Saturday, July 25, 2009

Turf Days at SGCC's Junior Program

Two years ago, I asked Director of Golf, Rich Howarth if I could teach a portion of the Junior Program. I planned on showing them how to repair a ball mark, fill a divot, rake a sand trap, etc. I should have known that that the instructors had already covered these topics during the etiquette section. Rich, in his infinite wisdom, suggested that we roll out the equipment and show these young golfers how this course is maintained. This practice has worked very well and over the last three years I've had the privilege of teaching a very attentive and curious group of students.

Multiple members of the maintenance department have participated in the class and each year they are eager to join in. Bert Ryan, our course setter, is especially popular with the kids during his demonstration of cup cutting. The attendees also get a first hand look at some of our newest equipment. This year we featured the walk behind greens mower, the new Wiedenmann aerifier, and the sprayer.

In the photo to the right, I am letting the kids smell a fertilizer that is made from molasses. Most of them liked the smell of this product unlike the next fertilizer I showed them which is made from algae off the coast of Ireland. Needless to say, that one was less popular, but everyone still wanted to smell it. Many of the golfers in these groups were repeats from last year and the interest in what we do had grown. I was amazed at the knowledge they retained from last year's presentation. They all knew the answers to the questions I asked last year such as: How many sprinkler heads are on the course? How many times a week do we mow the greens and change the cups? and Why do we aerify? By having a better understanding of maintenance practices they will be more likely to accept course conditions and do their part to keep up the course.

Each year, a few members will join the Juniors during the maintenance presentation to hear the information for themselves. Eventually, I hope to have a similar function for the entire membership. Please give me your thoughts on an open house for the maintenance department. The program would show off the equipment, the maintenance shop, the irrigation system, and of course, the staff. I would also like to present future needs and plans designed to improve the course.

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