Tuesday, June 16, 2015

It has been a long time since I posted anything on my blog but it is time that I get back to posting some videos of new operations that we are doing here at the club.  As you are aware, as a member, we have been running the Cub Cadet RG3 robotic mowers on the greens for a little over a year now.  Below are the findings from using the robotic mowers on one of our nines last year compared to using the standard methods on the other 18 holes. 

RG3 Robotic Mower vs. a standard mower and greens roller:

1.       Proven - Smoother, more consistent greens (fewer foot prints, reduced edging observed in the turf as normally seen with a Salsco roller) (this is seen even more dramatically at night with headlights shining on the green surface).
2.       Proven - Higher greens quality conditioning available on “wet” days vs. traditional methods. (RG3 has shown to be able to be utilized following periods of rainfall when we otherwise could not use the traditional Salsco roller because of risk of damage to the greens surface).
3.       Proven – complete reduction in wear patterns on the front and back of the greens from the excessive Salsco rolling of the greens (the RG3 is programmed to not turn in the same place every day and it turns with less abrasion then the standard mowers). 
4.       Proven – complete reduction in wear patterns on the collars from the standard mowers making turns.
5.       Proven – complete reduction in mower marks that are created as the standard mowers are dropped onto the greens surface. 
6.       Proven -- Precise and reliable clean-up-cut; no more greens creep.
7.       Proven – ability to mow the greens in complete darkness giving the opportunity to open one 9 at 7:00 a.m. for daily play. 
8.       Proven -- Improved daily greens speed residual vs walk mower and Salsco prepared greens (fairer play conditions for tournaments throughout the entire day).
9.       Proven -- Greens aesthetics - dramatic striping from rolling and mowing on the same pass - no other equipment in the world can do this. 
10.   Improved work force enthusiasm (reduced weekend work hours).
11.   Improved player experience – moving of 2nd assignment jobs to 1st assignment (reduced noise and interruption).
12.   Improved player experience – less noise when teeing off on 1 blue and 1 gold in the morning when my employees are cutting and rolling 9 blue green.  The RG3 will mow and roll quietly with no interference. 
13.   Extended lifetime and value of existing equipment such as greens mowers and greens rollers due to reduced use.

The following video shows the operation of the robotic mowers from beginning to end and I have verbal narrations explaining the procedure throughout the video. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Can a flagstick prevent a hole-in-one?

I was told many years ago that the flagstick makes a difference with holing out good chip shots. Ed Vietmeier was the golf pro at Duquesne Golf Club and he showed me that the larger 1 inch flag sticks rejected many of his hard putts where as the ½ inch flagsticks allowed most of them to drop. Because of this, I decided to set up a simple test using the Pelz Meter to see if golf balls would in fact bounce off flagsticks differently according to their design.

To conduct this test, we use three different sets of pins and a regulation cup. We set up our Pelz Meter, which is similar to a Stimp Meter, one foot away from the center of the cup. We rolled 30 balls down the Pelz Meter at each of the flagsticks. We removed a ball from the cup every time one landed in it to make sure the balls leaning against the flagstick didn’t have any effect on vibration or stability. We wanted to simulate a chip shot as it hits the flagstick. It was important to make sure all the balls hit the flagstick dead-on and at the same speed to see how the ball would react.

After rolling 90 balls down the Pelz Meter, the results were in. With the ½ flagstick we used this year 93% of the balls fell into the cup. With the old 3/4 inch tapered flagstick, 80% of the balls fell into the cup. The old 1 inch aluminum flagstick that had been used at the club before my employment had only 20% of the balls fell into the cup. The complaints that I had heard throughout the years turned out to be valid. With these results, I decided to check on hole-in-ones and found some very interesting statistics.

Valley Brook had the following hole-in-ones over the following five year periods:

1995 – 1999 - 34 hole-in-ones - ½ flagsticks were in use
2000 – 2004 - 16 hole-in-ones - 1 inch aluminum flagsticks were in use
2005 – 2009 - 32 hole-in-ones - ½ flagsticks were in use

The one inch flagsticks were used from 2000 – 2004 backing up the study that I conducted. Have you noticed a difference or have you every thought of a flagstick actually could make a difference?

Please watch the following video to see the demonstration that a flagstick really can make a difference.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

White and Green Post

Last month I talked about the weather and I am going to talk about the weather again this month. It rained just about every day in May making conditions not very good for golf cart travel. Carts continued to be restricted to paths more than they ever have and we also started using white and green stakes to help protect wet areas from damage. You can see from the picture below that we are placing the stakes in a circular pattern without rope and we would like the carts to stay out of that area. This system has been working very well and it has helped to protect our course from unnecessary damage.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Hello, sorry that I have not kept up with this as much as I should. I will try harder to get it done. Last Friday during the Mini Invitational (5/13/11) our course took a direct lightning strike on 1 blue fairway near the new bunker on the right. You can see from the pictures below that it blew several holes into the ground that are 3 foot deep that happen to be right on top of a bundle of irrigation wires controlling the irrigation heads on that hole. You can see in the second photo that the grass is dying in the typical lightning pattern as it branches out from the central strike point.

So I think now is a good time to review our lightning warning system. We use one of the best systems available and it is extremely accurate. It has not given us a false alarm since it was installed two years ago, unlike the old system that sounded false alarms on a regular basis. Our system is set to the national standard 10 mile radius from our location, meaning if we have one strike within 10 miles from us the alarms will sound. The all clear siren will go off after 20 minutes of the last strike within the 10 mile radius. I see several members disregard the sirens and continue play taking a huge risk even though having been warned. Below is some information about the company that we utilize for our lightning protection system.

Weather Decision Technologies, Inc. (WDT) Receives AMS Award

By : Matthew Piette, Chief Marketing Officer

Posted January 24, 2011 06:19 to News Seattle, WA, January 24th, 2011

– Weather Decision Technologies, Inc. (WDT) has been awarded the American Meteorological Society Award for Outstanding Services to Meteorology by a Corporation. The citation from the Council of the AMS commends WDT “for ten years of exceptional service in transferring innovative science and technologies from research and development to customer-focused operational meteorological products and services.”

The formal presentation of the WDT award will be made at the Annual Awards Banquet to be held on January 26th, 2011, at the Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, during the 91st Annual Meeting of the AMS.

“We are delighted to be the recipient of this prestigious award,” said Mike Eilts, President and CEO of WDT. “Over the past ten years, our expert staff of meteorologists have focused on providing state-of-the-science weather detection, nowcasting, and forecasting systems for global deployment in operational environments,” said Eilts. “More recently, we have extended our offerings to provide critical Weather as a Service™ (WaaS) turnkey software solutions, providing dynamic interactive, mobile weather, alerting, and mapping applications for the world's leading local media and Internet companies. “

WDT is a leader in providing value-added weather content, geo-mapping solutions and mobile alerting applications to their customers. The company counts as clients most of the United States' leading weather services and interactive media outlets, as well as governmental, industrial and military weather customers from all over the world. Founded in 2000, WDT has been awarded Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 status five times after experiencing 80 percent annual growth during its first four years and continued rapid growth in the past few years.

WDT has its roots in transferring technology from Federal and University Meteorological Research Organizations and operationalizing that technology to provide value-added content to its partners. As an example, WDT has licensed state-of-the-science technologies from the National Severe Storms Laboratory, MIT Lincoln Laboratories, the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, the University of Oklahoma and McGill University, among others, to provide superior weather prediction capabilities to companies with weather sensitive end consumers.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Leveling 3 red green

The video below shows the leveling of the front of 3 red green and is basically a continuation of my previous post about 8 red green.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The leveling of 8 red green

The reconstruction of 8 red green:

This project has been talked about for several years at the committee meetings and now that we have finished lengthening the course with new black tees it has come to fruition. For anybody that plays golf at Valley Brook on a regular basis it has been very apparent that we have not used the fronts of three and eight red greens for several years because of the modern day green speeds. You may not realize that the average green speeds have increased by 20% over the past ten years in our region. This has evolved because of better aerification, topdressing techniques and mostly from the use of growth regulators.

The following video shows the process that we took to lower the center of the green which in turn levels the front of the green. We were only able to do this lowering because this particular green had two feet of sand mix in the center of the green which is very unusual with green construction. With proper green construction we would have hit the gravel blanket by lowering the surface making it unfeasible. Once again for those of you that play a lot likely have seen us hand syringing that part of the green often because of this excessive amount of sand causing isolated dry spots. We have been asked about why we did not raise the front of the green instead of lowering the middle. This would have caused even deeper sand depths in the front causing additional problems with the sand being far in excess of normal construction. We currently have this problem on five gold green with the reconstruction methods using excessive sand amounts causing us to hand syringe that green often throughout the day.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Timber in the ponds

Have you ever wondered why we leave the old timber floating around in the ponds? As you can see from my picture below it gives the turtles in our ponds somewhere to sun themselves. It is part of our jobs to be good environmental stewards, which includes helping out wildlife when we can.