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Joe_Tucholski

  • Karma: +0/-0
Firm maintenance meld - on a budget
« on: June 20, 2022, 04:02:11 PM »
I'm on a trip to Ireland.  All the courses here are firmer than courses I typically play.  That being said there are some where a dent in the green is possible with a 60 degree wedge.  I realized, throughout the world, all the courses I've played where the ball mark repair tool stayed in the bag have been high budget courses. 

In this thread Don Mahaffy talks about his watering methods and their impact on firmness (It's not the Superintendent (golfclubatlas.com)).  The soil at the site is also regularly discussed as being very important.  There is a bit of discussion on here about fertilizer mix and thatch removal but less than the topic of water and soil.

All that said is thatch control with topdressing and aeration as important or more important to firm surfaces?  Maybe some other maintenance practice?  Basically wondering if there is a maintenance cost preventing very firm on a budget?


What are some budget friendly firm a true courses?


Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Firm maintenance meld - on a budget
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2022, 04:40:08 PM »
Thatch control is a very important part of firmness.  But some part of thatch control is about not CREATING thatch, by not fertilizing or watering so much.  That approach is much more viable on smaller courses in the UK or similar climates, which don't have traffic issues that require more fertility to recover from wear and tear . . . especially since such clubs do not have the $$$ for aggressive aeration and topdressing.

Mike Sweeney

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Firm maintenance meld - on a budget
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2022, 06:50:45 PM »
Joe,


I know you are a Pro, but it still comes down to micro-climates at EVERY course. On my last trip to Ireland, this became apparent on the West vs East links courses, and I have never played any interior courses. Here are the variety of soils in Ireland:





My home state is roughly a 130% of the size of Ireland:





IMO, this is the stuff that makes golf great - a huge variety of courses, playing surfaces, and weather...
"We need to allow people to make decisions for themselves and their local communities and families. Trying to tie everything into one package simply does not work." 5/11/21

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Firm maintenance meld - on a budget
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2022, 03:03:35 AM »
I realized, throughout the world, all the courses I've played where the ball mark repair tool stayed in the bag have been high budget courses. 
Curiously the courses I've played where the ball mark repair tool is most likely to stay in the bag are low and very low budget courses! But maybe that's a GB&I thing and not just links either but hilltops and some heathlands. Guess plenty of drying wind, sandy soil (links/heathland), limited irrigation (if any) and no desire for putting surfaces to be consistently green in colour and super speedy might have something to do with it.
atb

Joe_Tucholski

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Firm maintenance meld - on a budget
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2022, 04:13:15 AM »
Like most things I suppose it's a multifactorial issue. 


Mike I'm certainly no pro.  Is a 2022 visit to Ireland happening for you?

I suppose you're right and soil sets a range of possible conditions, however with enough money we can do almost anything - like build lush courses in deserts. Also neighboring courses that cover the same general area have quite a different level of firmness.

For example I played the Strand course at Portstewart and the greens were very firm where I never found a ball mark.  I then played the River course and the greens were mildly firm.  The strand is in the dunes for a good bit of the round but there are multiple greens from the different courses within 100 yards of each other.  To be sure I enjoyed both rounds and I don't think anyone would expect a Ä30 course to play the same as a Ä215 course.  The same occurs at Pinehurst Resort where the more expensive courses are significantly firmer.  An exponential price increase when compared to the firmness I'd say.

Looking at the map Ireland is blessed with soil for golf as I've enjoyed golf on Brown Earths, Gleys, Brown Podzolics, Lithosols (?) and Grey Brown Podzolics. 

Regarding Toms point on traffic issues and wear/tear I've been surprised/dismayed at the number of carts with guys in their 30's/40's when compared to even my last visit to the northwest of Ireland 7 years ago.

To answer one of my questions about budget courses, the Valley at Portrush is the only very firm course I've seen under $100 rack rate.  There was a significant maintenance staff out working in the morning.  It's amazing to me how well the places with lower budgets can present themselves.  For example at Carne there are only 3 full and 1 part time maintenance staff for 27 holes.

Joe_Tucholski

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Firm maintenance meld - on a budget
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2022, 04:18:37 AM »
I realized, throughout the world, most of the courses I've played where the ball mark repair tool stayed in the bag have been high budget courses. 
Curiously the courses I've played where the ball mark repair tool is most likely to stay in the bag are low and very low budget courses! But maybe that's a GB&I thing and not just links either but hilltops and some heathlands. Guess plenty of drying wind, sandy soil (links/heathland), limited irrigation (if any) and no desire for putting surfaces to be consistently green in colour and super speedy might have something to do with it.
atb


Thomas mind sharing examples of those courses and do the putting surfaces roll a straight line (understand they won't have consistent color or high speed)?


Edit: Also I should replace all with "most of."  Brora just came to me as a place on a budget that was very firm.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2022, 04:30:08 AM by Joe_Tucholski »

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Firm maintenance meld - on a budget
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2022, 06:05:32 AM »
Joe,
Essentially the under the usual radar, more remote and rural GB&I courses, sometimes 18, sometimes 9, that have been profiled or highlighted by the likes of Sean, myself and others over the last few years. Those with small budgets and small levels of manpower and inputs on importantly free draining soil.
Atb

Kyle Harris

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Firm maintenance meld - on a budget
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2022, 08:05:48 AM »
I like to think of/explain a golf surface like an aquarium. Ultimately, youíll get to the point where youíll have to clean the aquarium to keep the environment healthful for whatever fish you are tending.


In golf, would you empty the aquarium, move the fish temporarily, clean and replace everything?


Sometimes. Thatís called a renovation or restoration, etc. Regrassing. Rebuilding greens.


However, golf maintenance gives us the option to take out a cup of water from the aquarium at a time and replace it with a fresh cup. Thatís your thatch management practice. How frequently you need to do that depends on the fish.
http://kylewharris.com

Constantly blamed by 8-handicaps for their 7 missed 12-footers each round.

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