Thursday, May 30, 2024

Golf Traffic (Walking and Carts)

    As we are all aware, HMGC is a very busy golf course. This equates to increased wear and tear on our turf from not only golf carts, but push carts and foot traffic as well.  With any traffic it is best to walk or drive on the healthiest looking turf and avoid pathways where the turf is laying down or damaged from previous traffic. General rules that I am sure we have all heard is to keep carts at least 30 feet from greens and tees, but ON the CART PATH when available. 

    We use yellow ropes and stakes to protect wet/soft areas after rainfall and also to direct traffic around greens and tees. Around greens and tees our goal is to move traffic around so that all turf receives equal traffic but the turf closest to play receives little to none. As you can see below we are trying to push traffic as far away from the playing area where most shots will "miss". This does create a wear area on its own but if no rope was there the worn area would be right next to the bunker as it is the closest spot to the green. 

Every year we try to pick a cart path to repair or replace. With the amount of money that we have invested over the years we ask that you please stay on paths where they are available. This may require a few extra steps, but the materials (fertilizer, water, sod) and labor (fertilizing, roping, aerifying) will allow us to be more efficient with our finances. My personal pet peeve is a couple or all tires hanging off the paths. 


Finally, if you have to pull one of our ropes and stakes to hit a shot, please put the stake back in the ground after your shot is taken. This will insure that areas stay protected. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Record setting April rainfall.

The golf course opened on March 2nd this year, but we really have not had a consistent stretch of nice weather to reward the early start. Cold was the culprit in March and rain has been the norm in April. The creek has come out of its banks 3-4 times already this year, and last year we were in the midst of a 22 day drought that kept the creek in check, but had us scrambling for help with our turf. 

April has brought us almost 8 inches of rain which beat the record of a little over 7 inches, set in 1929. Year to date we are 6 inches over our normal average to date. 

The golf course in general drains extremely well, but the take home story, we are at the mercy of the creek. The entire course eventually drains into the creek. As the creek rises the drain tiles that empty directly into the creek, fill up and water will work backwards through the drains and fill bunkers and low areas. While this sounds like a problem, it is actually advantageous, as it allows all water to drain back into the creek as the creek level goes down. This eliminates standing water and large puddles that develop where the creek crests the banks but it presents an opportunity for the water to drain back into the creek once water levels go down.

The most unfortunate part of the creek flooding is that we lose access to 9, 10, 11 and sometimes 2 bridge. The bridge on 2 is the last that we lose access to, and once this happens we lose most access to the south portion of the course. 

Please be patient as we are at the mercy of the creek and all areas to the west of us that drain into the creek. As you know I own a very large amount of stock in the yellow rope company and will do our best to get carts out as soon as we know that damage will be minimal or non existent.  

Pictures below are from 2021, but pretty much sum up what we look like when we lose the creek.

2 fairway looking back at 2 tee.

Standing on 11 tee box

17 looking from 7 green.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Tree Trimming along Erie Street

If you drive down Monroe Street, I am sure you have noticed the aggressive tree trimming that is being done underneath the power lines. The same will be done along Erie street on our property. In speaking with the crew that is doing the work I have learned that their goal is to have 25 feet between the tops of the trees and the power lines. (Also, please be aware that during the heat of the summer the power lines will sag substantially at times.) The crew will be topping off all of our Arborvitae along 18 tee and I have requested that they do their best to create a uniform look to the best of their abilities. Some trees, when they are finished, may need to be evaluated to see if they are worth having in that location or if a different species of tree might be a better option. Again, they are just getting started so we will see what are best coarse of action is after they have completed their work. 

Pine along Erie street right of 18 black tees.

Pine behind 18 black tee.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Golf Course Update

 I will make an effort to better tell our story here on the blog and keep membership updated on course conditions and what we have in the works throughout the season. Thanks to our loyal follower, ROB, for requesting some new content. You can also follow us on twitter @hmgcgrounds. 

While the course has been open for a few weeks, it has been hit or miss with the weather and course conditions. We are environmentally about 3 weeks ahead of where we normally are. If you have tulips or daffodils at home I am sure you have seen them start to grow. The early start to the year is a positive for the club, to golf with carts in early March is not something that happens very often. With that said, we are slowly ramping up our daily tasks and you should see improvements each time you come to the club. More benches, trash cans, tee markers and bunker rakes will go out on the course gradually as more staff returns and we have the ability to focus on daily tasks. 

Today we started clean-up and prep on the bunkers. This includes cleaning up the edges and sand that has blown out of the bunkers, removing debris, sand depth checks and raking the bunkers. The depth of sand in the bottom of the bunker should be 3-4 inches and 2 inches on the slopes. We will move some sand around to achieve the depths and will note where more sand is needed so that we can address at a later date. Most of our par 3 bunkers and a few other high traffic bunkers, like the bunker in front of 14, are yearly candidates for additional sand due to high traffic. 

Crew checking sand depths and moving sand around to achieve required depths. 

We also are trying to finish up some tasks as weather and availability allow. We added a 60 foot run drainage pipe in front of 14 green that will be finished by a contractor in the spring as they become available. We decided to start this project so that we would not have to close this hole in the spring and the contractor can pick up where we left off without being in the way. This pipe will run down to the creek in front of 15 green. Unfortunately there were a few trees near our new drain that were removed as not to clog the new drain in the future. These are decisions that are made to protect the infrastructure of the course for years to come. 

Flooding in front of 14 green. This is due to aging infrastructure that still works, but not as well as it used to. 

We will be finishing sod work along the new path on 2 green to 3 tee as soon as the sodfarms open and sod is available for purchase. 

To conclude, one of our staff members just finished up four years as a manager with the University of Toledo mens basketball team. Wes Matthews will graduate this spring with a business degree from UT and will also be returning to HMGC as he decides his next career move. Wes has worked at HMGC since he was in high school at Bedford, and is a very important piece to our great staff. Thanks WES!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Updates to dry conditions.

 This has been a very strange year to say the least. Lack of snowfall over the winter left the turf exposed and caused damage to the poa on 15, 9 and the putting green. These areas are healing well, but not as fast as some would expect. We had a choice to leave these greens open and continue play or close them and create a temporary green. The choice we made was to leave them open witch has caused a delay in how fast they are able to heal with active play on them daily. Please continue to be patient while the greens heal in. 

A cool damp April didn't do us any favors as far as warming up the soil. We see significant green up and growth when soil temperatures reach the 60 degree range. Although air temperatures are warm it does not always translate to soil temperatures rising quickly. Our last light frost was Friday, May 26th. Even though day time temps can get in the 80's or even 90's if you cool into the 30's or 40's in the evening you effectively lose any rise in temperature that we gained in the soils. 

May saw only .5-.9 inches of rain (we recorded a 1/2 inch, the airport recorder 9/10). Although we do have an irrigation system, it does have its limits, we do not have wall to wall irrigation across the course. We have a double row system on fairways and tees. This means that between the sprinklers on the left and the sprinklers on the right side on any given hole are getting adequate moisture to survive. Outside those sprinklers towards the rough is getting 1/2 the water that it needs or that the fairway is receiving. This is why you tend to see the edges of any area browning out. To get the outer edges more water would cause the in play areas of the fairways to be oversaturated which can lead to soft conditions, rutting from equipment and carts, and disease to the plants. 

The following are the irrigation totals in gallons for the last few years in May:

2023- 3,000,000

2022- 1,270,000

2021- 2,000,000

2020- 1,100,000

2019- 300,000

2018- 900,000

June 1-today we have ran a total 1,318,678 gallons. High temps last week didn't help either. We made it through and are catching up on some water with a few cloudy days. Its sad, but we are at the point where we will take a cloudy day to catch up and make a positive move forward with water.

Thank goodness for the wells, because we would not have enough water from the creek.With the extra water that we are using, the bunkers will be a lot firmer due to nightly irrigation. Bottom line is we need some rain to help us out a little bit. 

We do appreciate your understanding that our crew is doing just about all it can to keep up with this dry pattern and hope that you understand that we will not be wall to wall "green".  

Friday, April 1, 2022

Let's bring etiquette back.

 This is a good read from the USGA. The picture below is from Wednesday at HMGC on number 8 fairway bunker. I am sure we can do better, and your fellow members behind you would greatly appreciate it. 

Bring back golfer etiquette.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Recap of winter work.

 Our crew has been fairly busy over the winter with outside projects. We took advantage of snow free ground to remove trees that were unhealthy or not conducive to play. This also included cleaning out the hillside after you cross 12 bridge. While this area became more aesthetically pleasing, its main purpose was to allow you to see the fairway with the mirror behind the tee. There is such a small gap to be able to see with the mirror that the scrub tree in the picture below, once leafed out, made it nearly impossible to utilize the mirror. This will help and hopefully decrease the need to yell up to 11 tee to see if you are clear to hit. 

We are currently working on cleaning up the golf course of sticks and debris, so that when we do open we are ready to go. There still is a little frost in the ground, especially in heavy shaded areas such as 8 green complex. As we are closer to opening the proshop will send out a notice or message on the 4tees app. 

A new weather warning system with automated sirens was also recently installed. The main weather station is mounted above the proshop, with two additional sirens located on the course. One is at the snack shack and the other is mounted on the back of the driving range. This system is automated and will engage when a lightning strike is detected within 10 miles of our course. There will be one solid warning that will last for 15 seconds. When there have been no lightning strikes over a 15 minute period the system will then have 3 short five second blasts to give the all clear. This takes the human aspect out of sounding our previous sirens manually at the club and shack. The sirens can also be used to commence a shotgun start on the course. There are signs posted in the locker rooms to inform our members as well. Our weather station is equipped with a camera as well that may have an option to view via an app. 

Look forward to seeing everyone soon on the golf course. As the weather warms, hopefully we do not have to use our Elmer Fudd hats to stay warm!