TRAVELS WITH TERRY

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Globetrotting consulting agronomist Terry Buchen visits many golf courses annually with his digital camera in hand. He shares helpful ideas relating to maintenance equipment from the golf course superintendents he visits — as well as a few ideas of his own — with timely photos and captions that explore the changing world of golf course management.

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Ball Mark Repairs

The seven 2016 Toro Greensmaster Flex 2100 Walk-Behind Greens Mowers are equipped with Upshake bicycle water bottle holder brackets ($7, Amazon). The plastic Rubbermaid water bottles ($12 for three, Amazon) hold a mixture of Harrell’s Dried Bagged Green-Colored Sand with Yellow Jack Coated Pure Distinction Creeping Bentgrass Seed. Each greens mower operator divides their greens into four quadrants. Each day they fill every ball mark in a single quadrant and move to the next quadrant the following day. The setup person also goes in a circle around the hole filling ball marks until play catches them – usually 10 feet around each freshly cut hole location. The coated seed and sand is mixed together in a 5-gallon bucket for easy fill-up into the water bottles. It took minutes to install the water bottle holder brackets. Dan Dingman, superintendent at the Birmingham Country Club in Birmingham, Michigan, is very precise and exact in everything he accomplishes.

Baling Tree Leaves

Gary Zagar, the director of golf course maintenance from 1994 to 2010 at the 36-hole Quail Hollow Country Club in Concord, Ohio, would cut down between 100 and 900 dead trees annually on the heavily wooded 700-acre property. They traded the firewood for useful things from different trades and received services in return and gave it away to the police and fire departments. It also produced firewood for the clubhouse’s outdoor fireplace. They even sold firewood and bought a used Salsco roller. Zagar made a trade with a farmer, giving him firewood and borrowing the farmer’s John Deere 336 Hay Baler, which produced about 400 bales annually from 4-foot-high piles of leaves, instead of mulching and mowing over the debris. The leaf bales were sold to hunters at 75 cents per bale for blinds, to landscapers for compost and topsoil, to local nurseries to bed their plant material, and to farmers to feed their cattle. The debris problem was solved with less wear on their equipment and the idea led to a savings of about 400 gallons of diesel fuel annually. The maintenance staff also had a great party funded by the sold bales. Jeffrey Austin is the current director of golf course maintenance.

Terry Buchen, CGCS, MG, is president of Golf Agronomy International. He’s a 51-year, life member of the GCSAA. He can be reached at 757-561-7777 or terrybuchen@earthlink.net.