Friday, March 28, 2014

The Symposium on Affordable Golf ... West Coast Style!

Two years ago I attended one of the best golf conferences that I have had the pleasure of experiencing!  No it was not the Golf Industry and Show in Las Vegas although, that was a great conference as well, but it was the Symposium on Affordable Golf in North Carolina.  The venue there is great as it is held in Southern Pines in Pinehursts backyard.

The brain child behind the SOAG is Richard Mandell, golf architect.  Richard has held the event at Southern Pines for the past four years with much success of attracting many leading professionals from all facets of the golf industry.   My first experience is best described as pure honesty regarding the discussions and topics.  Many events seem to have a group think mindset with little open dialogue between participants that lead to fruitful ideas or brain storming.  Richard's ability to moderate the group to encourage varying viewpoints is a true breath of fresh air.

During my visit last year I suggested that we move the event to the west coast and see if the discussion takes a different turn as my experience managing courses throughout the country has afforded me many experiences with golfers.  In my opinion golfers have differing expectations and desires based upon geography and it would be interesting to see how the discussions may get different results on the west coast.  Richard agreed and Dairy Creek will host the first SOAG away from the southeast and bring it to California.

The event is March 31 and April 1.  Take a look at our line up and register to attend this terrific event at  If you have any questions respond to this blog and I will do my best to cure your curiosity.  We nearly have 100 registrants signed up at this point and it promises to be a great event.  I hope we see you there!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Golf, politics, and driving the economy

I have always enjoyed the meesages and commentary from Mike Hughes, CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association, in Golf Buisness magazine.  Take a look at the video that was shot by The Golf Channel at the PGA merchandise show this past weel.  Much of the time is spent talking to a couple of the politicians, but Mike's comments are spot on and you can tell he is devoted to our industry and helping his members drive the game of golf.  Get out there and invite someone to play golf today, it's your duty.  Thanks Mike...oh I guess it's time to pick up my girls and get them to their First Tee lesson today.

"Practice puts brains in your muscles."
                         ~Sam Snead

Friday, November 22, 2013

Learn to play golf advertisement

Our three courses have been attempting to incorportate elements of the Tee it Forward initiative and the Get Golf Ready ideas that the PGA has been touting for a couple of years.  Many courses across the country have been trying to figure out how to get more players into the game of golf.  One of our local courses, not one of ours, has developed a program to get people interested in playing the game.  Monarch Dunes has a 12 hole challenge course designed by Damian Pascuzzo and Steve Pate.  The original design of this par 3 course was to allow skilled and unskilled players to compete against one another playing not only from different tees, but playing to different holes based upon difficulty.  One of our members, Tom Elliot, of the Central California chapter of Golf Course Superintendents has taken this idea to another level in an attempt to create and develop more golfers.

Have a look at the following video:

Tom's idea is creative and I love his alterego seen in the video!  If this idea works all of our local courses will need to thank Tom and his staff as we will all benefit from their efforts to grow the game.  Hopefully this post will spawn other ideas that courses across the world can use to grow the best game on earth.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Chalk Mountain's fight to help stop diabetes

In September Chalk Mountain Golf Course was a site for a bigger cause than the ancient game and traditions of golf.  As a matter of fact the game and its venue helped provide resources to a growing social problem in our country.  This assistance was not through a golf tournament because we wanted to allow everybody away the ability to help.  So to facilitate this Community Walk for Diabetes the golf course remained closed until 9 am so that golfers could get their fix by teeing off from the 1st tee while the 10th tee and back nine were reserved for walkers raising money for diabetes.

What a fantastic day!  The weather was beautiful and the participation was incredible for a first year event that was really grass roots in nature.  The event attracted nearly 60 participants including Tammy Doshier, head golf professional at Chalk Mountain, and her family.  This was an emotional day for Tammy as she and her husband have battled this disease alongside of their son throughout his entire 12-year life.  It was great to hear Tammy tell some stories of their struggles and how he family maintains a positive outlook through it all and has built many fond memories of the past fighting this disease.  Tammy is great mom!

We all walked the 5 miles of the back 9 cart paths and finished in about an hour.  The event concluded with more stories and sharing of memories of many of the participants on the back patio as the golfers were making the turn.  Fun and tears were shared by many, but the winners will be those that benefit through events like this one.  Joel Clay, Chalk Mountain General Manager,  was the man with the idea for this event and he has a greater idea that many of you viewing this blog can help us to realize.  We raised $5,000 with this first event with little advertising or promotion.  Diabetes effects 2 out of 5 individuals in our country and it is growing.  What if every state in America hosted a single diabetes walk each year and raised $5,000?  That would be $250,000 raised for this worthy cause.  I can't wait to see how this event grows next year!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Newly renovated bunker or sand trap at Dairy Creek courtesy of Cal Poly's turf students

Before classes let out for the summer at Cal Poly, we were approached by Dr. Jason Lewis and the turf Management Progam at Cal Poly. He had a number os students that were looking for a project to gain real world experience before they graduated and asked if we had any good ideas.  After Albert and I peppered him with our thoughts I think he wished he had not asked.  After some discussion we concluded our practice bunker renovation at Dairy Creek's practice area would be perfect for the amount of time they had to spend coupled with our needs. The students were great and put in the work and effort in between classes and on weekends to complete the project.  I have put together a montage here for your viewing pleasure to view the action as it happened.  Enjoy!

The two before photos that demonstrate the nearly 2 feet of sand that have accumulated
during the 16-year life of the practice bunker.

The first step is to remove the old sand.

Removing the sod proved to be a bigger challenge than anticipated.
We rolled the sod and saved it for later.  

Found the drainage!

It's always nice to have a good leader.  Dr. Jason Lewis will be missed as I enjoyed our time sharing golf stories, Kansas State wins and losses, and working to provide opportunities for students.  

Aha!  We new the original grade was there somewhere.

 Newly installed drainage and decomposed granite.

Let's put the puzzle back together

Ready for sand!

Final prep and watering the sod (have you ever seen such a blue sky?)

Finished product that will be beautiful in a few weeks.  We could have used new sod, but waste not want not is our motto.  We filled the stressed and dry areas with compost and seed mixture from our Zero Waste site and the germination was perfect!