December was a pretty uneventful month golf course wise. General maintenance on equipment and preparing for the next season was the norm.
A facility Best Management Practice (BMP) was completed. The BMP outlines the practices, environmental, and conservation practices that we use at the facility level. It is a 123 page document that I have available for anyone’s review. I can e-mail a PDF file and will have published print versions available in mid-January as soon as the publisher finishes with it. It details everything from water management to pesticide management and everything in between. This goes in conjunction with the golf maintenance manual I drew up at the beginning of my tenure here.
The weather was a bit weird, with unseasonable warm weather mixed in with cold weather making maintenance of the greens and disease management a small nightmare, but we overcame that issue.
Equipment wise I need a new tire for the JD tractor as it is sliced on the side. The JD rough mower needs a new hydraulic hose, the old one is split, but I will not order any replacement parts until March 1.
On the education side of the equation, I have earned certificates in Principles of Golf Course Environmental Stewardship, Principles of Golf Course Business, Principles of Golf Course Agronomy, and last but not least, Principles of Golf Course Leadership and Communications. In addition, I have countless webinars such as Green Speeds and their effect on players and turf to name just one.
The reason I strive to continue my education is not only for personal goals, but to make me a better superintendent for the club and membership. The constantly changing environment, laws governing golf course operations, and the ever changing demands of the turf industry, pushes me to be better.
The Year in Review
When I say it has been an exhausting year I mean that the challenges that have presented themselves this season have never been seen before, at least in my lifetime.
Started off with typically to much rain in March. Then we had the Covid-19 which led to finding new ways to keep golfers and crew safe. We made it through 2020 without anyone in maintenance or membership getting sick from Covid-19.
Not without its own challenges were equipment breakdowns. This I need to attribute to my own error as I did not provide enough personal training and time management. Lesson learned.
Irrigation was a huge issue. We had multiple lightening strikes that took out the fountain and all irrigation from 7 green to 9 green and everything in between. After thousands of dollars in replacement parts, hundreds of hours of labor and night hand watering, I managed to survive the remainder of a drought year with some sanity intact. Our irrigation system is still somewhat not working and after having a designer visit the course, he said the problems will persist and worsen as the electrical portion is about shot from lightening strikes.
The driving range. . . well, let us just leave it at that.
Then there was the issue of a small heart attack and blood clotting in my leg, but on the bright side, I at least finished mowing the fairways and I was fixed and the blood clot in my leg taken care of in the process (I can feel my toes again). Thank goodness for good insurance.
Looking back, 2020 was a learning experience in how to handle pandemics, improvising and adapting to irrigation issues, and personal insights to how I handle my crews. So while I say it was exhausting, I can also say the experiences of last year were unique in lessons that I can pass down to my future predecessor, in about 9 years, maybe more if I stay healthy.
I want to thank the Board and membership for their patience, their devotion to the course and me, and the necessary feedback to allow me to be a better superintendent and mentor.