Friday, March 23, 2012

Colonel Kilgore, Bunkers and Pitch Marks!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Friday, March 23, 2012.  This past Monday and Tuesday my men and I were tasked with tearing up the best greens in Charlotte.  The scene looked a little something like this:

I jest!  Actually the task was completed seamlessly over the 2-day period thanks to a very cooperative Mother Nature and looked something more like this:

With aeration behind us we set our sights on the bunkers.  Our property contains 78 sand bunkers (76 on the golf course and 2 practice bunkers).  The task for the remainder of this week was to probe the depth of the sand throughout the bunker floor to ensure adequate and consistent sand levels.  Displaced sand was returned to areas in need and the edges of the bunkers were packed to create a smooth transition for ball roll at the turf/sand interface.  With this objective in mind, our newly arrived seasonal staff from Moldova were instructed and supervised over the past three days as they completely transformed our bunkers from this:

To this:

The difference may appear more subtle in these pictures than is real but any semblance of a vertical "edge" has been removed and a ball approaching the bunker along the ground should gather in the bottom of the bunker away from the edge.  This is going to be a point of emphasis with the daily management of the bunkers in an effort to help alleviate the penal nature of their design. 

Ball marks or as they say down under...pitch marks are always a good topic of discussion.  I was approached by more than one member prior to aeration to remind everyone of the importance to repair ball marks and to do so properly.  Funny thing is I usually find that most people really have a hard time repairing ball marks immediately following aeration because of the difficult nature of locating them while the greens heal.  Anyway, it is always good to have a refresher course in ball mark repair so I enlisted the services of my dear friend David Warwick at Avondale Golf Club in Pymble, Australia.  Thanks to the wonderful world wide web I captured this video of David demonstrating proper pitch mark repair from his club's website:

Hopefully you were fully able to understand him!  David has a couple of other really good course care videos I will share with you in "The Greenkeeper" at later dates.  Thanks for your help, mate!

Until next time...

See you on the course

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent

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