Friday, March 21, 2014

EMPLOYEE PROFILE - Rex Schad - Equipment Manager


        Over the next few months, I will be doing a series of blog posts that I am calling EMPLOYEE PROFILE. In these blog posts, I will be introducing some of the employees of the Jimmie Austin Golf Club Turf Care Facility and what their job function and responsibilities are within the club.

      In this inaugural blog entry, I will introduce Rex Schad - Equipment Manager. Rex Schad has over 20+ years working as an Equipment Technician and Equipment Manager in the Golf Course Maintenance Industry. He is a member of the International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association (IGCEMA) and is working on becoming a Certified Golf Course Equipment Manager thru the IGCEMA. 

      The Equipment Manager is responsible for the entire fleet of turf maintenance equipment. Jimmie Austin Golf Club Turf Care Facility has 75 individual pieces of equipment that the Equipment Manager is responsible for the maintenance and repair of. He oversees a comprehensive preventive maintenance program. This program includes the repair of failing equipment, keeping records of parts and labor needed to maintain each piece of equipment, and placing orders for parts and supplies needed for equipment or service. He is responsible for properly communicating any needs or problems relating to the maintenance or repair of equipment to the superintendent and/or the assistant superintendent, and schedule and direct the work assignments of the assistant equipment manager. He is to place safety as a top priority and is responsible for maintaining a clean service area and maintenance building. 

      One of the most important aspects of the Equipment Manager's responsibilities is referred to as "Reel Science". "Reel Science" is the proper maintenance, adjustments and set-up of reel mowing equipment to provide an exceptional quality of cut. Over time and after repetitive use, the reels on our mowing equipment will dull and they will need to be sharpened. A method called back-lapping can be utilized in between reel-grinding to keep the mowers sharp. Back-lapping is done by applying a gritty compound called lapping compound to the blade while it is running in reverse. This gritty compound will sharpen the reel against the bed-knife. However, back-lapping can only be done so many times to sharpen the blade. To keep the reel and bedknife sharp and adjusted  correctly, it is necessary to grind them periodically. To correctly grind the reel and/or bedknife, it is placed on the respective grinder, set-up and adjusted accordingly to the manufacturers recommended settings and then Spun and Relief Ground. Rex has 50 reels and bedknives that he is responsible for keeping in exceptional cutting condition at all times. Reel mowing equipment is used to maintain the greens, tees, collars, approaches, fairways, intermediate rough and courtesy paths, while, rotary mowing equipment is utilized on all of the lawn areas, rough and native areas. 

      Rex has done a wonderful job of maintaining our fleet of turf maintenance equipment. Many times the Golf Course Superintendent, Assistant Golf Course Superintendent or Turf Care Facility employees are stopped by golfers and told "how great the golf course is" or "how great of a job they are doing". While these compliments are always nice to hear, I have never had anyone stop and tell me "how great the quality of cut is today" or "how well the equipment is running". Most of our patrons have never seen or met Rex, and, have no idea just how important his job duties are to the overall maintenance of the golf course. That is why this series of blog entries is so important. I want our patrons to know who these thank-less individuals are, that they may or may not have seen on a daily basis. I want people to know what these individual's job functions are, and, what important role they play in the operation and maintenance of this great facility. 

As always any questions, comments or concerns are always welcome.

We'll see you out there!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Turf Care Facility Construction Update 3/5/2014


      Jimmie Austin Golf Club at the University of Oklahoma broke ground on the construction of a state -of-the-art golf course Turf Care Facility in September 2013. This facility, when completed, will be an approximate 2-Acre facility with (4) building structures, (2) of which are completely enclosed. We will have an ESD Waste-2-Water recycled wash system, fuel tracking software, chemical mix/load stations with spill containment, 50 ton capacity sand storage silo, bulk material storage bins, recessed slab with a parking curb for roll-away dumpsters, recycling station, greenhouse and much more. 

      Building (A) will be the main core building. It will house offices, meeting/safe room, utility vehicles, irrigation, tool & parts storage, equipment maintenance operations, employee lounge, locker rooms, laundry room, etc.

       Building (B) will be a three-sided storage building. It will be the main storage for our large mowers, tractors, topdressors, sweepers, etc.

       Building (C) will be the storage for chemical and fertilizer storage. It will also have (3) separate bays for our chemical application equipment. These bays will have a spill containment system in the floor and will have an overhead water supply to fill up the spray tanks. These bays will serve as our mix/load stations when conducting applications to the golf course. 

      Building (D) will be an open-sided structure. It will provide overhead cover for the ESD Waste-2-Water recycle wash system, as well as, fuel tanks and fuel pumping control system. The fuel pump system will come with software that will allow me to give each piece of equipment its own unique ID. By doing this, it will allow me to track our fuel consumption precisely for each piece of equipment, as well as, eliminate accidental fill-ups with the incorrect fuel type. 

      We will also will be breaking ground soon on a new turf nursery that will serve as a training center. This Turf Training Nursery will be constructed similar to a Short Game Practice area with (2) greens (A1-A4 Bentgrass & G2 Bentgrass), (2) bunkers and approximately 0.25 acres of closely mowed turfgrass area (Zoysiagrass, Bermudagrass). We will have the ability to train new employees on daily golf assignments, fine-tune equipment or conducting field trials for local educational institutions, chemical and/or equipment vendors.

      We are very excited about this new facility and the impact it will make from an environmental stewardship aspect. Are goal with this facility is for it to be as environmentally sensitive and responsible while still being a fully functioning Turf Care Facility. 

As always any questions, comments or concerns are always welcome.

We'll see you out there!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Time is BUSY TIME!

      Winter time is upon us and in full force. Temperatures have been extremely cold and working days on the golf course have been far and few between. Many people ask "What do you all do during this seasonal downtime to stay busy and productive?" All though there aren't a lot of outside jobs to do during this time of the year, there are a number of things that can be accomplished that are important to the golf course and that contribute to the aesthetics of the golf course. Many of these small projects include: re-staining the wood on the benches and water cooler stands, re-painting the trash cans and ball washers, fixing and/or touching up aged or broken bunker rakes, etc.

      Another important project that can be done during the down-time of winter, is equipment maintenance and repairs. This is a time for our Equipment Manager to tune-up all of our maintenance equipment, grind reels and bed-knives on mowers, and go over our fleet of maintenance equipment and vehicles with a fine-tooth comb and report what equipment is in fine, working order and what equipment is on it's last leg and in desperate need of repair or replacement.

      We have initiated an Equipment Purchase Plan and have been fortunate to buy and trade-in equipment as needed over the past 5 years. We hope to maintain this type of plan and continue to purchase equipment as individual pieces "life-span" expire. This way equipment expenditures will be less as years go on because of the "older" equipment still having a decent trade-in value.

      One particular piece of equipment we had that was older and had no real trade-in value was a Buffalo Turbine Blower. It was a Model KB2 Turbine Blower. This type of blower was a hard-wired remote control system and a 23 HP motor. The motor had seized up, and,  therefore that blower had no trade-in value. A new Buffalo Turbine Blower Model KB4 with a wireless remote control system and a 27 HP motor is about $7,500. I read a blog entry, written by Stephen Tucker, where he had a Model KB2 that he stripped down to the frame and replaced all of the old parts and old motor with new parts and a new, larger motor and turned it into a KB4 model. All of this was done for about $3,100 (a savings of $4,400!!!)

      This is just an example of some of the types of projects that we have been working on during this winter, and we have many more like this to continue working on. We have started counting down the days until the 2014 growing season begins, and, all of our focus returns to maintaining the golf course to exceptional standards that our patrons deserve and have come to expect.

As always any questions, comments or feedback is always appreciated.

We'll see you out there!

Monday, November 18, 2013

What happened to the Winter Overseeding?

      I have recently been asked by a number of our patrons: "Why aren't you all overseeding the Fairways this year?" I will outline the reasons for overseeding, as well as, the reasons to not overseed at times.
     Overseeding is most commonly done by courses that use bermudagrass, which goes dormant in winter. The ryegrass seed is then distributed on top of the bermudagrass and nurtured for several weeks as it germinates and grows in the upper profile of the bermudagrass that is entering dormancy. In late spring as the weather warms up, the golf course superintendent will encourage the bermudagrass as it comes out of dormancy and the ryegrass is losing its ability to withstand the warmer weather. Many courses either close during overseeding or offer discounted greens fees during these periods because of the disruption to play that overseeding causes. Superintendents across the nation's southern tier of states avoid the brown -- dormant bermudagrass -- and perpetuate the green by overseeding with a cool-season grass. To call it a cosmetic practice would be accurate, but also simplistic. The economic viability of thousands of golf courses and the job security of those who manage them loom beneath the pretty, green surface. The key fact is, golf courses that rely on winter play to be a successful operation must, for better or worse, overseed to achieve that level
     Many issues have been addressed along the way, such as impact on play, costs, water usage and chemical removal of the ryegrass in transition because of its tendency to hang on too long in the Southwest.
For those superintendents and facilities that choose not to overseed , they often find their course provides variety and challenge as the seasons change. Beyond aesthetics, overseeding does provide better turf conditions in the winter. Without it, many courses have to combat wear and compaction problems caused by player and golf car traffic. However, they have their reasons for avoiding overseeding:
  • Water conservation – Dormant bermudagrass uses far less water than overseeded perennial ryegrass.
  • Uninterrupted play in the fall – Courses avoid the disruption and course closure often required for overseeding.
  • No spring transition problems – Without competition from overseeded ryegrass, bermudagrass can green up earlier in the spring.
  • Ease of weed control – It is easier to control annual bluegrass and weeds in dormant bermudagrass with selective and non-selective herbicides.
  • Sustain a stronger strand of warm season grasses – Many courses experience a gradual decline of bermudagrass density after years of renovation and overseeding. Without overseeding, courses can build a strong strand of bermudagrass throughout the fall that will provide better density and playing quality the following spring and summer.
  • Lower maintenance costs – Courses that do not overseed may save $750 to $1,000 per acre by not purchasing seed. Overall costs are lower for water, fertilizer and mowing; plus there is less wear on equipment.
     On the other hand, dormant bermudagrass has produced golfer complaints based on its lack of green color (which can be supplemented with the use of Turf Colorants); worn areas, especially in high traffic zones; and slow recovery from divot damage. Non-agronomic advantages to managing dormant bermudagrass include the subtle changes in playing quality during the winter. Tee shots often roll farther, different clubs and types of shots are required and hazards that are usually unreachable may now come into play. All of this adds up to a course that provides variety and challenges as the seasons change.
It’s the age-old question for golf facilities, to overseed, or not to overseed? The answer, however, is not cut and dried.

As always, any questions, comments or concerns are appreciated.

We'll see you out there!
Sources: United States Golf Association Southwest Regional Update, Jan. 25, 2005; Golf Course Management, July 2004.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2013 Fall Greens Aerification & Update on Turf Care Facility Construction

      We have just recently finished up our fall greens Aerification for 2013. As I have explained in previous posts, this vital agronomic practice is extremely crucial for the long-term health of our bentgrass putting surfaces.  Aerification achieves three important objectives. It relieves soil compaction, it provides a method to improve the soil mixture around the highest part of a green’s roots and it reduces or prevents the accumulation of excess thatch. The condition of a green has a lot to do with what goes on below the surface. In order for grass to grow at 1/8-inch, it must have deep, healthy roots. Good roots demand oxygen. In good soil, they get the oxygen from tiny pockets of air trapped between soil and sand particles. Over the course of time, foot traffic from golfers, mowing equipment, etc. compact the soil under the putting green surface. When the soil becomes compacted, the tiny air pockets become crushed and the roots start becoming deprived of necessary oxygen.Without oxygen, the grass plants become weaker and will eventually wither and die.

      Aerification is a mechanical process that creates more air space in the soil and promotes deeper rooting, helping the grass plants stay healthy. In most cases, the process is done by removing cores from the compacted soil, allowing for an infusion of air and water that brings a resurgence of growth. The spaces are then filled with sand “topdressing” that helps the soil retain air space and makes it easier for roots to grow downward. Older greens are often constructed of soils with significant amounts of silt, clay and fine organic particles that are prone to compaction. Filling aerification holes with sand improves drainage and resists compaction. The periodic introduction of sand to a green’s top layer can over time, avoid or postpone expensive rebuilding or renovation of greens.      

      Finally, actively growing turf adds to a layer of organic matter on the surface. This layer, called thatch, is an accumulation of dead stems, leaves and roots. A little organic matters makes for a resilient green, but too much invites diseases and insects. Topdressing with sand can prevent thatch buildup, and aerification is one of the best ways to reduce an existing layer and prevent an excess of thatch from becoming established.

 On another subject, we have officially broken ground on our new Turf Care Facility. This facility will be state-of-the-art. It will be large enough to easily accommodate up to 30 employees, house all of our maintenance equipment inside of buildings and be environmentally sensitive (which is becoming more important every day). We are looking forward to the completion of this project and I will include updates on how the construction process is progressing with future blog entries.

As always any questions, comments or feedback is appreciated.

We'll see you out there! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sweet Summer Rain

      There is NOTHING better for keeping bentgrass greens alive and healthy, than getting decent rainfall and cooler temperatures in July! We have been so fortunate this year, compared to summer of 2011 & 2012, to get above normal rainfall and less extreme heat during the summer of 2013.

      Severe drought on turfgrass, trees and shrubs have been extremely evident over the past 2 years and it takes large quantities of rainfall to eliminate drought conditions. The 2011 rainfall total for Norman, OK was 27.88 inches (9.5 inches below average) and 2012 rainfall total for Norman, OK was 22.37 inches (15.02 inches below average). That put Norman, OK 24.52 inches below it's average rainfall totals entering 2013. However, since Jan 1st, 2013, we have received 29.41 inches of rain in Norman, OK to date. That is 8.72 inches above average rainfall for the same amount of time. This has helped in lifting Norman, OK out of it's current drought situation.

      The onset of drought has allowed us to see the major flaws of our irrigation system, and, has allowed us to make additions, adjustments and repairs to it's functionality and it's efficiency. Our current irrigation system has been in operation since 1995, when the last large-scale golf course renovation occurred. Since that time, there have been many small-scale golf course improvements and additions over the years. By adding and/or removing irrigated areas, we have changed from the original design of the irrigation system and it's functionality and efficiency are no longer what they were before. When we have normal rainfall events throughout a given year, those fallacies in the system are not as evident. However, when there is a drought situation and having to rely heavily on an irrigation system to keep the moisture levels of the golf course to acceptable levels for plant health. It is then, that those fallacies become obvious. That is why have joined forces with EC Design Group to build an Irrigation Master Plan to go along with our Facility Master Plan that was put together by Tripp Davis & Associates Golf Architecture. Now, as our facility continues to develop according to the Facility Master Plan, so too will our irrigation system along with our Irrigation Master Plan.

    As stated before, there is nothing that can replace the plant health benefits of rainfall. But, a well designed and efficient irrigation system can help supplement the golf course during the time periods between rain events.

As always any questions, comments or concerns is always appreciated.

We'll see you out there!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Course Preparation for a USGA National Championship

      Oh what a beautiful morning! That was always the first thing that ran through my head while I was driving into work at 3:45 am each day during our hosting of the 2013 US Women's Amateur Public Links Championship. It takes a certain level of organization, a great sense of humor and a positive attitude to be able to host Championship golf. With the USGA conducting 13 National Championships a year and the PGA, LPGA and Senior PGA Tours conducting a certain number of tournaments and championships a year, not everyone in this industry gets to experience the hosting of these special and prestigious events. 

      We are extremely fortunate, in the sense, that we have hosted two USGA National Championships in the past 4 years!  Having hosted the US Amateur Public Links Championship previously in 2009, we were much more prepared when we were asked by the USGA to host the 2013 US Women's Amateur Public Links Championship. 

What most people do not realize, is the high level of turf maintenance required to conduct such Championships. Below is an article written by Robert Vavrek (USGA Agronomist) that was featured in the USGA Green Section Record in April 2013. This article explains what host clubs do to prepare their clubs to challenge the best golfers in the world.

   Course Preparation for a USGA National Championship — What’s All the Fuss?

      The high level of turf maintenance required to conduct a U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, or any other USGA national championship may surprise the casual player as much as the hardcore golf enthusiast.

      Golfers raved about course conditions after the recent club championship. The greens were smooth — slick as ice. And how about those impossible “never been there before” hole locations? Fairway striping patterns rivaled the intricate mowing patterns of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Bunkers have never been firmer or more consistent. Perhaps you hear the ultimate compliment in the clubhouse . . . “We could have hosted the U.S. Open today!” Assume the playing surfaces could indeed challenge the cream of the world’s professional and amateur golfers. Could you sustain this high level of course conditioning throughout an entire week of competition? Before answering, let’s discuss the scope of maintenance practices associated with hosting a typical national championship. To put it another way, just what is so 
special about course conditioning for a USGA national championship and why?


      In general, well-conditioned golf courses mow greens every day and roll two to three times per week during peak months of play. Collars, tees, fairways, approaches, and intermediate roughs are mowed three times a week, usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Roughs, green banks, and bunker banks will be mowed once or twice weekly, depending on turf growth rate. Bunkers will likely receive some attention each day.

      No doubt, there will be a higher level of expectations and more intense maintenance for a special event at any public or private golf facility. Those additional hours spent grooming the course will probably be spent “burning in” the intricate striping pattern across fairways and producing the firmest bunker conditions possible. Extra rolling and mowing will certainly produce the highest green speed of the season, and, maybe, just maybe, the rough will be allowed to grow a half-inch higher. In contrast, most facilities will find it 
necessary to increase the frequency and intensity of maintenance operations throughout the week of a USGA national championship. Granted, maintenance standards for daily play at a few elite facilities may already meet or exceed some of our expectations for course conditioning, such as green speed or bunker maintenance. However, any attempt to maintain a golf course at the peak of championship 
readiness would be unsustainable from both a turf health and economic perspective.There is no “one size fits all” set of course conditions for all U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur Championships. Green speed, the firmness of greens, fairways and approaches, mowing frequency, the establishment and maintenance of a graduated rough, and many other broad and specific aspects of course conditioning for the competition will be determined and documented in cooperation with the host venue during site visits made by the USGA’s staff person in charge (SIC) in advance of the championship. The SIC will be assisted by USGA Executive Committee members, other members of the USGA Rules and Competitions staff, the regional USGA Green Section agronomist, as well as the golf course superintendent, golf professional, and other representatives 
of the host venue. The course preparation memorandum generated from site visits will serve as a road map 
for course maintenance in the years, months, and weeks leading up to the event.


      Go no further than practice facilities to find significant differences between priorities for daily play versus a championship. Most golf facilities prepare the course for daily play first and then allocate equipment and labor to practice areas at their convenience. In contrast, practice greens, tees, and short-game areas must be ready at first light to accommodate players who have early tee times at a championship. Having lights on at least some of the maintenance equipment is a bonus when mowing is required before dawn. In fact, facilities that host championships often use transportable banks of lights to illuminate practice areas for extra-early morning maintenance; it is that important. On the other hand, you won’t find many guests anxious to putt while the crickets are still chirping during the club invitational, unless, of course, they happen to still be on the property after the previous evening’s clubhouse festivities.It is no surprise that golfers who compete for a U.S. Open Championship are more likely to be familiar with the host venue versus golfers competing for a U.S. Amateur Championship. However, some of the field at a championship will be playing the course for the first time during practice rounds. Consequently, the USGA strives to provide the entire field a consistent level of course conditioning from the first practice round through the final day of competition. Practice rounds need to be meaningful and representative of conditions experienced throughout the competition. Practice rounds are not the time to ratchet up green speed by two feet or grow an inch of rough. No doubt, some minor adjustments to the course will likely be necessary during practice rounds, but generally the overall play-ability of the course should remain consistent throughout the competition. Furthermore, playing conditions in practice bunkers, the height of cut on practice tees, the firmness of chipping greens, and the speed of practice greens should represent what players will experience on the course. The practice facilities are going to get a workout, so hole locations on practice greens need to be moved daily, and a similar high level of maintenance will be necessary on practice tees as players rotate to new turf each day. There will be no shortage of divots and debris to remove and divot holes to repair on short-game areas. For some players it may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete for a national championship, and the goal is to make it the best experience possible for the golfer. 


      Putting surface maintenance schedules will usually need to be modified prior to practice rounds to achieve a predetermined level of speed. In general, greens will be double cut and rolled daily to maintain a smooth, consistent surface. An evening mowing operation, when labor and time are more available, can help maintain green speed without adding to the stress of completing multiple maintenance operations across the green complex ahead of morning play. Mowing frequency, heights of cut, and rolling operations will be adjusted up or down depending on the rate of turf growth, weather conditions, and other factors that may affect the health or play-ability of the putting surfaces. Green Section agronomists work closely with turf managers regarding growth regulator applications and ancillary maintenance practices, such as brushing greens, that may be useful before and during the competition.Collars and the first cut of rough adjacent to collars will be mowed each day. Many find that mowing the first cut of rough with rotary push mowers to be the best option for minimizing mechanical stress to turf on green banks and bunker banks associated with a more intense level of maintenance. 

      Fairways, approaches, and intermediate roughs will be mowed daily during a championship. Fairways can be mowed during the evening after play to accommodate staffing or equipment limitations, but they will have to be dragged to remove dew in the morning before play. Divots will be removed and divot holes leveled with an appropriate repair mix — often a combination of sand, soil, and peat — between each round of play.

      Any tee that may be used for the competition will be mowed every day. The course preparation memorandum will document which holes have options for alternate tees. In addition, netting is needed to protect the prime areas of turf before and during practice rounds on any championship tees where the use of irons would cause significant loss of tee space. Netting may also be needed during and before practice rounds to protect turf in localized areas of fairways that have a history of excessive divots, such as in collection areas, due the unique architecture or topography of the course. 

      Bunkers will be raked daily, preferably during the morning just ahead of play. Rakes are to be positioned outside of bunkers, parallel to play, and preferably along the outer edge of the bunker where they are least likely to come into play. 

      A challenging rough that places a premium on shot selection and execution from the tee is an important aspect of setup at all USGA championships. In recent years, the concept of a graduated rough has been adopted. Graduated rough employs incremental increases in mowing height as the distance away from the fairway increases. This provides more options for players who hit a slightly errant shot to advance the ball, whereas players who miss fairways by wide margins face increased difficulty. The specific width and height of each graduation for each hole will be determined at site visits made well in advance of the championship.Presenting golfers with a well defined graduated rough requires additional maintenance equipment and labor compared to mowing the entire rough at one height. Slightly lowering the rough is a fairly straightforward procedure, but raising the height of a semi-dormant, non-irrigated rough would be a challenge and is perhaps impossible to achieve during midsummer, especially at facilities that utilize cool-season turfgrasses. Consequently, most facilities establish championship-length rough during spring when the turf is growing vigorously. Daily play may be inconvenienced before the event, and the use of carts in the rough will need to be curtailed, more so in the weeks just prior to the competition.

      When the weather cooperates, every effort will be made to present players with a firm, fast golf course from tee to green by limiting the amount of irrigation applied to the turf. Depending on the event, the firmness of some or all greens will be measured at least once a day using the USGA TruFirm device. TruFirm values will be used to determine when and where water will be applied to putting surfaces. Constant vigilance of TruFirm readings and adjustment with hand-watering will help ensure similar levels of firmness between greens and prevent greens or portions of greens from becoming excessively firm.Ideally, the firmness of approaches will equal or exceed the firmness of putting surfaces to provide the option of run-up shots to the putting surface. Firm playing surfaces provide maximum reward for well-executed golf shots. The standard practice of using automatic irrigation to water the golf course at night will usually be suspended 
during the week of the championship. Greens, tees, approaches, and fairways will be sparingly hand-watered as needed to maintain healthy turf. Extensive areas of excessively dry turfcan be watered with automatic irrigation during the evening when hand watering is not practical. However, any automatic irrigation will need to be carefully monitored by the maintenance staff and manually cycled on and off to minimize the potential for sprinkler malfunctions. No doubt, a week of drying out and firming up the golf course for a USGA 
competition will be a unique challenge for most golf facilities. The importance of developing a comprehensive cultivation and topdressing program to prevent excessive thatch accumulation well before the event cannot be overemphasized. Equally important are the timely use of plant growth regulators and wetting agents. 


      Play will begin from the first and tenth tees during practice rounds and for at least the first several days of the championship. USGA staff will meet the hole-changing team on the first and tenth tees to set tee markers and then proceed to greens for final determination of hole locations. All course maintenance will have to be completed ahead of the USGA staff as they proceed hole by hole, in order, on each nine to set up the course for competition. Keep this in mind when determining the appropriate amount of equipment and staffing to have available at the event.Weather is the wild card at any championship. Lightning is the most common problem to cause play to be suspended for an extended period of time. The worst-case scenario is the need to prepare the course the next morning for a shotgun start to finish a suspended round and then complete a 
change in course setup prior to starting the current day’s competition. It is wise to plan for the worst and hope for the best, so have a contingency plan for this situation and an estimate of how early the course could be ready for a shotgun start should a suspension in play occur. Knowing when the course can accommodate golfers after a suspension is important to the media, spectators, the USGA, and, most of all, the players. The best way to anticipate and address the unique challenges of preparing any golf course for an U.S. Open or U.S. Amateur Championship is to schedule a dry run of maintenance operations a year prior to the competition. Schedule the dry run as close to the same week as the competition to experience similar weather conditions and day length. Document how long it takes to complete each task and take into account increased travel time associated with unfamiliar or circuitous routes employed to avoid galleries, concessions, or any other hindrances related to a specific competition. In addition, it never hurts to have several key course maintenance staff attend at least a few days of the previous year’s championship.

      In summary, this article is not meant to define an all-encompassing set of best maintenance practices (BMPs) that prepares your golf course for a USGA national championship. Every 
facility and competition poses unique challenges that require unique solutions, which is why a considerable 
amount of time is spent visiting host sites in the years prior to an event. In the end, it comes down to producing fair, challenging conditions capable of identifying a national champion, while also fulfilling the once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone who qualifies for the competition.