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 sub par (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. Please bear with me as this is another longer than normal blog post, but one that should be informational to you.
A few of you have commented to me about some poor etiquette in helping our staff maintain the golf course. I have noticed some too in my late afternoon travels, from carts parked on the collar/close green surrounds, bunkers not raked, and ball marks not repaired. The picture here shows how many unrepaired or under-repaired ball marks were on 3 green on Thursday, May 23rd, after our staff repaired all existing marks the morning before. Each flag represents a pitch mark that would cause a hop in a putt traveling along the green. There are 54 flags in all in the picture.
The Golf/Greens Committee, Tom, and I would simply ask that everyone remember to RESPECT their fellow members by following this course initiative:
Repair your ball mark and one other.
Every divot should be replaced when possible.
Sand should be thoroughly raked each time you are in a bunker.
Please park your cart 30 feet from greens and tees to help keep the surround turf more playable.
Enter and exit bunkers from the flat back side.
Care and think about the members playing behind you.
Together this will make a HUGE difference!
Thank you so much for your cooperation regarding this matter. Here are some answers to other frequently asked questions I receive over the course of the year:
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. If you experience an exploding divot, replace what grass you can and please step down onto the divot to minimize its size of impact.
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 cleaner. 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 of soil, which leads to dull mower blades during the next mowing. The grounds staff periodically fills all fairway divots during the golf season.
What is the greens rolling schedule on a weekly basis?
Starting this year, during a normal week greens are rolled on Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. All of these scheduled days are dictated by weather and turf conditions.
What is the preferred divot pattern on the practice tee?
The above picture illustrates 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. We do our best not to interrupt your enjoyment of the golf course, but if you see a maintenance staff member working around 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?
The above pictures are not preferable methods to care for the bunker sand after you play! 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?
- To 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 339 acres
- 132 acres of maintained turf
- 47 acres of natural grassland
- 116 acres of mixed forest habitat (prairie and wooded habitats)
- 41 acres of farmland that is cash rented out
- 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 and his staff.
- 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.