Friday, June 13, 2014

The Best Of, Pinehurst, What A Difference, and Certification!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Friday, June 13th and Martin Kaymer is ten under par (-10) in the U.S. Open after 36 holes!  Consecutive rounds of 65 on Pinehurst No. 2 under U.S. Open conditions...that's unbelievable!  Hopefully Mike Davis and company at the USGA can remedy that.

Last week we hosted the North Carolina Amateur Championship and I promised those of you following along (I blogged daily about course conditions, course setup, and the overall experience) I would share some "best of" moments.  Below are some interesting photos and a link to an interview:

The Week Started With Guest Bradley Klein
Gift From Mrs. Greenkeeper!

Smith Turf & Irrigation Makes a Presentation!

This Is How You Mow It!
JR Inspecting Quality of Cut!

Love the Long Shadows!

On Saturday of North Carolina Amateur Week, Andy Priest, Director of Championships & Association Operations of the Carolinas Golf Association was interviewed on The Golf Shop, a local sports talk radio program (ESPN Radio 730 AM Charlotte). To hear a podcast of Andy's interview CLICK HERE (about 6:24 in length) to find out what he had to say about the club, the golf course, and the tournament.   The Golf Shop also interviewed Club President Will Barr and Assistant Golf Professional Joe Campbell (Big Break Ireland).

Joshua Martin & The Billy Joe Patton Trophy!
Yesterday my wife and I walked all 18 holes of Pinehurst No. 2 for the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open!  I had the pleasure of playing No. 2 in May of 2012 and here is a link to the blog post where I shared my thoughts on the golf course and the recent restoration at that time CLICK HERE.  You will notice from the old post the two photos show a vastly different natural area than today.  In 2012 the sandy natural areas were more sand and less weeds.  They really have a lot more vegetation growing in them now than just two years ago.  I still believe the golf course to be one of, if not the finest tests of championship golf.  I just liked the way the course looked two years ago more so than what I saw yesterday, but hey, opinions are just that and they make for great conversation and debate.  Here's hoping the next 36 holes produce some drama and Martin Kaymer doesn't turn this year's championship into a yawner!  At least next week we get to see how the ladies fare on this masterpiece golf layout!

After almost making it through the entire North Carolina Amateur without delay, we did receive 0.60" rain during the final round this past Sunday.  Since then we have received measurable rain on 4 of the past 5 days.  Granted our total rainfall for the entire week is only 1.20" (includes Sunday's 0.60"), but the humidity has made things feel more like July than early June.  In one week the golf course went from firm, fast, and lean to softer and lush.  The current weather pattern is one very conducive for bermudagrass growth and I can already see a big difference in certain parts of the golf course.  Conversely, if it is uncomfortable for you when outside, then it is uncomfortable for bentgrass as well.  We aerated Monday and Tuesday and reinstalled our fans for those greens in the most compromised micro-environments.  We are now in full summer maintenance mode with regards to putting green management (mowing heights, rolling frequency, water management, fungicide treatments, etc.) and rain 4 out of 5 days might be great for bermudagrass fairways and roughs, but it is not great for the best putting greens in town.  Here's hoping we see a break in this wet pattern soon.  (I know, I am never satisfied with the weather).

Finally, I joined the Golf Course Superintendents Association (GCSAA) in 1997.  GCSAA offers a voluntary professional certification program that enables superintendents to be recognized for their high level of achievement in professional golf course management.  Candidates that successfully meet all the stringent requirements are bestowed the professional designation of Certified Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS).  Candidates must meet strict guidelines before applying to the program based on years of experience and level of education.  Once accepted, candidates then have one year to successfully complete a portfolio (graded by two Certified Golf Course Superintendents), a three-part written examination, and have their golf course and maintenance operation attested by two Certified Golf Course Superintendents.

When I became superintendent of Carolina Golf Club in 2005 I was eligible to apply to the program based on my Master's Degree and my years as superintendent of Swan Point Yacht & Country Club.  It was definitely a goal of mine and something I wanted to accomplish having worked under a CGCS after graduation.  In 2005 we built holes one and two.  In 2006 we built the practice facility and short game area.  In 2007 we built the dam and started the golf course restoration.  In 2008 we built the Turf Care Center and completed the golf course restoration.  In 2009 I was elected to the Board of Directors of the North South Turfgrass Association (one of thirteen local chapters comprising the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association).  I spent five years serving the NSTA, the last of which as President in 2013.  Needless to say my goal was placed not just on the back burner, but the burner was turned off.  I am happy to tell you with the love and support of my wife, Darless (aka Mrs. Greenkeeper), along with General Manger Roger Wolfe, CCM, they encouraged me and prompted me last year to pursue something I should have achieved many years ago.  It is my pleasure Carolina Golf Club to tell you that as of May 30, 2014 your golf course is tended to and cared for daily by a Certified Golf Course Superintendent.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS

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