for regular fertilization of these areas nor are they regularly needed. Spot fertilizing of the primary and surrounds rough will be implemented to problematic areas when fertilizing fairways and approaches. No fertilizer applications will ever be made to Native/Natural rough areas.
Chemical applications will only be made in the rough to spot treat weeds, if the level of weed growth goes above thresh-hold levels.
Invasive weed and sapling growth in the native/Natural rough areas will be controlled by hand picking and pruning during the season; when the MGC is at maximum staff levels.
Bunkers are hazards and are a vital part of the design and playability of a golf course. Bunkers create interest in the game of golf, which are designed and placed as a means of guiding or directing a golfer: forcing them to play a particular type of shot and avoid them. If a shot is poorly struck it will end up in the bunker and the player will face the penalty of have a more difficult shot to play. Un-like popular belief, bunkers are defined as hazards and shall be played as such, manicured daily conditions and consistency is not the goal. Perfect conditions provide predictable circumstances making bunkers play more like a bail out area than a hazard to avoid.
During the peak golfing season, bunkers will be mechanically raked using a Toro sand-pro when we have staff availability to perform the task; normally 3 times a week. Track raking by hand (smoothing out only the deep imprints left un-raked by golfers) will take place on days the bunkers are not mechanically raked with the sand-pro. Some bunkers are too small for a mechanical rake thus these hazards will be raked by hand.
*These guidelines are subject to change depending on climatic conditions and staff levels.
Bunker rakes will be provided in every bunker for golfers to smooth out their tracks after their shot has been played. This should be done as way of being courteous to the players behind you and is part of proper golf etiquette.
Bunker rakes will be placed inside the bunkers with the handle end laying on the bunker edge creating a gap between the handle and the sand surface. Bunker rakes will also be placed on the low side of the bunker and parallel with direction of the hole; if at all possible. The staff will put the rakes in this position after raking and they should be put back into that position by golfers after they are used. Exiting and entering bunkers should only be done on the low side of the bunker, so the tender bunker edges are not destroyed by foot traffic.
Other Bunker Care
Bunkers will be edged with a lip when conditions warrant doing so, to maintain a clearly defined edge between the hazard and the surrounding turf. Greywalls has a naturally defined edge while the Heritage has a more circular defined bunker edge design.
Pulling out rocks and removing weeds growing in the bunkers will be performed on a weekly basis in conjunction with the basic care and raking.
The Heritage course is in need of a complete bunker overhaul but because of budgetary reasons this major project has yet to be planned. We will maintain these bunkers to the best of our ability until funds are provided for a complete overhaul. It only makes sense to complete this bunker overhaul during the much talked about restoration, because the shape and sizes of these hazards will likely be changed back to the Langford style of design.
Course setup is one of the most talked about and important jobs accomplished by the maintenance crew. Course setup involves the placing of the pin to provide a fair test of golf with a good variety of hole locations. The Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent will extensively train all setup employees for this duty.
Placing of the Pin
We will follow the 6-6-6 rule when cutting cups. Six pins will be located toward the front third of the green, six in the middle third and six in the back third. Pin locations will also vary in their left, center and right position, in a similar fashion.
Specific location of the pin placement will be made at the discretions of the employee completing the course setup task based on condition of the green, moisture level, stressed or diseased turf areas and proximity to old cup plugs.
Pins will be placed no closer than 9 feet from the edge of a green and in a place suitable for putting.
Course setup will take place on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Daily inspection of the cups will take place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and additional changing will take place if heavy wear or damage to the lips of the cup warrant doing so.
Course setup employees will also be in charge of scouting the course for potential problems, replacing broken or missing course equipment and most importantly moving cart traffic ropes and signs as a way of diverting traffic onto different areas of turf.
Practice Area Setup
The driving range tee will be setup on a daily basis by the grounds staff. Setup will be completed by moving the markers as a way to spread out the wear and divot patterns over the entire surface of the tee. We utilize the bump system – bumping the hitting stations one length back everyday until the rear of the tee is reached then they are move back to the front of the teeing surface.
The maintenance staff, on a consistent basis, will fill divots on the range using the same method as mentioned in the tee maintenance section.
Artificial driving range hitting mats will be utilized in the spring of the year and may be used during the season to allow time for proper turf growth and recovery.
The practice greens will receive the same care and maintenance as the greens on the golf course. During the peak golfing season cups will be changed on the putting greens weekly.
The Short game area will be maintained on the same days as the driving range.
Irrigation Maintenance and Practices
The Superintendent will follow the “wettest spot” philosophy of water application, which will result in some brown or dry spots during the peak summer months. It is recommended by the USGA Green Section to water in this fashion and is practiced by all environmentally sensible golf courses. This philosophy of irrigating with only enough water for the wettest spots will provide the best possible playing conditions and help us grow deeply rooted healthy turfgrass; plus it reduces our energy usage, which lowers our electrical bills.
Variety in textures and appearance should be the goal of our playing surface and not a monoculture of green. Unique bounces add an element of excitement to the game and with a perfect very predictable surface you take away that element, thus eliminating the “rub of the Green”. A soft cushy over watered surface creates a one-dimensional aerial game and eliminates the ground game option in shot making, which golf was founded on.
Over watering will create conditions for increased compaction, shallow rooting and disease outbreaks, all of which causes an increase in chemical and mechanical inputs driving up the cost of maintenance and player inconvenience.
A bit of brown turf on the fairways should be expected and desired to not only increase the enjoyment in shot making options but to create points of reference when hitting a shot, plus it keeps maintenance costs and dues down.
All irrigation repairs will be completed as quickly as possible to maintain the system in good operating condition.
Actual Irrigation Application
Actual irrigation amounts are determined on a daily basis by monitoring both golf courses. The Superintendent or Assistant Superintendents will make daily adjustment to specific irrigation areas and individual heads accordingly. Isolated dry areas or areas of LDS on the greens will require constant attention and may even require some hand watering at times of extreme dryness. Proper water management is very critical to the health of the turfgrass and is a very time consuming process.
The Greywalls irrigation system was installed during course construction in 2003 and will be maintained by the maintenance staff for many more years of reliable use.
The Heritage irrigation system was installed in the 1980’s using some piping from the previous system plus the same old inefficient pumps from the 1960’s. Many leaks and yearly failures to the piping, heads and pumps makes this system very unreliable and in need of total replacement. There are no current plans to replace this system any time soon, but some repairs have been made in the last five years including pump/motor rebuilds and a control upgrade. The maintenance staff will do the best it can to adequately water the Heritage course with these worn out and outdated components.
The Greywalls water supply comes from a well located on the 14th hole and is transferred to an irrigation holding pond by the maintenance facility. The Greywalls pump-station is located at the pond edge and supplies the course with water from a wet well inside the building.
The Heritage water supply is from its original source, the Orianna creek retention pond. The water is pumped from the retention pond to the irrigation pond on the golf course through the old original metal pipe-line. The Heritage pump-station is located at the pond edge and supplies the course with water from a wet well inside the building.
This supply proves to be inadequate for two reasons: 1.) The pump at the retention pond and pipe size from that area to the irrigation pond is not large enough to replace the daily amount of water demanded on dry days and 2.) During dry times the creek flow rate drastically declines leaving us a minimal water source. The water supply issue forces the irrigation habits on the Heritage golf course to be very minimal. During dry times water will be conserved for the greens and tees only and moisture conditions on the fairways will become very thirsty. Another concern is the Heritage irrigation pond. Over the last 50 years the bottom of the pond has accumulated a thick layer of organic debris from vegetative growth and is in dire need of dredging. It would be in our best interest to dredge this pond and place a rubber liner on the bottom; this would increase our water holding capacity thus increasing our water storage for irrigation needs.
The beautification committee maintains the landscape beds on the Heritage course and around the clubhouse with some assistance of grounds staff members.
There are no plans to ever have maintained landscape areas on Greywalls. The natural beauty of the course and surrounding landforms is enough.
A non-mowed buffer strip will be maintained on the banks of the irrigation pond between holes number 2 and 3 of the Heritage course. The buffer strip acts as a natural filter reducing the amount of nutrients entering the pond, which causes algae blooms. Algae blooms smell, are unsightly and they clog the irrigation intake pipe, which in-turn cripples the irrigation system. Because of past algae bloom problems, algae treatments are made weekly to the pond by using a product called TLC. TLC is a biological control agent consisting of natural bacteria that out competes the algae for nutrients and in-turn feeds on any dead algae. These treatments have been taking place since 2003, are 100% environmentally safe and are working very well. Occasional physical removal of algae will still take place on an as needed basis.
Marking the Course
The golf course hazard stakes will be repaired and, if needed, painted or replaced each spring. They will be monitored and repaired for the rest of the golf season on an as needed basis.
The Golf Professional and/or Superintendent will complete tournament course marking i.e. ground under repair, prior to any major club tournaments.
Tree management on a golf course is vital. In order to grow quality turf, trees must be managed and not over-planted or misplaced; yet this situation has happened over the course of many years on the Heritage course. A detailed tree plan has been written by the Greens Committee and approved by the Board of Directors to help remedy the situation. The grounds department will thin, prune and manage the MGC tree population according to the adopted plan. This tree management plan will not happen overnight and will take place over many years when time and resources are available to do so.
Managing trees the proper way will increasing airflow, decreasing shading and it reduces root infiltration; all of which are essential for proper turfgrass growth and performance.
Tree management for Greywalls will follow the three-D rule of removing any dead, dying or diseased trees. Plus trees will be removed if they are directly affecting turf health and vigor.
Some exploratory work is being done to manage the forested areas on and around Greywalls and between Greywalls and the Heritage course. The thought is to selectively harvest wood from these areas to create a forest of more desirable hardwood and less hazardous softwood trees. The wood harvested from these areas will be sold for profit and the forested areas will become more valuable for possible future harvesting, plus the resulting wooded areas will be much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Equipment Repair and Maintenance
MGC will employ two seasonal Mechanics, their job will be to maintain our fleet of mowers and maintenance equipment in order keep them running and cutting properly. They will be directly supervised by the Superintendent to assure proper repairs are adjustments are made in a timely fashion for all upcoming course duties.
Quality cutting and properly running equipment cannot be over stated. If equipment is not running or not running properly maintenance tasks will be delayed or not completed at all, both of which will affect the playability of the golf course. The quality of cut a mower puts on a grass plant is the first defense against disease and undo turf stress. If a grass plant is mowed with a dull mower it will tear the plant opening it up to disease and stress. The grass plant will then have to use energy to repair the wound rather than growing stronger and thicker.
Just by using sharp mowers one can attain a high quality of turf.
Every fall a detailed equipment inspection will take place and a master list of parts, needed for repair, will be completed and ordered as needed. During the late fall when mowing frequencies decrease our mechanics will begin grinding/sharpening all of the cutting units. Over the winter months the Superintendent will finish all disassemble and grinding of the reel heads. Bearing and seal replacement will take place before grinding, if excessive wear or failure in evident. All reels will then be reassembled and put back on the machines. All other accessible equipment will also be inspected and repaired as needed.
It is essential that these tasks be completed before the crew reports back to work in the spring, this assure mowers and equipment are ready for use and avoids chaos in the shop.
The following maintenance will apply to MGC during the golf season.
-Greens mowers will be checked and adjusted on a daily basis
-Fairway mowers will be checked and adjusted after each mowing
-Tee and Approach mowers will be checked and adjusted after each mowing
*If any of the above mowers can not be adjusted to adequately cut a piece of paper they will be back-lapped; to sharpen the cutting edges, and the bedknives will be faced with a file or grinding tool. If the reel still will not cut after completing these sharpen procedures the reel will be removed from the machine disassembled and ground.
-Rotary mowers will be checked weekly and sharpened as needed
-Oil levels will be checked in the AM on all equipment before it is used
-Oil changes and tune-ups will be performed on all equipment based on manufacturer recommendations.
-Repairs will be made in a timely fashion to assure required maintenance procedures on the course are being completed.
Records of all equipment repairs will be completed by the Mechanics or Superintendent in a file kept in the maintenance building.
Adverse Conditions Policy
The intent of this section is to outline adverse conditions. The goal is to keep the course open for play except when severe conditions warrant closure.
Frosted or Frozen Conditions
The golf course will remain closed in the event of frosted or frozen conditions. As the sun and air temperatures rise and the condition is alleviated, the golf course will open for play. Any traffic on frozen or frosted turf will harm the roots and cell walls respectively causing plant damage or even death.
Cart Usage under Adverse Conditions
As directed by the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendents, golf carts will not be allowed on the golf course when frosted, frozen or saturated conditions exist. Solely at the discretion of the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendents, will cart be allowed back on to the golf course.
Based on agronomic reasons the Superintendent may place limitations such as; cart path and rough only, or 90 degree rule only, on cart traffic at any time.
Members are encouraged to read and follow the eleven guiding principles for golf cart operation adopted May of 2004 by the Board of Directors, as a means of reducing the potential wear golf carts present to the conditioning of a golf course.
In the event of any adverse conditions, the Superintendent or qualified member of the staff may elect to close part of or the entire golf course if damage to the greens, fairways or tees would occur with the continuance of play.
The course may also be closed if conditions are deemed to be dangerous to the health and well being of the golfer, such as in the event of lightning, chemical spill or fire.
In the case of a lightning storm the pro-shop staff will sound of an air horn. All players and employees must stop playing and working and immediately head for safety.
Operating and Capital Budgeting
The operating budget reflects the day-to-day operating costs associated with regular maintenance of the golf course and the club grounds as prescribed by the Maintenance Standard Manual.
The budget process will begin in November and last till completion, typically around the first of the year. The Superintendent will use historical figures to formulate a preliminary budget then make changes to those numbers based on an increase or decrease in the cost of predicted variable expenses during the upcoming season. The Greens Committee will review the budget and upon approval it will be presented to the Board of Directors at the annual budget meeting.
After final approval by the Board the Superintendent will prudently manage operating costs during the course of the year in order to stay within the operating budget.
In order to be a capital expenditure an item must meet two requirements; it must have a minimum cost of $1000 and have a life expectancy of at least three years.
Examples of capital expenditures would be new maintenance equipment, golf course renovations, major drainage work, new irrigation system and a new maintenance shop.
A ten-year capital expenditure plan for equipment replacement will be created by the Superintendent and updated annually. If followed this detailed plan will assure course conditions do not become negatively affected by the condition and productivity of the equipment fleet.
MGC grounds has several other important capital expenditures that need to be addressed ASAP when funds for such are available. (Listed according to importance)
1) Complete the maintenance shop at Greywalls
Currently there are some loose ends that need to be finished at this location.
2) Irrigation System for the Heritage
Outlined in the Irrigation section.
3) Bunker repair and course restoration for the Heritage
Outlined in the Bunker section.
4) Improved Bathroom facilities built on Greywalls
Grounds Department Supervision
Activities associated with the grounds department are highly visible and at times may be subject to various conversations or critiques amongst members. The grounds department staff wishes to be as responsive as possible to the desires of all members and management, but the information path and direction to individuals must flow in a formal manner to avoid any potential confusion.
Staff Supervision of Activities
The Grounds Superintendent and Assistants are responsible for all activities of the grounds staff. Communication between the Superintendent and Assistants will take place on a multi-daily basis then directions and guidance will be given to individual staff members accordingly. The Superintendent and Assistants will plan the next day’s activities the previous day then assignment will be written on the employee board clearly and systematically. In addition no member or any other person should request or expect to receive any personal service or have specific tasks completed for their personal benefit from a staff member while on the clock and working for the club.
Staff Roles and Relationships
The Superintendent is responsible for all daily activities related to the care and maintenance of the golf course.
The Assistant Superintendents take directions from the Superintendent and guide the MGC grounds staffs according to the tasks that need to be completed.
The Green Committee Chairman is actively involved in all matters relating to the golf course and is in frequent communication with the Golf Course Superintendent. These communications may take the form of day-to-day interaction or during Green Committee meetings. The Greens Committee consists of a 12 appointed members representing different demographics of the membership. Discussions topics of course conditioning and upkeep will take place at these meetings to satisfy the desired concerns of the membership at large. Collaborative discussion, suggestions and opinions will flow freely but systematically at these meetings with a common goal of improving MGC conditions. The Superintendent and Greens Committee Chairman will attend bi-monthly Board meetings to report the concerns and current conditions of the golf course grounds. The Board of Directors has the ultimate authority on major club decisions but the Golf Course Superintendent shall have daily decision authority based on Greens Committee suggestion and approved agendas.
Member concerns regarding the grounds department should be directed towards the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendents, Green Committee Chair or Green Committee member only. These concerns may be taken care of accordingly or brought up at Green Committee meeting as a topic for further discussion and decision-making.
Creating and maintaining a high quality golf course environment is a very challenging endeavor, which is filled with many variables some of which are only understood by the professional put in place to handle these tasks; the Superintendent. Maximum communication between all parties of the club is essential as a means of pleasing the membership and keeping them informed of necessary maintenance tasks.