Golf Course Management

AUG 2014

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 26 of 126

A player development program at Prince GC has been a success. Photo courtesy of Derrick Watts A player development program that was initiated 16 months ago at Prince by a combined effort from the man - agement team has been a big hit. As of June, more than 600 people have tried the program, which consists of a six-hole pitch and putt. Each afternoon, the driving range is cleared to make way for the Mini Prince Par-3 that opens at 4 p.m. Holes on the family-friendly course range from 48 to 91 yards and include an 8-inch-diameter cup to try to increase playability and enjoyment. It takes about 30 minutes to play, allowing each guest a chance to play six, 12 or 18 holes. Watts and his crew mow the fairways twice a week and the roughs once weekly; they also verticut and fertilize the six-hole facility to keep it in top condition. He is thrilled by the response. "This has come out 10 times better than I had hoped," Watts says. "The beneft for me is in the afternoon, driving up there and seeing so many people, families, enjoying it. For $15 you can play it as much as you'd like. That's a pretty good deal. I think we will see more children take up the game because of something like this." Watts isn't a native of Hawaii, but has spent more than a decade off the mainland, having gradually worked his way west. He grew up in the small town of Berthoud, Colo., located about halfway between Denver and Fort Collins. He developed a passion for golf, frst working at Grand Lake (Colo.) Golf Course. Watts laughs when recollecting the beginning. "My frst day they asked, 'Do you have any questions?' I said, 'How do you keep the grass so low?' They said, 'You'll fnd out.' I was given a walk mower real soon," says Watts, who earned a degree in horticulture with a specialty in turfgrass management at Montana State University. He served as superintendent at Kapalua Resort from 2007 to 2011 before coming to Prince, where the course was un - dergoing a renovation. On a course that features ocean views and is perched on a 70-foot cliff, Prince GC's main challenges for Watts include dollar spot on paspalum and maintaining an ev - er-encroaching jungle year round. They receive 85 inches of rain annually, much of that coming December through February. Challenges aside, Watts talks like Prince GC is exactly where he wants to be. People ask him all the time if he is interested in leaving Hawaii and returning to Colorado or someplace else on the mainland. For now, he has no plans to leave. The Mini Prince Par-3 is one of the reasons why he is pleased to remain part of an initiative that he feels is much needed at a spot in which exotic choices abound. "We have an activity for the whole family that lets them have fun and get in touch with the game," Watts says. "I'd never really been involved in something like this. We have something important to offer. I'm proud of that." — Howard Richman, GCM associate editor 22 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.14 One grain of sand contains as many atoms as there are grains of sand on a beach* Height of world's tallest sandcastle (in feet), completed on July 4, 2007, in Myrtle Beach, S.C.* 49.55 3% The threshold for clay content in bunker sand before drainage is impeded † 90-120 The number of days (plus plenty of rainfall or irrigation) it takes for new sand to set up properly to prevent buried lies in bunkers † 1/8-1/4 Typical thickness (in inches) of crusting layer in a golf course bunker † * † USGA Green Section Record To the Beach 20 Minimum infltration rate (in inches per hour) for sand being considered for bunkers †

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