Golf Course Management

JUN 2013

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 83 of 157

Through the green Jack Fry, Ph.D. Golf's edges and inches Tony Gonzalez, the Atlanta Falcons' tight end and an NFL standout for 16 years, most of those with the Kansas City Chiefs, understands the importance of boundaries. While playing against the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs last season, Gonzalez went up high to receive a pass delivered by Matt Ryan, and came down with both feet in bounds — barely. The touchdown resulted in a 10-0 lead that was eventually relinquished, and the Seahawks moved on to the NFC Championship game, but on that play, Gonzalez was clearly aware of where he was on the feld, and cognizant of the impact landing outside the boundaries would have on the result of his efforts. Edges and inches also matter in golf and course maintenance. Some boundaries must be defned by the superintendent's maintenance practices, others by using paint, just as on an NFL feld. Think about your course and the maintenance practices you use. Can the golfer easily distinguish the edge of the bunker from the surrounding turf? Is it clear where the collar ends and the putting surface begins? Are stakes and/or painted lines used to mark water hazards, lateral water hazards and out-of-bounds areas? Bunkers with well-defned edges help to reduce confusion and prevent offcials from making rulings during tournaments. If the golfer's ball is in the bunker, the player can't, without penalty, ground his club (Rule 13-4 a) or remove a loose impediment (Rule 13-4 c), and must take relief from immovable obstructions (Rule 24-2b) and abnormal ground conditions (Rule 25-1b) by dropping inside the bunker. Likewise, a putting surface with a clearly defned edge will avoid subjective determinations of whether the ball is resting on its surface. If the golfer's ball lies on the putting green, he can't, without penalty, putt and hit the fagstick (Rule 17-3), putt and hit another ball lying on the green (Rule 19-5), or touch the line of putt (Rule 16-1a). Should the ball lie just off the green on the collar, all of these are permissible (although, by defnition, putting from off the green is not counted as a putt). Imagine if NFL players like Gonzalez were playing on a feld where boundaries weren't marked. Receivers would have the whole property at their disposal, line judges wouldn't be necessary and chaos would ensue. Golf courses that are not 78 GCM June 2013 marked make it diffcult for golfers to play by the Rules, as well. Stakes are used to indicate to the golfer, from a distance, the boundaries for water hazards (yellow), lateral water hazards (red), and out of bounds (white). Lines of the same color painted on the ground defne the boundaries. Is your golf course marked in such a way that a golfer can play by the Rules and record a score that he is confdent refects his performance? The Rules of Golf should govern how the superintendent The Rules of Golf should govern how the superintendent prepares the course for a "game," just as the rules of football govern how the sports feld manager lays out the playing feld. prepares the course for a "game," just as the rules of football govern how the sports feld manager lays out the playing feld. Putting stakes in place and painting lines on a regular basis requires effort and some expense. However, this should be part of the golf course maintenance budget, whether the pro shop or the maintenance staff performs the task. Do edges need more defnition at your golf course? GCM Jack Fry, Ph.D., is a professor of turfgrass science and the director of the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. He is a 16-year educator member of GCSAA.

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