Each day here at Elcona I get the opportunity to interact with many of you, whether it is when I am driving around the property or when I get the chance to show off my subpar (in a bad way) golf talent in Men’s Night Out. These interactions provide me with some great feedback on the course and the chance to answer questions that you may have. Below are a few of the most asked questions I get on a weekly basis. Apologies in advance for the longer than normal post, but I thought it would be beneficial for all to know my reasoning behind some of the practices we do.
How do you repair a ballmark properly?
The key here is to NOT LIFT the center of the mark. This pulls the turf and roots out from the surface and greatly increases the recovery time of the pitchmark. A properly repaired mark heals in 3-4 days, while a poorly repaired one (see above) may take up to 21 days to heal.
When should I replace my divot in the fairway? Sometimes they are too little to replace.
Whenever possible, you should always replace your divot. Most of the time, even the tiny divots will root back down and recover. At a minimum, replacing all your divots keeps the fairway looking clean and helps minimize any shot from having to be played out of a divot.
Why aren’t any sand bottles on the carts?
Sand bottles are not supplied for the same reason as above: to help keep the course clean. Many times it is easier to reach for the sand bottle than walk a few yards to retrieve a divot, leaving the fairway looking littered. Also, many people overfill the divot with sand, leaving an unsightly pile and dulling mower blades during the next mowing. The grounds staff periodically fills all fairway divots during the golf season.
How close to greens and tees can I drive my cart?
When there is a cart path, please use it. Otherwise, please keep your cart a minimum of 30 feet from greens and tee complexes.
What is the preferred divot pattern on the practice tee?
One of my fellow superintendents posted this picture on Twitter, which illustrates my preference wonderfully. Either one straight line of divots taken out or multiple, small divots spread out across our hitting station is preferred. The healing time is much quicker and will provide additional hitting space for the next person. Taking out huge craters like the picture above will take quite a long time to fill in and heal.
Why is someone hosing down a green and interrupting my round?
This individual is “syringing” or cooling down the Poa annua leaf tissue during a hot summer day. This misting typically takes one or two minutes. If you see a maintenance staff member working near you, please give him or her common courtesy and make sure they see you before you hit your next shot. They and their families will appreciate it.
What is the proper way to rake a bunker? Where should the rakes go when I am done?
At all times, please enter and exit the bunker at the back end, or away from the flow of play, to protect the edging around the bunker. The bunker should be raked smooth of all shot divots and footprints after the shot has been played. When done with the rake, place the rake outside the bunker, with the rake head pointing towards the direction of play. All of these help our staff maintain the course, and more importantly is a courtesy for your fellow members that will play the hole after you have finished.
What are the general maintenance principles of Elcona CC?
- Provide the finest quality playing surfaces with minimal inputs and a keen eye on environmental stewardship.
- To prepare, preserve and maintain the golf course as the major club asset and to afford the opportunity to provide enjoyment to the club’s members and guests.
- To protect, understand and fulfill the golf course architect’s and club membership’s vision with a goal of a fair golf challenge for all levels of player ability.
- To plan and execute programs and procedures that maintains a superior golf experience as well as enhances and protects the environment, property, and aesthetics of the club within the standards and benchmarks set within being a Certified Audubon Golf Course Sanctuary.
Other interesting facts about Elcona CC:
- Elcona’s total land area is 342 acres
o 132 acres of maintained turf
o 47 acres of natural grassland
o 116 acres of mixed forest habitat (prairie and wooded habitats)
o 41 acres of farmland that is cash rented out
o 4 ponds totaling 2.75 acres
- The golf course was originally designed by legendary Midwest architect William Diddel in 1956, and has undergone multiple improvements with guidance from architect Arthur Hills.
- In 2012, Elcona became the 8th course in Indiana and the 930th course in the world to be designated an Audubon Certified Golf Course Sanctuary.