Friday, September 23, 2011

The TOUR Championship

Just getting back in town from volunteering for The TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club.  Congratulations to Ralph Keeple, CGCS, his assistants Adam Wilhite and Kyle Johnson, and the entire agronomy staff on having the golf course in immaculate conditions, as they always do.  This is the second opportunity I have had to volunteer at East Lake and each year I come away from the course educated and amazed.



The greens at East Lake are the best greens that I have ever set foot on.  To say that they are great would not do them justice.  The best way that I can describe how smooth the greens are would be to tell you to take a piece of paper and lay it flat and that would be getting close.


 I started out Wednesday by helping to clean the tee complexes of leaf and grass clipping debris as well as broken tees and anything else that needed to be done following the mowing of the tees. 


Use of the infamous "thumpometer" to determine the firmness of the greens.  The greens which felt very firm under foot were said to be "rather soft" according to the man taking the readings.


The afternoon shift was a case of absolute organized chaos.  With an outdoor Darius Rucker, former lead singer for Hootie and the Blowfish, concert getting started near #6 green the maintenance crew started their evening work on #5.  Greens were rolled, fairways and intermediates mowed, leaves and debris blown off, fairway divots cleared and filled in, ballmarks repaired and topdressed, and bunkers cleaned out and rolled to pack the sand were among just a few of the jobs that were being carried out.


Trio of John Deere fairway mowers mowing the fairways in half. 


BJ and Dustin of Modern Turf, suppliers of Mini-Verde, the turfgrass which is on the greens at East Lake helping to fill fairway divots.


Bunker faces were heavily watered and then rolled with a squeege roller to firm the sand on the banks so the ball would not "plug" in the sand and would roll back down into the bottom of the bunker.
Equipment train moving from the front nine to the back nine during the afternoon.  4 fairway mowers, 2 rollers, a triplex, tractor, and a multitude of utility vehicles formed the convoy that got a police escort down the main road because of the activity around the clubhouse and 18th green prohibited normal movement to the back nine.

Golf Channel commentator and former PGA golfer Frank Nobilo out on the greens in the afternoon rolling some balls around so that he can discuss how they are playing the next day on air.


Thursday morning started with a slight bit of rain which meant that we didn't have to hand water fairways, which is what I did last year.  My assignment for the morning was to hand rake the sand bunkers.  The level of attention to detail carries over all aspects of the course set up including the bunkers.
A good friend of mine Tim Boles (in the hat) proudly standing near one of his bunkers.


Details, details, details.  That's what it is all about at East Lake.  The bunkers are raked in a specific pattern with a specified amount of pressure on the rake handle.  If not done correctly you were "asked" to go back and redo them.  Luckily, Shannon and I did not have to go back and rerake any of the ones we did.



East Lake clubhouse


Mr. Vijay Singh helping a golfer with his swing on Wednesday during the Tour clinic.

Seating area around #18 green where attention to detail continues.















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