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Too Much Water!


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#1 finleysg

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 04:50 PM

Or over-watering, to be precise.

Played a lovely golf course this past weekend. 8:30 am tee time the first day, 10:00 am the next. I would absolutely love this course if it wasn't so d&(*%* soggy. Keep in mind that this is from normal watering -- there has been no significant rain for over a week.

No rollout on the tee ball. Mud on every ball in the fairway. Tight lies around the green were really hard to play because even my sand wedge would dig into the soft turf if I wasn't perfect with my swing depth. Greenside bunkers were still wet at 2 in the afternoon. Pitch marks on the green were big and deep. Really impossible to fix well, and you could see the remains of pitch marks everywhere, especially on the first third of the green.

Played 6500 the first day, which is shorter than my regular game at my home course, but with the soft conditions, it felt like almost 7000. We moved up the next day, but it didn't improve my disposition much.

So is this a common problem with golf courses you play? I would love if we had anyone in the business reading this to provide some perspective. Why does an otherwise wonderful golf course keep the conditions soft to the point of soggy?

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#2 poppyhillsguy

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 05:29 PM

It's a tough place for a superintendent to be in. Let the course get firm and fast and golfers complain the grass isn't green enough.  Water a lot to keep the grass green and golfers complain about over watering.  No win situation for some to be in.

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#3 BNGL

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:37 PM

Where were you playing?

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#4 raynorfan1

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:48 PM

I've come to understand that this is a somewhat regular part of the maintenance cycle for a course. My home course is just coming off its late summer maintenance: aeration, seeding, top dressing, heavy water. It's frustrating to play the course at the very end of the cycle (actually, any time in the cycle), because everything LOOKs great - there's no visible sign of the maintenance - but it's super soggy when you expect firm and fast.

A week later, and the course is in absolutely perfect trim. But you've got to go through some pain to get there.

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#5 finleysg

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:55 PM

View PostBNGL, on 11 September 2017 - 07:37 PM, said:

Where were you playing?

I don't want to mention the name. I was a guest there, didn't pay for golf, and like everyone I met. Just was super disappointed in the conditions and was wondering if there was a rational explanation.

Edited by finleysg, 11 September 2017 - 07:58 PM.

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#6 finleysg

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:58 PM

View Postraynorfan1, on 11 September 2017 - 07:48 PM, said:

I've come to understand that this is a somewhat regular part of the maintenance cycle for a course. My home course is just coming off its late summer maintenance: aeration, seeding, top dressing, heavy water. It's frustrating to play the course at the very end of the cycle (actually, any time in the cycle), because everything LOOKs great - there's no visible sign of the maintenance - but it's super soggy when you expect firm and fast.

A week later, and the course is in absolutely perfect trim. But you've got to go through some pain to get there.

This is something I didn't think about, but not sure it's the case here. A large number of the regulars apparently complain frequently about the over watering, and I've experienced it first hand for the past 3 visits. My host told me that he and many of the regulars look forward to late fall when the irrigation system is shut down and the course plays firm and, weather dependent, brownish.
D: Callaway XR Pro - Ozik Red Tie
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#7 finleysg

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 08:00 PM

Do most players prefer green and soft? They must, at least here in the states, because in my experience, firm and fast is rare. I suppose I am in the minority on this. I don't care if everything is emerald green. Give me true greens and fast fairways and I don't care what color they are. I love a puff of dust on an approach shot!
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#8 raynorfan1

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 09:08 AM

View Postfinleysg, on 11 September 2017 - 08:00 PM, said:

Do most players prefer green and soft? They must, at least here in the states, because in my experience, firm and fast is rare. I suppose I am in the minority on this. I don't care if everything is emerald green. Give me true greens and fast fairways and I don't care what color they are. I love a puff of dust on an approach shot!

To overgeneralize, I think golfers in the US prefer green and firm fairways and soft greens. In other words...the easiest possible conditions to play on...also the conditions of our golf course idol: Augusta National.

Given weather conditions in (most) of the USA, firm and fast is a very difficult condition to maintain throughout the year. My home course is kept in near-peak condition only about 14 weeks a year (Mid-May thru June, and then again Early September thru October); the rest of the time, it can be pretty wet. In the heat of the summer, you've got to keep water on the grass to keep it alive. "Firm and Fast" can devolve into "bare dirt" pretty quickly in the heat of summer if it gets away from you.

That said, one of my favorite courses has irrigation only on the greens and tee boxes, and it's really fun to play with the fairways in widely varying conditions all year (including big patches of hardpan dirt by late august...). This, however, is not most American golfers' cup of tea.

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#9 finleysg

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 09:33 AM

View Postraynorfan1, on 12 September 2017 - 09:08 AM, said:

That said, one of my favorite courses has irrigation only on the greens and tee boxes, and it's really fun to play with the fairways in widely varying conditions all year (including big patches of hardpan dirt by late august...). This, however, is not most American golfers' cup of tea.

That sounds fun to me.
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#10 ryu123

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 09:41 PM

in the Pacific Northwest we haven't had any measurable rainfall for about six weeks.

But my local course north of Seattle is green & soft. Yesterday on a par 4 I found a ball plugged almost 3/4" into a bank 20 ft short of the green, Since we were the first group out that morning, certainly the ball embedded in the bank the previous day. (It may have been played at dawn the day before, but unlikely since other players would have seen it during the afternoon or evening & picked it up.)

The soft bank short of the green was caused by watering, & not rain. I recognize that it's tricky to maintain a course during a dry spell, but in the Northwest we usually get a lot of precipitation, so playing on hard fairways is a treat.

Like the original post, I prefer firm & fast conditions. I don't hit the ball long & rely on roll to get any distance.

As Raynorfan 1 said, it may be that US golfers prefer the 'Augusta National' look: lush green grass, brilliant white sand bunkers, blue ponds.  While Augusta National is beautiful, it should should not be the model, because it is a private club closed mid May - mid October.  All 18 greens have SubAir oxygen / vacuum systems that can control the moisture levels of each green.  (Golf Digest in 1996 took a water sample from the pond on hole #15, & found traces of blue food dye.)

When the US Open (men's & women's) was held at Pinehurst #2 in 2014, some in the media disliked the brown look of the fairways. I liked the appearance of Pinehurst, because it reminded me of my favorite links courses.

If not 'firm & fast', does a course have to be 'soft & slow'?


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#11 mallrat

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:16 PM

View Postfinleysg, on 11 September 2017 - 08:00 PM, said:

Do most players prefer green and soft? They must, at least here in the states, because in my experience, firm and fast is rare. I suppose I am in the minority on this. I don't care if everything is emerald green. Give me true greens and fast fairways and I don't care what color they are. I love a puff of dust on an approach shot!

First, true greens are not necessarily extremely firm. I work at a course that is generally regarded as some of the best greens in town but tend to play a little on the soft side. Our old Super was a HUGE believer in healthy turf with longer grass will roll better than questionable turf with a tighter cut.

Secondly, without knowing the general area you play, there could be a very wide variety of reasons for this. Is a heat wave coming? We had almost 2 weeks straight of 100, which we normally get 2 or 3 days a year. On these days you would see 8 guys throughout the course watering fairways and tee boxes (very rarely do we water greens once play has started.

What is the club members, owners or management companies desires? We are a public course that is privately owned and ran by a management company. Both the owners and the management company want the course as green as possible. The owners want it to show off to their friends and they like to play it that way and the management team wants to sell corporate tournaments and weddings.

Third, is it even worth the chance of losing a couple fairways, greens or tee boxes? To many Supers, no it's not. It's a lot easier to explain a large water bill than to have to replace a green, play a temporary green for a year, look at 1 or 2 dead fairways or move a tee box up into the fairway to get through a season.

And my last point, I think that is what the majority of the golfing public wants. Remember, we here on WRX are not your average golfer. Most have no desire to play a proper links course. They want their courses to look as green and lush as Hank Hill's lawn (please tell me someone gets that).

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#12 josephs_79

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:35 PM

View Postfinleysg, on 11 September 2017 - 08:00 PM, said:

Do most players prefer green and soft? They must, at least here in the states, because in my experience, firm and fast is rare. I suppose I am in the minority on this. I don't care if everything is emerald green. Give me true greens and fast fairways and I don't care what color they are. I love a puff of dust on an approach shot!

Come to Aus in our summer. Hard and fast is a given at most if not all courses!!

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