Tuesday, May 2, 2017

April Showers, Pardon Our Progress, Earth Day, National Golf Day, and R4R17!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Tuesday, May 2nd and it seems I've let another 4 weeks pass since our last update.  My apologies but we have been busy, so let's get caught up. Mother Nature has been very generous recently making sure we do not get too far behind on rainfall. April saw 6.69 inches of rain fall on Carolina Golf Club which is more than double the typical average for this time of year. Not only was it a wet month, but April 2017 will go down as the warmest April ever in Charlotte history.  
The extended outlook has cooler than average temperatures in the region for the first half of May so maybe we will finally get to experience some "normal" spring like conditions before summer arrives officially next month.

If you were enjoying the club during the middle of last month you may have been surprised by the level of activity on the 9th hole as well as near the clubhouse and the Event Lawn.  Service Plumbing Co. installed a new potable water line to supply both the pool house and clubhouse.  Our existing service line had aged out and in order to overcome inadequate pressure issues, etc. a new line was needed.  In order to minimize the disturbance to the property the decision was made to install the new line via boring.
City Water Feed Enters Property No. 9
Preparing to Pull Conduit Underground

Bore Pit Left No. 9 Green
Bore Pit Outside Corner of Clubhouse

I worked closely with Service Plumbing Co. and their subcontractor overseeing all aspects of the boring operation (no pun intended). We bored under the 9th hole and then turned and continued to bore up the hill between the pool house and clubhouse, before finally wrapping around the back of the clubhouse under the Event Lawn.  The network of underground utilities and irrigation definitely made for some tense moments, and I'm happy to report despite a long week with multiple open holes the new supply is in place and operational.  And my staff has everything buttoned back up.

Saturday, April 22nd was Earth Day and Wednesday, April 26th was National Golf Day.  To kick off Earth Day activities the CEO of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Rhett Evans appeared on Golf Channel's Morning Drive to talk about the positive impacts golf has on the environment. CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO.  Personally I take great pride in knowing our little urban golf course does much good for wildlife habitat and the environment, especially considering our proximity to the city center.

If you follow me on Twitter you might be wondering what all the recent fuss is with this thing called Rounds 4 Research.  R4R is a program born in the Carolinas, the brainchild of Tim Kreger, Executive Director of the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association.  During the recession state funding was cut from many programs, including Turfgrass Science at our land grant institutions.  We are blessed in the Carolinas to have not one, but two excellent turfgrass programs with amazing faculty, and etc. in Clemson and N.C. State Universities.  Tim saw a way we, golf course superintendents, could give back and help these programs that are so vital to our long range success. Rounds 4 Research is an online tee time auction (May 1 through May 7, 2017) where golf courses (public and private) donate one foursome to the cause, and the proceeds generated are used to fund future turfgrass research projects. Since inception the Carolinas GCSA has donated nearly $350,000 to Clemson and N.C. State Universities to fund projects that directly impact and benefit golf courses in North and South Carolina.

For the first three years the program was run in-house at Carolinas GCSA Headquarters in Liberty, SC.  The program was successful and grew as neighboring states joined the cause which led to an agreement where the program is now managed and operated by the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), the philanthropic organization of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).  As a member of the Carolinas GCSA Board of Directors I serve on our R4R Committee, but I also serve on the newly created GCSAA R4R Task Group.  Considering my involvement both regionally and nationally I have attempted in my own little way to help spread the word, how will anyone know to go online and bid if they don't know about the program.

In the very first year of the program I was invited to join a group led by Bill Anderson, CGCS (retired Director of Golf and Grounds Agronomy, Carmel Country Club) and the late Jim Gerber (former superintendent, River Falls Plantation in Duncan, SC).  The three of us along with Todd Armstrong of Smith Turf and Irrigation made an effort to support the program in that first year (2009) and procured the winning bid on a stay and play package at Belfair Plantation in Bluffton, SC outside Hilton Head.  Needless to say by the time the four of us were able to coordinate our schedules we were deep into 2010, but we were treated like royalty as we stayed on site in a cottage overlooking the 18th green on one of the two meticulously maintained courses on property.  We enjoyed some good golf, food and drink, and deep conversation and camaraderie.  Considering Jim would unfortunately lose his battle to brain cancer a few years later in 2013, I am so glad I accepted the invitation and spent time getting to know a fellow superintendent!

Yes, Rounds 4 Research is a great program and probably hits a little closer to home with me for multiple reasons so I ask you to please forgive me for just a few more days as I attempt to spread the word about this important program and its service to my industry that ultimately benefits us all.

Well, with this update out of the way it's time to focus on our busiest month of the season.  Our annual Member-Guest is next week (May 11-13) followed by our Member-Member just two weeks later (May 27-29).  I can't believe I'm typing this but we are actually scheduled to perform our summer maintenance small tine aeration on Tuesday May 30th.  Next thing you know we will be reinstalling our fans along with a few newer ones and it will be summer.  In the meantime, enjoy your golf and perhaps check out the Rounds 4 Research auction, you never know what great deals might be available.  Rounds4Research.com 

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG