Monday, July 4, 2011

What happens in the morning?

Part 1 - Changing Cups and Hand Watering:
Over the next few weeks I will detail what goes on in the morning on the golf course before play.  Some things you might expect, but others thing you might not. We have 21 employees on the grounds crew and early in the morning is a very busy time.  If you would like to see it in person what goes on, stop in but work begins at 5AM sharp. "Early is on time and on time is late."
Jesus (foreground) changing cups and Mike (background) hand watering #10 green.
Changing cups:
Sounds pretty straight forward, but how do we determine where the cups go and who makes the decision?  Jesus Rodriguez has been our cup changer for more than 10 years and has worked for Biltmore for more than 25 years.  He changes cups every day and only in rare cases will anyone else change cups.  The decision of the exact location of the cups is left up to Jesus (yes, it is true I do not pick the locations each day).  He takes into account green speed, location of other cups (equal amount in the front, middle and back), and who is playing (on ladies day for example, cups are placed in easier locations).  We receive very few complaints about cup locations and he takes great pride in his work.  He also sets the tee markers.  Cups are changed every day, except when the course is closed.

Hand Watering Greens:
This is a done by our more experienced employees because you have to be able to "read" a green and knowing  how much to water is an art.  To help with the decision of where and how much to hand water a green, we use two different types of soil moisture sensors.  One type is buried in the green and the other is a hand held device.  Based on how dry the greens are and the expected ET rates for the day, a soil moisture level (percent) is decided on prior to hand watering.  Each day every green is checked in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon.

The Fieldscout is used to determine soil moisture levels.  Several readings are taken around each green.