Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Resolution - See Wolf Point more in 2010

I love playing Wolf Point.
I didn't get down to play enough in 2009.
I hope to change that in 2010.
Prospective clients are welcome to join me.

We had a record drought in 2009 followed by extensive fall rains.
Don Mahaffey continues to do a great job.
I'm excited to think that the course will only get better as it matures past it's first season.

Above I'm escaping the 9th fairway bunker. I hit a great shot to the green, unfortunately it wasn't my first - the bunker is about 7 feet deep from the bottom.

Good luck for a prosperous 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

19 Suggestions for lower golf course maintenance costs in 2010

Don Mahaffey is the superintendent of Wolf Point club and was instrumental to its creation. He has been a leader in practical maintenance since he started over 20 years ago. Although he might say "it's just stupid to do it any other way"
Here are his 19 things you can do to improve profitability without impacting the players enjoyment. (In most cases, not all are good for everyone)

  1. Gang mow, believe it or not you can get decent quality as long as you have a lightweight trim everything out.  Here are 7 Gang mowing tips.
  2. Never ever edge a bunker again. Use herbicides like round-up at half strength or contacts and train someone to keep the edges burned back. It actually looks good and is a lot more environmentally friendly then it sounds.
  3. get rid of the walk mowers
  4. Don't over seed
  5. No designer fertility programs
  6. Try and get away from constant foliars and go back to the basics using organic greens fertilizers.
  7. Best growth regulator in the world is less N.
  8. Take out trees that require mowing around, trimming around, or spraying around, and especially if they cause you to spend more time trying to keep turf in the shade.
  9. Be diligent with traffic control
  10. Make your own compost and use in divot mix, sod repairs, dressing thin areas
  11. Stagger work hours so your guys are mowing with fewest players on the course...do what ever you can to get work done with out players interrupting.
  12. Question every expense, stop all cash leaks... don't pay $2,500 for computer irrigation support when you can have a spare computer setting there with software already loaded for 1/5th of that.
  13. Do your own pump station PM
  14. Keep a very tight fuel log...it has a way of disappearing
  15. You can buy parts like bearings and bushings at a bearing shop. Find a small shop that will rebuild your starters.
  16. Be honest in employee evaluation. Employees that can do it all are more valuable then the guy that can only rake bunkers. Pay your good guys more and trim the weak.
  17. Don’t be a warehouse. Don’t buy more than you need of anything. Keeping business afloat right now is all about cash flow, you can’t pay the electric bill with bags of fert, spare reel mowers, or extra irrigation parts. Rarely is there a dire emergency that you can’t go without for a day or two.
  18. Shop for bargains and don’t be afraid to ask for a discount and terms.
  19. Look facility wide at labor waste. Way too many courses have cart attendants or other types of employees who sit around half the time. They can be trained to help maintain clubhouse landscaping and such.
Pictured above is the green side bunker on #16.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Conceptual Golf Course Routing

This week I was hired to create a conceptual routing to help determine the feasibility of a golf course on this specific site. The goal was to have it quick and get a feel for what could fit. The above sketch is my first attempt.

The golf course takes up approximately 150 acres.
The lots cover 40 acres.
Commercial and electric easement occupy 15 acres, with an additional few acres for roads.

What I like about the routing:
The course plays along the creek for two spans at different times in the round.
It finishes with some really good holes along the creek.
A player can play 9 holes - or 5, or 12, or 15 holes and finish at the clubhouse.
The optional configurations are due to the triangulation in the lower portion and how the holes intertwine.
It is a very efficient use of the land - which is sandy and somewhat flat.
It would be relatively inexpensive to build and maintain.

What I'd try on my next attempt:
Having the holes play in different directions along the creek.
An internal clubhouse location so 16 & 18 aren't par 3s and returning nines.

Additional Golf Course Routing Resources:
Here is the evolution of the routing of Wolf Point Club
Here is an article I wrote about my routing processes

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Most Natural Looking Golf Course I've Ever Seen

This year I haven't had many guests to Wolf Point - I sure do wish there were more. I have a great time playing every time I go down too!

A client/friend came to town to get some help with his master plan - non-golf portion.
We finished up quickly then headed down to play. He grew up outside New York City playing at Quaker Ridge Golf Club - a most excellent Tillinghast golf course, and has seen a lot of great courses since too. He is also a very tough critic.

"This is the most natural looking golf course I've ever seen. You should be very proud."

He can't wait to come back. Next time he should probably stay away from Infierno. I can't wait for him to come back too, I want to play Wolf Point more often this year.
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