Prevention Through Preparedness at TPC Sawgrass

Preventing unnecessary wear on turf is like stretching before you go for a run, if you skip this step you'll be dealing with the painful reality that your body, much like turf, is not indestructible. Skipping the stretch might result in a cramp, something you've learned to endure. The very best runners in the world make stretching a ritual because they know how much time and energy is put in to recovery, and building back up to where they previously preformed takes time away from building upon their base level.

Golf course superintendents know the principle of preparedness well, especially those at clubs with the highest of expectations. As host of The Players Championship, birthplace of the TPC network and the backdrop to the PGA headquaters, TPC Sawgrass is expected to look and preform at it's highest potential. Recently I was on the blog of Sawgrass's Superintendent Tom Vlach and saw this principle demonstrated in his post "Utilization of Turning Boards".

Tom has allowed for Turfhugger to repost his entry here, but be sure to visit his blog for more insight to his operations

Areas that surround the green can be quite troublesome because of the amount of traffic and wear they receive. We strive to reduce the amount of wear that we put on these areas as much as possible. As demonstrated in the clip above, we implement the use of turning boards as a daily practice when walk mowing greens and approach areas. We have found that the use of turning boards yields a noticeably healthier turf as opposed to not using them.
The turning boards we use are made of high density polyethylene. Although they are commercially manufactured, we decided it would be more cost efficient to construct them ourselves. We made them eight feet in length and two feet wide. There are a total of four transport handles on each board. One of our key goals in making the turning boards was for each of our staff members to be able to use them with ease.

As illustrated in the image here, we designed the turning boards to specific modifications so that we can transport them using our John Deere Gators. When a staff member arrives at a putting green, he/she simply lifts the boards off of the hooks and places them in the desired locations.

We are completely satisfied with the results we have seen so far by using the turning boards. They generate an all around greater mowing experience.