Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tee it Forward and increase your enjoyment!

The golf industry is trying to move the needle of golf and I am not talking about restricting the use of long or anchored putters. (I say if its available to everyone and its that much of a benefit why restrict it just let the players decide for themselves how they want to play.)  Have fun, that is the name of the game.  And that is just what this blog is about.

The needle moving I am talking about is moving golfers forward in their tee box selection.  Research has shown that many of us play from a distance that is prohibitive to our enjoyment and scoring ability.  The objective is to put regular players into the same positions as tour pros.  By position, I mean a position where you are hitting the same club that a tour pro would hit for their second shot.  If a pro were to hit driver 8 iron, why not the average player.  A tour pro can get home with driver, 8-iron from 430 yards, but the average golfers needs two drivers and a flip wedge (or more) to reach this green.  There is no chance for a GIR!  But if the average golfer played from 340 yards, they now have a scoring club in their hands on their 2nd shot.  Makes sense doesn't it?

Golf is very set in tradition and this is why we have discussions about anchored putters and women's tee boxes being taboo.  Why will most men who hit the ball 150 yards continue to play from the white tees and not move up a set of tees?  Part of the reason is stubbornness, part is "I have always played these tees", and another part is "the red tees are for ladies".  It's time for us all to move forward and at least try a different set of tees.  What have we got to lose other than frustration and fewer shots from 200+ yards?

In an attempt to encourage players to play from a different set of tees we are removing our red tee markers completely and replacing them with yellow markers and moving our white and blue markers forward if needed and using a black tee marker as our back tees.  One golfer suggested we put the red tees at the back, "to prevent golfers from wanting to play the 'tips' when they have no place playing from that distance."  This is actually an interesting thought...hmmm.  Anyway, next time you are out playing golf whether at our facilities or not, try moving up a set of tees and see if your quality of enjoyment increases.  If nothing else it will allow you to see the golf course you have been playing for years from a different perspective to point it may feel like a completely different course all together.

The main goal is to have fun from which ever set of tees you play!  Grip it and Rip it!

"Don Quixote would understand golf.
It is the impossible dream." 
~ Jim Murray, sports columnist

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Streambed Alterations made easy!

Over the past year we have been applying for a Streambed Alteration permit through the Department of Fish and Game for Chalk Mountain Golf Course.  All in all this process was relatively painless, but it did take some time (nearly a year) before we were able to obtain our permit.  Robb Tibstra, our Regional F&G biologist, was very helpful and understanding of our situation.  He provided valuable insight into the process and was available to help in any way possible.
The entrance to the easement between the golf course and subdivision

An example of how the willows had expanded their territory

The golf course is relatively void of any houses.  However, we do have homes along portions of holes #2, 4, 6, and 7.  The stream that separates the golf course from the residences on the 4th hole was our area of concern for this project.  The stream provides ample opportunity for the growth of riparian plants and in this case the willows had become extremely overgrown and unsightly along the stretch near the homes.  This was mostly an aesthetic eyesore, but also posed fire hazards during the hot dry summer months.

I contacted the California Conservation Corps and asked them if they could find some time to help us out around the first part of the year.  Luckily, some rain had occurred around the time of our project and although it would not prevent us from finishing our project, it did hamper the CCC's to continue working on their current projects.  I received an email from Mike Anderson, CCC's project coordinator, and he said he had a couple of days worth of FREE labor he could provide if we could get everything put together within a couple of days.  Obviously we made this happen...I mean free labor, bring it!
Limbing trees and clearing brush
Making good use of our chipper to make the debris easier to handle for disposal
The CCC's delivered and brought a crew of 12 for two 6 hour days.  They are very skilled in their services and know exactly what they are to do.  To begin the first day, I arranged to have a training session that was lead by one of our local SWCA biologist regarding protected species.  A past report showed we have habitat that is suitable to California Red-Legged frogs and Western Pond turtles.  Luckily, it was not spring, summer, or fall and none of these amphibians or reptiles were mobile while this project was underway.  The CCC's knew how to handle these situations and the crews' leadership made me feel very comfortable with their ability.
Having fun!
They wasted little time and got right to work!  Given the restrictions of our permit we had to work to mitigate any erosion or damage to the stream and its bank.  This meant no mechanical means of operation other than chainsaws in the area of the streambed.  All of the debris and material was carried out by hand.  This was not an easy task as the area ran the length of approximately 400 yards.  It did not seem to be a problem at all for the crew as they went about their work with no complaints and truly seemed to enjoy what they do.  I can say we truly enjoyed having them and appreciated the finished product.  Have a look for yourself!  I would highly recommend their services if you have a need in the future.  Their staff can even help attain your Alteration permit as they have the staff and expertise to complete these tasks from the very start to the beautiful end.

The entrance area that can be compared with the before picture above.

This area was overgrown with willows previously.

The home owners are thrilled!  Our County Parks' mission of excellence to every customer was achieved!

Friday, February 1, 2013

New yardage markers at Morro Bay for your golfing pleasure

A little over a year ago one of our Morro Bay Golf Club members asked if he we could put yardage markers on the irrigation heads to speed up play.  We discussed the idea and the Golf Club agreed to help.  First the started by using their GPS units and range finders to determine the yardages for heads from the greens to about 250 yards away (because any further than that and you are just dreaming...seriously hit the ball already).

Scribing temporary yardages
Our club members spent many afternoons following their regular play days to measure and collect the yardage data for the irrigation heads throughout the course.  This data was compiled for each hole and a list of yardage markers was created.  483 in all!  Well that only included the heads in or very near the fairways.  It was determined that if you could not hit it straight you were on your own and exact yardage was not likely to make a significance to your game.  This is a joke...we just had to draw the line somewhere.  I am the guy that rarely gets to use these yardages because I am either in the rough or the adjoining fairway.

With the data compiled, we sought out a company in our County to produce the yardage plaques and we found a suitable product that after materials and installation cost just over $1.  That's a considerable savings compared with the typical irrigation head yardage markers that cost between $3 and $15 (that is not a typo!).  Our total cost was under $600 to mark the entire course.

Yardage data collection
It was time to install the heads and we took the golf club up on their offer to help.  The club members have been quite generous by helping with projects over the past couple of years and we really appreciate their assistance.  We expected between 10-15 people to help out and we were happily surprised to find that nearly 40 people were interested to help.  The free appetizers and refreshments that we provided may have helped a bit, but really I think the group just wanted to do something for the good of the course and club.  So we broke into 11 groups of 4 and set out to trim and clean around the heads, drill, glue, and screw on the yardage markers.

The finished product
Fun was had by all and the entire project took just over three hours to complete.  The results have been favorable with only a few complaints about the yardages not being totally accurate, but how many of our clubs are accurate within 3-5 yards either.  All in all this was a great day for our golf course and our golf club by combining our efforts we were able to improve the golfing experience at Morro Bay Golf Course and enjoy the fantastic weather and cameraderie!