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Randy Wilson

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Everything posted by Randy Wilson

  1. Don't miss this year's Turf Field Day at Rivermont, because even if your job requires doing things "the way it's always been done" . . . eventually you will need to be familiar with other ways to get it done. Mark Hoban is the tip of the spear. Come see what he's up to now.
  2. Randy Wilson

    I Did Something Crazy

    Last week, a bizarre thought entered my head and I bought my first pair of golf shoes since 1979. Claire dismissed it as a post-midlife crisis and at least two of my extra personalities cried “Foul!” . . . but I did it anyway. I have played for decades without spikes. (Not really played serious golf, just hacked around, not slow and not fast, just sorta half-fast.) I nurture an intense dislike for 8mm steel, as well as the modern plasticized ceramic Mad Max spikes. The steel, notorious for wear on hard surfaces—like wood and plastic—can leave turf as bruised as a 95 year-old MMA fighter. Steel also hurts your lower back if you walk. The Mad Max Tarantula footwear can seem worse than steel, especially on softer, wetter greens. Since modern golfers don’t get much practice walking, they are unable to lift their feet. They scuff, drag and pivot, all while trying to yank the flagstick out, due to the new rule. This creates a minefield of spike marks that look like mole crickets on meth held a mating ritual around the cup. But no worries, the Great Alphabet knew this would happen. That’s why they said we can fix spike marks now. (If the group ahead of you resembles a bunch of rice farmers squatting around the flag, be patient, they’re just fixin’ stuff.) Anyway, I bought golf shoes. I found lots of spiffy shoes, but most weren’t really for walking, they were more for cart golf. Under the “spikeless” tab on the Adidas site, I found the Tour 360 XT-SL. Soft and cushiony, they offered substantial grip and . . . they even looked good. Hey, I know what you’re thinking: Somebody slipped cantankerous old RW a Colorado Gummi Bear. No, that’s not what happened. It’s just that I have always said I would take up golf when I got old and I’m pretty sure that has happened now. The signs are there: I require the double downward karate chop to get off the sofa. I begin most sentences with “Back in my day . . . “ and when I go to the gym, I have become quite popular with the blue-haired ladies. Now in order to actually play, there has to be an event to train for—that’s just how things work. So, I decided to bring back the fabled Great Gopher Tournament. (See The Greens of Wrath for details.) The GGT has been dormant since the day we sprinkled Dad’s ashes on the 14th tee of Rockbottum CC, but now the time is right to bring the Gopher back. It would honor Dad’s memory—and Uncle Virgil, too—and give my brother Mike and I a reason to come out of golf retirement. In order to do this right, I have been researching the new rules of golf. At first, I tried to keep my pie hole shut until some actual empirical evidence came in, but I failed at that. While cavorting on a secret golf architecture forum, I provoked a senior Alphabet Rules Official concerning the new “Knee-Drop Rule”. I merely pointed out that my knee could reach all sorts of advantageous positions, from shoulder height to about an inch off the ground. He said I was an idiot and knee-dropping would speed things up. They also invented a flagstick rule to speed things up. I think a penalty box or a shock collar would work better, but you can’t argue with the genius minds at the top. Looking at things from the GCS side, I am concerned this rule will lead to player demands for softer, thinner flagsticks, with a Remington 700 extractor synched to your smartphone, popping the ball up to chest height. This will stop golfers attempting to “yank out” the ball, because after 15 yank-outs, the cup will come out, too. Then, afternoon players will experience the “Volcano Effect” and lip-outs will increase. Subsequently, the Superintendent will be hunted down and accused of collusion or something. Anyway, back to the GGT. If you would like to be considered for a coveted invitation to this autumn’s GGT, send us a PM on TurfNet or email me. Include at least one reason you should be accepted into such a high profile event. Don’t worry, you won’t have to play at Rockbottum CC, as that would be unfair. We know most of you have never played an unmaintained course; also, our nearest hotel is a truck stop out on I-75. Perhaps our TurfNet Entertainment Director might jump in here and help, providing he’s not still overseas trying to become Irish. Tournament Rules: You will need a two man team, the knee drop rule will be suspended, unless you use the Ricky Fowler variation. There will be no steel spikes or “soft and thin flagsticks”. Pre-Shot Routines are limited to 10 seconds. Momma will be on hand to run the time clock and administer penalties, with her ability to correct iron deficiencies. *Note: All matches will be filmed. No golf pros allowed. Oafs, knaves, varlets, TurfNet members and former Night Watermen will receive special preference. Winner gets a trophy. Losers will receive a signed copy of “The Greens of Wrath” and be forced to state, on camera, “I am an oaf who lost the Great Gopher”. The first formal invitations will go out to Dave Wilber, Kevin Ross, Mickey McCord, Mark Hoban, Matt Crowther and Frank Rossi. Remember, You can run, but you can’t hide. ca_wilson@yahoo.com
  3. How does Rivermont CC look so good and play so well on a such a minimalistic spray regimen? Learn one of Mark Hoban's secrets by watching this short film.
  4. Randy Wilson

    Spot Spray Techniques at Rivermont CC

    Dave, I think Mark's spirit animal is the hawk. I live up in the mountains and I have never seen so many hawks as I have on Rivermont, right in the middle of a super congested urban area.
  5. Randy Wilson

    Spot Spray Techniques at Rivermont CC

    It ain't magic, it's mathematics. Like two negatives make a positive? Two doofus make . . .
  6. While preparing for the long anticipated Rivermont Field Day, Mark Hoban is forced to explain his organic philosophy to some golfer that wandered in off the street.
  7. In this tale from The Greens of Wrath on Rockbottum Radio, young Randy relates the story from Burnt Run Country Club, circa 1971, when he employed certain hallucinogenic tactics to get his night waterman job back. Presented by Vinylguard Golf.
  8. Last week, we loaded our gear and then fought through the horrible Atlanta traffic to shoot a short film with Mark Hoban of Rivermont CC. It was the usual debacle, with us wandering around lost in Doolooth and Akworth. At one point, we entered “The Buford Triangle”, a place where road names change instantly and people vanish. Relying on business signs as landmarks is impossible, because they are written in other languages than whatever it is we speak. Never trust those fantasy maps on The Google. Anyway, we managed to arrive on time—because we always allow an extra four hours to navigate the nether world of North Atlanta—and Hoban was nowhere in sight. After some quick detective work, we determined that Mark was being filmed, interviewed and podcasted by Erik Anders Lang, a famous Hollywood producer of golf films on The Youtube. Mark ignored Momma’s texts, so she grabbed her frying pan and went up to the clubhouse to teach somebody something. But Mark was prepared, having posted Berkeley, his vicious German Shepherd guard dog, at the entrance. (Momma won’t whack a golf course dog.) After an hour of waiting in the hot sun, knowing every minute we delayed meant the possibility of being trapped in the most dreaded rush hour on the planet . . . we left. We weren’t angry, just terrified of the giant four-hour parking lot. It all turned out positive, even if we got cheated out of a shoot. Erik Anders Lang cranks out highly entertaining golf travel films, from the viewpoint of the next wave. (A refreshing change from us cranky old coffin dodgers of golf.) Erik is that golfer we have been trying to recruit for years. He took up the game late, is highly enthusiastic and has a contagiously positive attitude toward golf. Erik is one of the reasons I recently dragged out my clubs again. Another key point is when EAL visited Rivermont, he spent time with the Golf Course Superintendent. This is a great thing. I’m stoked. (That is the right word, isn’t it?) Go to The Youtube and check out “Adventures in Golf” on the Skratch channel. Erik and a sidekick visit a golf course, play it on camera and have the kind of fun we all used to have . . . before we got our hineys so twisted up in building, fixing, growing-in and maintaining golf courses. Erik will gleefully play a scruffy muni as well as an old classic, all while making a short film that delivers a strong subliminal argument for what the game needs, not what the Alphabets need. And that brings to mind a recent Dave Wilber column, “Golf Isn’t Dying, It’s Evolving”, a very timely analysis of the future. He touches on several vital areas, like “Lowering Golfer Expectations” and “The Return of The Big Mower”, along with “Just 3 Cuts”. * *Note: Every time I bring up these subjects, I am assaulted by those accusing me of “Nostalgia”, so I am grateful Dave hit it with such force. I would also remind those flinging digital road-apples at me of this: “Negative nostalgia is the rewriting of our past to be miserable and broken, because it creates continuity with our present.” Wilber’s message is the kind of thinking that will help the game in the future, considerably more than complex programs designed to “Grow” golf, as if it were some kind of stock market index dependent upon perpetual growth. We all know how to dial back expensive conditioning, but the question is: How do we get golfers on board? Lowering golfer expectations would have environmental, legal and economic benefits, but we should expect powerful resistance. Returning the average course to the dialed back conditioning of the 1970s—when the money people first targeted golf for a big boom—runs contrary to what the Great Poobahs of Ever-Increasing Grooming Standards are preaching. They won’t give up power without a knock ‘em down and drag ‘em out saloon fight. One way to get golfers on board would be through the new wave of golf filmmakers, like Erik Anders Lang and Adventures in Golf. Maybe the next wave of golfers will listen, unlike so many of the current coffin dodgers spoiled rotten by too many 5-Star hotels, gourmet meals and luxury golf carts. Golf was once, and perhaps will be again, an adventure. Oh, and since I don’t have a new film this week, due to . . . logistics and technical difficulties, here’s an old film that syncs up with Dave Wilber’s message.
  9. You know, Randy . . . that guy with the vengeance problem.
  10. We conducted small sample Clippings Volume research to determine if weighing, measuring and tasting clippings actually helps with calculating nutrient application rates. You'll be shocked at our findings.
  11. Randy Wilson

    Clippings Volume: Legit or Lame?

    Mongo, you speak pretty good Southern for somebody from way up there, dontcha know.
  12. Randy Wilson

    Is Evolution a Thing in Turfgrass?

    Brilliant stuff, Dave. Especially points 1 and 7. And "The Golf is The Golf. I think Point 7 could really have a positive effect, on every demographic, just by making the cost to play twice a week actually affordable--and not on a sim. (I hit balls on a sim yesterday. I feel tainted.) Again, excellent column. You are killing it.
  13. Randy Wilson

    I Did Something Crazy

    Thanks, Dave, we're hoping you can handle match play with the Wilson Brothers. Mark, you know our motto, "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin' hard enough." So find you a partner that's not a golf pro and prepare thyself for a thrashin'.
  14. Randy Wilson

    Clippings Volume: Legit or Lame?

    Thanks, Matt. Now if I can only stop her random, unscientific applications of iron.
  15. Randy Wilson

    Wisdom In the Craft Brew

    "Smile. Tell stories. Laugh. Eat. Be human." Well, I got three out of five. Another great column, Dave. And to paraphrase Tom Beringer in "Platoon" . . . . Birthdays? Whattayou know about birthdays?
  16. Randy Wilson

    Clippings Volume: Legit or Lame?

    Steve, I was forced into H&T because in order to maintain a less aggressive HOC, I would have to go synthetic.
  17. Randy Wilson

    Every Green Has A Sacred Spot

    More great writing from Dave on a subject a lot of us never knew went on behind that curtain. Most of my cup changing also involved a tractor pulling a trailer carrying a rake, a hose, a Toro walk-mower and a cup cutter as dull as Dick's hatband. Possibly around 18 seconds devoted to the cup. After reading your column, I now understand why I was forcibly retired from cup cutting at age 17 and "promoted" to Night Waterman.
  18. Randy Wilson

    Clippings Volume: Legit or Lame?

    Thanks, Dave . . . oh and Momma said she's available if you need some stylin'. Fair warning, she only knows one style.
  19. Randy Wilson

    Clippings Volume: Legit or Lame?

    Thanks, Kevin, but I don't know about the team part. I'm more of the dog that rides on the sled instead of pulling. I appreciate the kind words, Mark. I don't think it's growth regulator, I'm pretty sure it's a sterilant.
  20. Bowing to pressure from a couple of rabid fans of the novel, "The Greens of Wrath", here's an excerpt. For those unfamiliar with the work, all I can say is, "It's not Caddyshack". Dynamite Whups My . . . Posterior (Burnt Run CC 1971) The explosions were blamed on me, even though it was Dwight, Dad’s youngest brother, who produced the dynamite. It was a cold day in March, the folks were down in Florida where Dad was playing a tournament and Momma had gone with him. It wasn’t golf that made them travel, they were just trying to get the hell away from me and another cheap, Pseudo-Country Club with members convinced they rightfully belonged on the roster at Augusta National. Dad had left us with instructions to dig out and hack up—using an axe and shovel—a stump the size of a pickup truck buried nose first. Within the first six minutes, we hit the surrender point and that’s when Dwight, an ingenious type with the mind of an engineer and the physique of an NFL offensive lineman, had an explosive idea. We practiced on small stumps, wiring in blasting caps, putting a stick of dynamite in a hole dug under the stump and then touched off on a golf cart battery. As we progressed to bigger stumps, we discovered it was necessary to move the cart further from the site of the explosion, in order to prevent an unexpected trip to the dentist. After blowing a dozen small stumps, Dwight announced it was time to attack the big one. I was 15 at the time and totally convinced Dwight was Theoretical Physicist material, so I agreed and helped place three sticks of dynamite in holes tunneled beneath the big stump with a post hole digger, or PH.d as they are known in circles where actual work [redacted] We backed off 70 yards and touched the battery. The shock wave was visible, screaming across the ground, flattening the dormant bermuda and knocking the air out of my lungs. It would have loosened my dentures, had I possessed any. The stump was untouched. It sat there, wrapped in a wreath of smoke . . . taunting us. Enraged at this inconsistency in applied logic, Dwight made the decision to go with 12 sticks on the next try. “More dynamite,” I agreed, eager to see the effects of half a case of the stuff. It has to be said at this point, that I was not the most rational thinker, given a number of concussions from running the football and the recent proximity to a number of minor explosions. Dwight probably should have consulted with someone else, perhaps an adult, but we went immediately to work, wiring, tamping and moving the cart way back. Maybe 200 yards? I don’t know for sure. Dwight left to make sure no golfers had slipped out onto the course, as it was Monday. Back in those days, Monday was still a holy day for golf courses, a rest day or project day, in that golden time before accountants took over everything. The only chance that golfers might have snuck out onto the course would have been if a few local pros had decided to take advantage of Dad’s absence . . . and if we accidentally killed a few golf pros, well, what was the harm? I was given the honor of touching the wires to the battery and before I could look up, the turf rushed up to meet me, knocking the absolute hound out of me. The shock wave did not restrict itself to dormant grass this time, it came straight through the air. Hot, solid air, pushing toward me at warp speed; all the oxygen on the golf course vanished. I couldn’t breathe, see or think clearly. I do remember watching the giant stump leap from the ground and perform a lazy somersault, making a 3/4 flip before hitting the turf with a thud I could feel but not hear. All I could hear was this odd high pitch against that feeling of clogged ears. I then became aware of wood chips flying through the air. All sizes of splinters, flakes and shards of brittle baked oak sprinkled down like hail. Dust floated in the air as if I was caught in a dark snowstorm. We had made a tiny mushroom cloud. I was so proud. As the smoke and vapor and dust began to settle, I realized a new set of problems: Everywhere, as far as I could see, were splinters of stump shrapnel and along with all the small stumps, we faced a massive cleanup ordeal. The next problem was Dwight disappearing over the hill at high speed. I had skipped school to witness this epic day on the golf course and now, I was alone, with a mess of battlefield proportions, fully aware that Dad would return the next day. I had to figure out how to get a stump the size of a small camper trailer off the golf course and, without a blower or a vac—just a rake—hide the evidence. It took the rest of the day to drag, push and finagle the massive stump off the fairway and into a ravine. Because it weighed more than our little Ford tractor, it pulled the tractor partway into the ravine and in the dark, I rescued the tractor with the Jake F-10. I camouflaged the stump with pine branches and went home to write my obituary. * *Note: In the event any statues of lamentations are still in effect, none of this is true.
  21. Randy Wilson

    An Explosive Excerpt From "The Greens of Wrath"

    Keith, After several hours of roomination on the subject, it's possible I instigated a number of eyebrow and mullet removals my ownself. Shoulda paid more attention in Physics.
  22. Randy Wilson

    An Explosive Excerpt From "The Greens of Wrath"

    Thank you, Keith. I witnessed an "idiots with gasoline" moment in '76, when building a course. It rained most of November and we wanted a fire out where we were dropping trees, you know, for warmth and heating up pop tarts . . . and while I went off to find dry kindling, the crew made a pile of wet wood, turned over a 3 wheel Cushman and poured out the contents of the gas tank. I saw it from a distance, just like you described, a big whoosh and several guys running around like Ricky Bobby, convinced they were on fire. Back in them days, everybody had long hair and at least two mullets vanished.
  23. Randy Wilson

    Buddy's Shop

    For those wallowing in despair after hearing that Hector took his shop and runnoft . . . have no fear. Now you have "Buddy's Shop".
  24. Randy Wilson

    Buddy's Shop

    Fred, Buddy had the same tendency to increase the power on every machine that wasn't under warranty anymore. We had an ancient sand pro that could do wheelies.
  25. Randy Wilson

    Buddy's Shop

    Thanks, Kevin. Sorry I took so long to reply, been off line for days. Maybe even off-rails. Telluride is my favorite spot on the planet. It is spectacular, even if all I've seen of the golf course was from a chairlift.