Standard Golf launches liquid fertilizer

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Raise your hand if you would like 12 energetic and caring teenagers to volunteer hours to maintain the course. That’s exactly what the women’s golf team at FW Buchholz High School did one day in August, after practice, when each member of the team spent nearly two hours helping to pull the grass. greens at their home course, the Hawkstone Country Club, in Gainesville, Florida.

Under the supervision of the superintendent Joe Holden, who helped build and lay out the Gary Player Design 18-hole course that opened in 1993, the girls began with a short introduction and safety demonstration. They learned what hen grass is, how to identify it on the greens, and how to carefully remove it with utility knives. There were six knives to share so coach Marc Ellard and the girls devised a system to maximize efficiency. Some girls placed tees to identify the hen grass, some brandished knives, some filled the larger holes with green sand, and some picked up the plants.

Holden came up with the idea of ​​having members of a golf team help out on the course a few years ago. Hawkstone is also home to the Oak Hall School men’s golf team, coached by Frank Anderson. The boys’ team have helped on several occasions, this year pulling seaweed from bunkers and previously pulling green weeds from kyllinga during the rainy season. “I told the girls they had the easier job of the two,” Holden laughs. “But seriously, it’s hard to assign people I don’t have to do tedious tasks that make a big difference.”

“The bunkers and greens aren’t bad, but sometimes you get to the end of summer and you have issues with staffing and prioritizing tasks. You have to fix that,” Holden adds, and extra help at this time of year is invaluable. There are five full-time maintenance workers at Hawkstone, including Holden, and its strong seasonal staff are mostly students who work part-time and have to leave when it’s time to return to campus.

Holden knows that its flexible work system saves labor money and gives its affectionately named “turfers” the chance to work. This offers Holden a chance to stay the course in a way that meets his high expectations and those of the club. “Most of us superintendents have had to be very creative in how we try to accomplish the tasks we want to do, to make the course as good as possible with the hours of work we have available,” says Holden, referring to the industry-wide workforce. challenges.

Ellard, who coached the Buchholz women’s team for 11 years, led them to compete at Florida State last year and they’re working toward another deep run in the playoffs. “This is the first year that our team has taken part in this type of project. What a great way to give back to the course and get some insight into greens maintenance,” says Ellard. “The girls loved the event. Many did not know what finger millet was or how to spot it. This gave them a better appreciation of what is going on in the interview. I think they will be more concerned with taking care of the greens, fairways and bunkers around our course.

Braydn Smith, currently the team’s No.1 player, strives to improve every day. With Hawkstone being a private club part of the ClubCorp portfolio and the team benefiting from the use of such an excellent facility, members notice and appreciate the student-athletes volunteering to help maintain the 6 502 yards, par 72. “I loved helping take care of the greens at Hawkstone and loved being able to give back to the people who let us practice there,” says Smith, who now knows more about how to protect the greens. “The work done by the student-athletes is very effective,” says Holden, praising their efforts, and it helps them appreciate what it takes to create great playability and aesthetics.

Holden prides itself not only on its part-time work system, but also on a reclaimed water irrigation process it has in place. He also works to “develop the eye” of his staff. Hawkstone staff have playing privileges, and Holden believes that “your team’s effectiveness (whether they play or not) is how they develop their eye. What they see is out of place and being able to notice a tiny little thing is definitely part of that,” he says. He also finds the original greens, planted with Jones Dwarf Bermuda grass, to be in good condition and the cultivar to be very hardy and manageable. “He’s got a backbone,” Holden says.

Finding a volunteer who might want to join the crew would be a huge bonus. “Once in a while you run into someone who expresses an interest in agronomy, maintenance and all that goes on behind the scenes,” says Holden. Both teams have done a great job learning what it takes to maintain the course, improve playability and how to work together for an efficient and environmentally friendly outcome. The student-athletes, members and crew of Hawkstone can be proud of their club and their collaboration, and Holden should be proud of the continued execution of a great idea.

Lee Carr is a Northeast Ohio-based writer and frequent contributor to the golf course industry.

Learn more about Hawkstone

At Hawkstone Country Club, where Evan Walker is the head golf pro, young golfers have no shortage of ways to learn. The ClubCorp facility offers weekly CRUSH IT! Junior golf program. CRUSH IT stands for trust, respect, understanding of self-discipline, hard work, integrity and talent. The program helps junior golfers ages 4-11 reach their potential on the course and encourages “skills for golf, skills for life.” Hawkstone also offers week-long golf camps, tournaments, private and group golf lessons.

Thanks to Mindy Herrick, an alumnus of the Buchholz Ladies Golf Team, who works for the Hawkstone Country Club. She took and shared the photos and was excited about and supportive of this engaging event.

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