Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Junior Camp 2010

Last week, Rob, Bert, Richard, and myself participated in Stockton Golf and Country Club's Junior Program as instructors. None of us are qualified to teach these children how to hit a golf ball, but we can show them a thing or two about fancy machines, soil, turf, sprinklers, seed, fertilizer, and of course, aerification.

This year, (our third as part of the program) I assigned each participating staff member a section of our lesson plan. Richard handled irrigation and amazed the students when he told them he is in charge of 2500 sprinkler heads.

Bert just finished aerifying fairways an hour before our time slot, so he explained the function and purpose of our Wiedenmann unit. He then operated the machine for a short distance so they could see what it really does. Comments from the gallery included, "That's really loud." "I don't like it." and "It looks like dog doo."

Rob was up next and he demonstrated our soil moisture meter, showed off some purple coated bermudagrass, and shared examples of turf maintenance in England and Australia.

We truly look forward to our small part of this camp each year. The goal is to educate these young golfers on the expense, time, and maintenance practices required to keep the golf course looking its best. We encourage them to help us by fixing ball marks, filling divots, and raking out their foot prints. This particular group of students was commended for walking properly on the greens and leaving no drag marks; a nice change from the last two years.

Last year we demonstrated aerification on the driving range tee and one young man really took an interest in this process. We told him that the grass needs oxygen, just like we do, so we make holes to improve drainage, porosity, and root growth.

Director of Golf, Rich Howarth, accompanied this boy on his round of golf that afternoon and was a little puzzled when he hit his ball, pulled out his tee, and repeatedly put it back in the ground. He was down on his hands and knees jamming this tee into the turf while everyone else started to head down the fairway to their balls.

Rich asked him what he was doing and he said, "Rich, the grass needs air just like us." Rich responded, "That's great buddy, but we need to play some golf." Rich and I have this same conversation every time we put aerification on the calendar.

Just kidding.