Sunday, March 25, 2012

What is a stimpmeter used for?

This is a very intriguing video that explains what these readings mean and how a little knowledge is also quite dangerous.  Have a look and remember that not all greens are built the same.  At Morro Bay if our stimps are above 10 we lose 90% of our pin locations and 5 and 6 putts become the norm, while at Dairy and Chalk 11-12 is possible, but not likely to enhance the majority of our customers' level of satisfaction.  In my experience, club members have a tendency to exaggerate the truth to "out-do" their friends.  In the turf industry we have a saying, "speed kills!"

"Some of us worship in churches, some in synagogues, some on golf courses."
~ Adlai Stevenson 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pond liner rapair at the waste water treatment plant

Most golfers know of three of the four of our ponds at Dairy Creek Golf Course.  "Four?" you might ask.  Well our forth pond is located about a half mile away at the California Men's Colony (CMC) waste water treatment facility located just south of Cuesta College.  100% of our irrigation water is reclaimed water through a Joint Power Agreement (JPA) with CMC.  The water is pumped into a holding pond at the treatment facility site and then we pump the water through a 6" pipe into pond #2 (the pond between #2 and #7).  Our three ponds on the course are interconnected with 18" pipes to maintain water levels for irrigation purposes.

The white pipe is the fill pipe, the green pipe is the pipe pumping
the water out and the ladder is used to repair the liner.

Early in February we worked with CMC staff to empty the waste water reservoir pond to clean and repair the pond liner.  The liner itself has a 15 year life expectancy and guess what...this summer is Dairy Creek's 15th year of operation.  None the less the liner looked good and most of the repairs were above the water line due to ground squirrels digging through the liner.  Here are a few pictures of our staff working on the repairs.  Enjoy!

Only about 10 more feet of water to remove.

Sludge is creating a suction problem.

Water pumping reinforcements to remove the sludge.

One of our helpers from CMC.

Prepping the liner for a patch.
One down...
 This process is nothing that we have ever encountered before and there were many ideas and solutions that were discovered along the way.  Albert, Kevin, Matt, and Dave all did a great job with a less than ideal situation.  You never know what the job will have in store, but luckily we have a staff full of problem solvers that have yet to back down from a task.

A bit more challenging, but nothing our staff cannot handle.

"Golf is a game in which the player's true opponent is the golf course.  That is why the game can be enjoyed in solitude or with other golfers of every caliber and age."
~Rees Jones, the course architect

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Zero Waste may be moving the needle

What a great experience the Golf Industry Show turned out to be!!  However, I was truly disappointed to see the lack of environmentally sustainable efforts at the show.

I attended the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) meetings as an owner this year for the first time and there was a great deal of talk about sustainable business models and best practices to get more people to play the game and have MORE FUN...this should be our focus as operators as we move forward.  Really think outside of the box and get people enjoying themselves with the first step playing a tee box (or two) forward.  This will get people hitting shots that are more conducive to greens in regulations and not hoping to get there with a long iron.  It may also help build our numbers by encouraging kids and beginners, but you first must find out how to reach them.  Also adding value without discounting so that you are not competing on price alone, which ultimately devalues the experience.  Now if your price point is low then its about placing yourself in the right market.  I would also like to see more advertising about golf as a form of recreation and not the advertising that each of us does on our own to attract golfers.  There needs to be more of a presence about how beneficial the game is to our communities and individuals.  I will attempt to move this needle within our local golf market and I will let you know how that turns out, but this will be a slow project as we will first have to develop relationships, trust, honesty, and only then will we be able to collaborate.  We'll see and I am optimistic that we can buck the trend of 10-11% golfers in our population locally.

OK off of that soap box.  But what about the show room floor?  I saw and picked up some info about composting toilets and propane driven machinery.  Where were the bio-diesel generators, composters, tea brewers, etc. that will move golf ahead as the front-runners as environmental stewards that we all like to consider ourselves.  I did see one tea brewer, but it was an admitted prop to get people to the booth and he did not even sell products related to teas.  Not to mention that most simple endeavor, the trash, was not sorted at all.  It was all co-mingled!!  There were organic fertilizers and chemicals on the floor, and lot's of irrigation technologies to improve efficiency and this is great to see.  I'm still not sure how you keep from clobbering these moisture sensors with aerifiers.  I got s'more lernin' to do!  I am hopeful that more environmental sustainability will come with time and the efforts of Greg Lyman and the Environmental Institute For Golf.

We have been getting some good exposure from non-golf related entities at the Zero Waste Park at Dairy Creek.  The week before I left for the GIS our site was visited by the director, Hunter Francis, of the Center for Sustainability at Cal Poly.  We are working with Cal Poly's Horticulture Department in hopes to quantify the beneficial results of compost teas on golf courses.  The day I left for the show I presented our program to 60+ PGA professionals at a Southern Section PGA meeting held at Dairy Creek.  The response was good and there was a good deal of interest.  A couple of days after I returned from the GIS we hosted a group from the EPA to check out the site and they were excited about what was happening and eager to help.  This may lead to expanding the the Zero Waste efforts to Morro Bay and perhaps Chalk Mountain as well.  Last week we had a group from VermiVision ( tour our facility and it turns out we all have similar goals to reduce pesticides, water use, and other chemicals from agricultural operations.

It been rewarding seeing that not only have our efforts been rewarded by golfers sorting their waste at the facility (about 90% of the time!!), but now we are helping other entities with their goals or providing them a model that they can mimic.  I truly think this process can be useful in the golf industry as we have removed ~3000 pounds of waste from the landfills since October, generated nearly 20 cu. yds. of compost, and fertilized our greens with teas every two weeks.  I can't wait to see the recent lab results from Cal Poly.  We'll keep our heads down and keep plugging forward in the effort of global awareness and environmental sustainability.  Let us know if we can provide you with a tour or how we can help your efforts in any way.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Photos from our SLO Golf Card member appreciation event

I have gotten around to post some of the photos that were taken at our event two weeks ago.  It was a beautiful day and a lot of fun was had by all.  Please have a look at the pictures and I hope to see you at the event next year!

Paul Dunn playing the pipes to welcome participants to the
 2012 SLO Golf Card Member Appreciation Tournament 

Our 5 hole putting challenge...the winner finished at one under par

What a glorious day!!  There is no place like Central California in February ;)

What a motley crew of 4 truly great guys!
(Rick Betterly, Rudy Semenza, Nick Parenti, and Dick Mooney)  

Giving out playing cards for hitting a par 3 green in regulation.
The best team poker hand at the and of the day won a prize (4 KINGS!!).

Lining it up and going to school.

LET'S EAT!!  Lunch was free for participants.

128 full bellies.  Nap time begins after the awards and raffle are finished.

"What nuber did you just call?"  ""

Woohoo!  Winner winner chicken dinner.

Our gross champions Greg Dzuba and Brian Wiggins

Net champions Dianne and Ray Jackson


"A course with fight in it is the one that keeps the player keen for the game."
 ~Donald Ross, the course architect

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Golf Industry Show Key Note Speaker, David Faherty

It was a packed house Thursday morning at the Golf Industry Show as David Faherty took the stage to discuss topics such as his past, golf, and little quips and experiences that have happened around golf.  In the video below he talks about his thoughts regarding golf superintendents, living in America, and a few anecdotes about his life.  Please click on the embedded video, enjoy, and check back for more about what I took away from the show.  Cheers!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Busy, but very rewarding week.

A week ago tomorrow we held our annual SLO Golf Card member appreciation 2-person scramble event at Dairy Creek Golf Course.  In 2007 we decided we wanted to have more card holding members and we set out to aggressively increase our brand.  That year ended with roughly 1850 card holders and we knew we could do much better.  Last year we came up a few cards short of 3,000...that's a 40% increase in three seasons and more than exceeded our expectations.  Needless to say we had 80 of our 128 player event filled within 4 days of the email blast and we ended with about 25 people on the waiting list trying to get in after we were able to accommodate 2-3 twosomes.

The event went extremely well as it should, given this is our third annual, but pace of play is something that we plan to address next year.  With the re-routing of the course it does take a bit longer as yardages are often not familiar.  Participants had a great time anyway. 

Golfers arrive to the sounds that hearken back to the land of the games roots...Scotland!  The pipes are complements of the lungs of Paul "Piper O' the Pines" Dunn and he is magnificent.  The day starts off with our continental breakfast registration and range balls for warming up.  Players return to the putting green to test their stroke on our miniature golf course as a challenge to see who can post the best score from our putting course complete with trees, sand hazards, out of bounds, lateral hazards, and boulders.  It pays to be creative, yet thoughtful on this course, as the risk reward is substantial.  The winning score was -1.

The golfers then head out to their hole assignments where there were many surprises in store like 8" cups on 6 of the greens along with another 4.25" hole for them to chose from.  There were bottles of wine given away for closest to the pin, hats for longest drive, free buckets of balls for inside of the circle, and three re-routed holes that played differently than John Harbottle designed back in 1996.

After the round, players were greeted with a free lunch featuring chicken coquin, or roast beef with all of the fixin's.  Toward the end of lunch the fun really got started as everyone took out their raffle tickets and about $2,500 worth of freebies were given away.  The items ranged from golf balls and clubs to hotel get-a-ways and spa packages.  The tallied scores are announced and the 1st and 2nd place teams from the gross and net divisions are awarded with free golf passes and golf course gift certificates.

"What is the cost for such an event," you ask?  How about the price of your green fee and optional cart.  Yes, that's right $26 or $29 dollars plus $17 optional cart rental for range balls, mini golf, 18-hole tournament, lunch, approximately $4,000 worth of freebies, and Net and Gross winners.  If you are a SLO Golf Card holder and are interested in this event next year do not delay and get your entry form in right away and don't let another year pass by.  If you do not have a SLO Golf Card, get yours today at or at Dairy Creek, Morro Bay, or Chalk Mountain golf courses.

Enjoy the time lapse photography from Mikael Culala.

Last night I returned from the Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas, so stay tuned as I will post some things I learned and saw at the greatest show on earth.