Highlands Falls CC, deep in the rugged mountains of western North Carolina, is like a fairy tale golf course. It's almost too beautiful to be real, the layout is gentle and inviting and the inhabitants of this enchanted rain forest are far too pleasant for country club members.
The air is special here, at just over 4,000 feet, and standing amidst the firs, spruces and rhododendrons, it's hard to tell what is natural and what is intensively manicured. Noisy mountain streams, towering hemloc
After only 3 hours of sleep last night I had to rise for work. I am tired, but energized at the same time. To work a tournament like the Irish Open is a dream come true. Never had I thought I would be working a golf tournament with big names like Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington among others. The experience so far has been amazing. Typical morning work mowing greens. The putting green was harder to see being that we got started a bit earlier and it was darker out. I noticed that the greens di
Day 3 started early and finished late. From sun up to sun down. Today was the first split day so I got to mow the putting green, 1, 7, and 8 greens in the morning from 4:30 to 7:30. Then a short meeting before breakfast and we were able to go on our own until 4:45. After yesterday's long day, Pat and I decided to head back to the apartment and take a nap. It was good to catch some sleep before the evening work. We were put on ball mark repair for all 18 greens. That took a while since the Pro-Am
Bright and early I arrived at the course to start day 2 of the Irish Open. Just when it seemed like Pat and I had been left off the work assignments, we learned that one greens route was not taken. We got to mow the 1st, 2nd, 8th, and 14th greens. Today greens were cut on a 11-5 and 1-7 clock pattern. Not a bad morning to mow. The greens had plenty of dew on them, but got tricky when cutting over Pat's lines for the double cut. Following the greens mow, I was sent out with another worker to fill
When I had learned about getting the job at Mount Juliet from Jon Kiger, I had a meeting with Mike O'Keeffe to talk about what to do after Ireland and we decided to try and get into The Hills in New Zealand to work the NZ Open. That brought up conversation on the Irish Open in June at Fota Island. Mike said he knew Simon O'Hara there and that he would most likely take me on the crew for the week.
Once I got to Ireland I got into contact with Simon and made it official. I would be working th
"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these." George Washington Carver
So much of the information we ingest on a daily basis is based on judgment. Take to Facebook, Twitter, or even your daily newspaper, and you will find no shortage of opinions on any range of topics. In our race to share, like, or tweet, someth
Just back from a week-long tour of Sweden and turned on the Golf Channel coverage of Pinehurst. Brandel Chamblee and Frank Nobilo sat with Coore and Crenshaw, then with Don Padgett II and of course the topic was the "restoration" of #2. I think rather it is a transformation in that it offers the entire golf industry a chance to transform a culture that many leaders of the game now argue has taken golf down an unsustainable path.
Chamblee stated, "maybe we should call them putting surfaces, i
We recently visited with Super-Sod's Ben Copeland, Jr., in Fort Valley, Georgia. Ben is another of those forward thinkers, one of the sharp minds driving the leading edge in the turf business.
Like Mark Hoban, Chris Cupit, Mark Esoda and Anthony Williams, Ben Copeland is helping the turf industry to develop an aggressive defense mechanism by taking a proactive environmental stance. Testing new techniques and implementing successful variations customized to individual operations could res
When I think of summer I think of the warm sun, cool pools, cold drinks, and summer sports. One favorite that I never did enough is mini-golf, or putt-putt (depending on where you are from). It is a fun, enjoyable game filled with interesting courses and friends. That game is played on artificial surfaces with crazy features on and around the holes. It has built up sides to keep the ball in play (we all have that one friend who hits the ball all over the course) and water features for viewing pl
Ireland has a couple of sports that are unique to their country. One is hurling, a sport that is considered the fastest game on turf. For Americans we believe lacrosse to be the fastest sport, but when you see a game of hurling you can see that it is much faster. After watching my first hurling match yesterday between Kilkenny and Offaly, the first match broadcast on sky sports, I am hooked on the hurling.
Kilkenny vs Offaly at Nowlan Park
The game of hurling is played with 15 players.
Agriculture is an important part of any society and nation. Without people in agriculture there would be no food to eat. In America this month is National Dairy Month. June highlights the benefits of eating dairy in one's diet. The National Dairy Council, NDC, runs the program as well as others such as Fuel Up to Play 60 in collaboration with the National Football League. Through these programs the NDC seeks to get information out on nutrition education. This is a necessity as many Americans are
Continuing with the theme of 'preparing now for career opportunities later' I started in my last article, consider this:
Spend more time networking and playing golf with members and business people instead of your superintendent peers.
Why do I say instead of your peers? Because your free time is extremely limited and you have to put effort where it will be most valuable to your career opportunities. I am not saying to abandon colleague communication at all, I mean we are all on TurfNe
In Part 3 of 'Chasing Rivermont", Megan Hartman from the University of Georgia Experiment Station in Griffin, arrives at Rivermont early one morning to implement test procedures.
Aided by Robert Nelson, Megan begins work on over 200 plots, using commercial products and Mark's special brew at varying rates.
The Rockbottum crew was there to record the initial phase and will report back on UGA's findings.
Ludell, Rockbottum Films' producer/director, tested Mark's compost brew and qu
On Saturday my landlady Catherine and her father took me to Delta Sensory Gardens. Located in the quaint town of Carlow Delta Sensory Gardens is a learning garden open to the public and has a center for adults with intellectual disabilities. Covering 2.5 acres the garden is broken up into 20 different areas, each exploring a different part of the senses. Highly maintained beds and flowers, unique sculptures and statues, and water sections are just a few area the gardens highlight. From the broch
On the morning of May 18th, 2014, I awoke to find my mom on the floor. She was unconscious. She had a pulse and she was breathing. She was face down next to her bed. From what I could figure she had tried to get out of bed on her own and passed out. I rolled her onto her back and tried to get some kind of response. None. At all.
I knew this was coming. I didn't know how or when, but I somehow I knew. Signs? Plenty of them. But still, there are things that just don't put themselves on the cal
Changing cups is one of the most important jobs on a golf course. But why is this? Wouldn't it be simpler to leave the cup placement the same all year? While it may seem like an easier solution and would free up man hours there is much more to it than that. Changing the pin placement has many benefits including: changing course play, reducing wear, and uses the designers plan.
Course Play: Golfer's Point of View
By changing the hole to a new spot on the green changes the way a course can
'Chasing Rivermont' is a Rockbottum film series about a country club near Atlanta with a practical, comprehensive plan for facing the future of golf.
Chris Cupit, Owner/GM of Rivermont, grew up in the golf industry, thoroughly grounded in realistic golf management. Cupit is not one of the wild-eyed money people that burst into golf during the artificial growth spurt triggered by a foundation. He is very aware of the difference between the game of golf and the corporatocracy of golf.
As superintendents, we are masters of the plan. We are constantly generating schedules, programs and standards for our courses. We work with our management, architects, arborists and agronomists to chart the course for our properties and make them all they can be. But then life happens, nature happens, and our best laid plans go astray. It is at this point that the best greenkeepers shine. They are able to take the hiccups and trap doors and use them to their advantage. Whether it is a major ra
After a beautiful week last week this one has rain on the forecast. Luckily today had no rain! Recently I have been mowing greens, tees, and rough to get to know the course better. I enjoy mowing and it had been a bit different mowing greens with an 18" reel. The ones I'm used to are 21" and the tee mowers here are also 21". It takes a bit of thinking to remember that the greens mowers are 3" shorter so the sight line is different. I mowed two different greens routes this weekend and hav
Last weekend, in the lounge of the GCS Rest Home and Asylum, we were watching a TV show about sunsets and separate outdoor bathtubs on the ED Channel, when they interrupted regularly scheduled programming to show a golf tournament.
We watched in horror as a skinny fellow in bedroom slippers marked his ball repeatedly, obsessively changing the alignment of a magic line on his ball. His behavior was apparently contagious, as we all began to flinch, twitch and squirm.
Nurse Diesel, our com
Boy, if I keep riding my bike to work I will be in great shape by the end of the summer. Both ways on the 3 mile trek have uphill portions and few flat areas. The first time I biked I thought I was gonna have to walk the first hill, but I kept on. There is nothing like an early morning ride to get the blood flowing and muscles working.
As if the ride is not a workout in itself, today I went right out onto a greens mower. I am getting a lot of exercise as the greens, tees, and approaches are