Off season; What off season?
In the golf maintenance world we are always asked “what do you do in the off season?” Many assume that if players don’t play then superintendents don’t superintend, but that isn’t the case! Off season for the players, combined with dormant conditions, provides us the perfect opportunity to work on projects and prepare for the upcoming year. During the season you’ll see us grooming, applying chemicals, fertilizing, aerifying and irrigating. And while grooming is the most labor intensive part of what we do, it is also the smallest part of what goes into maintaining the golf course. It’s actually all of the off season work that makes it come together.
Off season work begins with evaluation of the prior year budget, water management, chemicals, fertilizer, course needs and staffing and we make adjustments based on what we learned and best practices. We also focus on repair and maintenance of equipment. Nate, our equipment manager/technician, is busy breaking down our machines and rebuilding them, replacing bearings and seals, grinding reels, sharping blades and fixing what has broken.
And while Nate is busy in the shop, I’m busy on the course with other staff members, removing dead or diseased trees and other plant material. We attend to overgrown areas and may remove otherwise healthy plants to improve air circulation or sunlight distribution. Beyond these routine issues, the new owners have asked me to focus on our 26 year old bunkers. Bringing bunkers back requires more than just “dumping in new sand”. It requires fixing or replacing the subsurface drainage system, edging them into the proper shape, contouring the base and then adding the correct amount of sand to bring them back to playable condition. We have completed about one third of the bunkers that will be retained and hope to finish the rest of them by March. We are also working to improve cart paths and began by shoring up some of the bridge crossings to ensure safe crossing of the creek that winds though out the course. We will continue to patch broken and sunken areas and begin to lay new paths where large stretches have begun to crumble due to weather and heavy equipment damage.
And last, but not least, let me mention how you can help us. If you see something that requires attention, contact the golf shop or stop a member of our staff on the course. We always appreciate input. Also, ball marks on the greens are a constant maintenance issue. Please take a moment to repair yours and one other. Often times it can take a moment to locate the mark or, if your ball has travelled through the green, some players won’t check for marks where it landed and they simply walk to the ball to play the next shot. Taking that little extra time to find and repair your ball mark will help us keep the greens in top condition.
And now you know “what we do in the off season”; thank you!
Bent Creek Golf Course