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Randy Wilson: Here at the 'Rock

Dynamics in Golf Course Maintenance

Posted in Rockbottum Philosophy 15 January 2017 · 480 views

The most consistent complaint I receive concerning our films would be the perception of inconsistency.  The caller (it's always the phone, presumably to avoid leaving written evidence) lectures me on the need to stick with one kind of format, style, etc.


80% want golf related humor, mostly for stress relief after a difficult day.  Another 10% would prefer serious topics on industry trends, while about 9% just want to see features on fellow golf course superintendents.  That last 1% want me dead.


The process we follow here at The Bottum is based on Dynamics.  To understand Dynamics, we should first look at how it is employed in music.


The use of Dynamics in music is critical; the most powerful symphony will move from loud and powerful to soft and gentle, lulling one into a sense of calm, just before exploding in volume and tempo.  When Dynamics are ignored, such as when a hard-rock band from the 70s turns it up to 11 and stays there for hours, things quickly get boring.


The best film directors knew this key principle and used it to create movie masterpieces, in films like "Sullivan's Travels" or "Jeremiah Johnson".  A quiet scene intensified the sudden transition to action, unlike the modern action film that takes off after the title and never lets up until the credits roll.


The best golf course architects understood the concept of Dynamics, by creating an adventure to be experienced by the golfer.  A wild and difficult hole was more interesting if preceded by a gentle, or "breather" hole.  Simply stringing together 18 difficult holes would destroy player interest.


Golf course maintenance is similarly affected by Dynamics.  Narrow fairways bordered by deep rough and greens running at hardwood floor speeds are incredibly boring.  The player is forced to play one shot to remain alive and strategy fades out, replaced by a death march mentality.


It is impractical for golf to maintain the pace of a Jason Bourne film when setting up a golf course, but because of TV saturating weak minds, that's just what some superintendents are forced to do by committee demands.


Experts on the golf forums, especially the architecture forums, bemoan the "weak" hole they encountered on an otherwise acceptable golf course, often discussing ways to "toughen up" the hole.  Sort of cranking the course up to "11".  


 . . . remember that growth regulator that was causing melons to explode in Asia?

The Dynamics in use here at Rockbottum Films are similar to those I have attempted to explain in the previous paragraphs.  We like to alternate theme music, moving from Blues to Big Band to orchestras.  We try not to hit the same targets too often, we change film styles, avoid sneaking in the same hidden messages and vary the run time.  Over the years, we have learned that short comedy films do better in the summer--and longer films, full of deep intellectual premises, would be more successful in the winter, if only we had some intellect.


Anyway, take a close look at your course and see if Dynamics could improve how the player enjoys the round.  Oh, and for that 10% demanding serious films . . . remember that growth regulator that was causing melons to explode in Asia?  Here's a serious film on that topic.


Skeletal Golf: The Hidden Chart

Posted in Skeletal Golf 09 January 2017 · 327 views

Over 20 years ago, we developed a Chart of Golf Course Stratification, to help us categorize courses and determine what type of player we would encounter.  The Chart also aided us in creating a maintenance plan to fit the player, the budget and the personnel we could afford.


This film offers 5000 CEUs toward MOGS, or Mystic Order of Greenkeeper Stratification. For a small fee, you can skip re-stratification, cause we're pretty up front about the whole thing.






TurfNet Forum Reveals Surprising Netflix Favorites

Posted in Rockbottum Philosophy 02 January 2017 · 412 views

TurfNetters, in a recent Forum discussion on Netflix viewing, revealed a sophisticated appetite for quality TV.  I expected this, as TurfNet members tend to be more intellectual than residents of other golf internet sites, where "reality" shows rule.  


Here at Rockbottum CC, we strive to present an outward image of sophistication and erudite intellectualism, but when alone with Netflix in our darkened home theatre/cart barn, we like to watch British TV comedy.


Once you learn the language, Brit TV is excellent fare.  (Use the subtitles feature.)  Canadian sci-fi and Scandinavian detective shows are really good and there are a few high quality American shows.  A lot of American TV has become predictable and desperate, as if it's written by accountants trying to replicate previously successful formulas rather than producing original material.  Having studied Hollywood's 7-Beat screenwriting technique, I enjoy calling out lines and plot developments in domestic TV.  (I wonder if that's why even our dog Hogan refused to watch TV with me?)


Brit TV is superior.  I absorbed what culture I have from Brit TV.  Not 'Downton Abbey', I'm referring to 'Fawlty Towers' and 'The IT Crowd' and 'Doc Martin' and 'Keeping Up Appearances'.  Ludell's fashion sense came from "Onslow" a character on 'Keeping Up Appearances', but the mullet and mustache was stolen from the 1972 version of Ken Mangum.


'Fawlty Towers' was my favorite show for decades, although I couldn't quite figure out why.  I studied the scripts obsessively and watched the shows over and over, laughing at Basil as he struggled for success.  Saddled with a cruel wife and a completely incompetent doofus as his assistant, Basil tried hard to raise the standards of his hotel to attract the elite, while ignoring his true support, the middle class.


Ludell's fashion sense came from "Onslow" a character on 'Keeping Up Appearances', but the mullet and mustache was stolen from the 1972 version of Ken Mangum...


Basil was desperate for a glowing review from royalty, yet even with his aggressive marketing and infrastructure improvements, he still failed.  


And then one day, it hit me . . . I was the Basil Fawlty of golf.


Instead of Manuel, I had Buddy.  Instead of Sybil, I had Momma.  No matter how hard I tried to get the elite to visit and elevate us to golf's knighthood, it just would not happen.  I realized the same theme ran through 'Keeping Up Appearances', as Hyacinth struggled in vain to gain the approval of Brit society's upper crust.


I had been trying to get golf royalty like Brad Klein to visit Rockbottum CC and review my design, but was rebuffed at every turn.  Geoff Shackelford ignored our pleas, as did Whitten and Arnold and Jack.  Oh, the reviews came, and they were very good, it's just they weren't written by the aforementioned elite; the names were Cletus and Odell and Buford and they wore overalls and played barefoot.  (At least they didn't change their shoes in the parking lot.)


Once I accepted the truth, it was easy to sit back and enjoy Basil and Sybil and Manuel . . . and hey, since it's 

only January and we are facing 90 days of early darkness, cold and wet, go on the TurfNet Forum and check out what your brethren are watching on Netflix.  Try some Brit TV, like 'The IT Crowd' or go back and watch some vintage Rockbottum TV on TurfNet.


Time to sign off here at Fawlty Towers Golf Club and Resort, cause Momma just walked in and said "Break's over boys, grab a shovel."  Better go change cups, put some mints on some pillows and slip that paper over the commode.


The LPC Course Recon

Posted in Skeletal Golf 26 December 2016 · 309 views

During the Ryder Cup, Chris Tritabaugh shocked and amazed the international media by using a little known Skeletal Golf technique, "The LPC Course Recon".


Instead of relying upon a truck or utility vehicle, Chris used the LPC, (Leather Personnel Carrier) to perform his critical daily course survey/analysis.   While the media immediately recognized Tritabaugh's smooth, calm management style and firm grip on logistics, crew deployment and situational response, they were awestruck by his radical course recon method using the LPC.


(The LPC is very familiar to members of the golf world with a military background.)


Rockbottum theory on the media's reaction to the near superhuman "Tritabaugh Method" indicates they must have very little experience using the LPC and therefore, feel inferior or suspicious of CT.


The LPC is critical to Skeletal Golf Theory; our second article written for Superintendent News back in '02 was entitled "Walk Your Course" and dealt with the increased awareness one develops for the normally unseen aspects of the course . . . and other benefits.


Walking the course allows the GCS and the player to "feel" the course underfoot, to better judge the firmness, whether the playing surface is dry or moist, to see the course as the player sees it, and to discover the things hidden from the cart path "Drive By".


Here's a short film on the Skeletal Golf version of the LPC, along with the downside of using the Drive By to do your morning course recon.  Let's all be more like Chris and get out there on our LPCs.


A Christmas Card on Film

Posted in Rockbottum Philosophy 15 December 2016 · 845 views

Merry Christmas from Rockbottum CC Films.  Shot in Highlands on a cold night, we couldn't resist sharing this Christmas card on film with TurfNet.


HIghlands is a tiny village on a plateau in the Appalachians at just over 4000 feet, known for amazingly beautiful golf courses, waterfalls, deep dark forests, wildlife and . . . a downtown display of Christmas decorations that reminds us of a simpler, slower time.


Highlands is also home to top golf course superintendents like Fred Gehrisch, Brian Stiehler and just down the ridge a piece, Steve Mason. 


Randy Wilson's blog is sponsored by VinylGuard Golf and Macro-Sorb Technologies

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