Just wanted to show a picture or two from my recent sojourn to my home hickory golf course, Bruce Beach GC. Late last summer the club starting making minor improvements to the oldest golf club in Bruce County(1907). These improvements focused on one of my favourite topics, internal drainage on three extremely wet green sites. But, they even took it a step further and also elevated these greens as well with a fine native topsoil/sand combination. While the greens performed well last fall after the restoration, it was tough to tell just how they would ultimately settle out. This picture below shows a much more playable green than last fall, and they will certainly get better over time.
Also, notice the high tech drag mat(carpet remnant) that is used to drag the green after you have putted out. Of course, in major golf events you could use it to drag your line before your putt, but that only occurs four times a year right!
One other nice addition this year has been the flag inserted actually right in the cup? Previously, the flag was a steel post positioned permanently in the back of the green, and the cup in the center of the green flagless. After the restoration, while the cup is still in the center of the green, there is now a real flag to lift out before you putt, a real nice touch.
Golf course maintenance at the Bruce is only a weekly mowing at about a 2" cut every Thursday in advance of the busy golf weekend! This height of cut allows the wild strawberry fairway/native fescue mix to produce some fine edible fruit in late June to provide some low calorie nourishment during the round, which includes a 70' climb up the bluff from the second green to the third hole pictured above. The picture below illustrates the eighth hole which takes you back down the bluff to the green followed by the finishing ninth hole.
Oh, and course maintenance also includes a little yearly brush clearing on this hole to keep the "chute" open if you will. This tee shot appears a little tight but there is actually a lot of room to miss short and left of this downhill 170 yard "par 4". Yes, a par 4, and the only par 5 is only 350 yards. Keep in mind the challenge here is the small greens, most much less than 1000sqft. The above hole is where you really need the modern aerial golf game, but the balance of the course encourages the old fashioned ground game, as you will quickly learn to leave yourself just short of these postage stamp greens, and let the ball bounce up on the putting surface.
The tee shown above is also typical of all the tees at the club, an 8' x 8' "box" of native dirt and sand. Summertime conditions can make it certainly a challenge to get your tee in to the hard surface, but haven't we seen this on grass tees elsewhere. Back in the day, the club had buckets of sand on each tee which allowed you to grab a handful of it to fashion your own tee.
When I first played here, I dragged my modern clubs around. It was shortly thereafter I got my hands on some old hickories, and haven't looked back.
This club is in slightly sharp contrast to the conditions this past weekend at the PGA in Atlanta, but it hopefully provides a glimpse to golf 100 years, when grassed greens were the exception and not the rule.
Out, Poor Old Dirt & Grass Farmer