Friday, December 11, 2015

Why you need to join a country club part 2, Golf

If you missed the introduction to this series of blogs yesterday, please check it out. I have never heard anyone discuss how much their car costs them per mile to drive. I imagine if we made this valuation to cars, there would be a lot fewer choices and the cars would certainly have less luxury features. Yet we seem to hear this type of valuation when it comes to golf. The fact is, that you just can't make that type of valuation to a private club, the golf product that we provide is very different. Not better or worse, just different. How are private clubs different?

#1. The golf course is always reserved for you. Play eighteen, play nine, play three, whatever you can fit it. Didn't make a tee time? No problem, show up and we are here, excited and glad you came.

#2. Respect of the game. Golf is a game of honor and respect, you will find no larger collection of purists. True golf is played by the rules and players call penalties on themselves, the club is a special place with some pretty special people.

#3. Members have a special love for their course. The playing field is cared for and you will find the course in a condition that reflects that passion. This love affair is evident in the mannerism of players as well.

#4. Pace of play. Five hour round? You must have played all 27 at Briar Ridge

#5. Friends. You just found 3 hours to relax, go to the club, someone will be there. You can ask the shop and join up with someone on the course. Pop in the grill and see who is around. There is always a game and always someone to play with. Want to play solo? No big deal, you don't get "paired up" unless you want to. See reason #1.

#6. Competition. Thrive on competition? This essential human need is constantly fulfilled with our professional run events and competitions. Worried it won't be fair? We have a committee to ensure it.

#7. Social events. Not the best golfer, or new to the game? Our social events combine golf and fun. You may only chip and putt, it's a night out in a beautiful setting with good friends and, oh yeah, cocktails!

I am sure I missed a few and I could add so much to the reasons above. The bottom line is that the price per round of golf just doesn't work for a country club. The product is much more than around of golf, it's an experience, a lifestyle. A lifestyle of people and friends I can't imagine my life without, no joke.
They are my family,

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Why your friends should join a country club...

#20 The cross country event. In case you missed it, over 30 players carved shots traversing areas no player has experienced before. We had a great day of camaraderie and laughs. This year we played ten holes and even ventured onto the white nine.
We are embarking on a membership campaign here at Briar Ridge. The "Discover Briar Ridge Initiative," was developed by Creative Golf Marketing, a leader in country club membership efforts. The initiative has sparked some interesting internal conversation I have been participating in, and I hope to share this insight with you over my next couple of blog posts.
Country clubs have a great deal of activities and recreation for individuals. Friendships, networking, and competition can be found in abundance at the club. Briar Ridge, like many clubs, stopped telling its own story. Not wanting to be boastful, clubs just quietly existed, weaving a beautiful tapestry through the lives of its members. Fond memories and friendships, laughter and love, family time and parties, the club was always there, it was home.
Fast forward a few years and the technology age moves life along at a pace that will make you wonder where November went. We begin to speak about value. We make value judgements, we speak in terms of cost per visit, per round, per event, per new friendship. We are fascinated by our ability to measure and to justify. We often hear that if a member plays X number of rounds, the cost of membership is Y$ per round.
As we embark upon our membership campaign, I want to share my thoughts of the value of the club. The value of the course, the pool, events, and dining.
Why should your friends join a country club?
Friendship, experience, and recreation.
Tomorrow we will discuss golf. Specifically what is the value of golf at a private club and how do we measure it. We will demonstrate that the price per round is a poor valuation method, and how this thinking is not taking in consideration all the unique reasons why private and public courses cannot be compared with the same measuring device. They are two different products.
Why should your friends join a country club? Well, for today, I can give you fifteen reasons in above the photo.
I love those guys,

Friday, November 20, 2015

"This must be a slow time of year for golf"

We get a different type of busy this time of year. The irrigation blow out went well.....sort of. When irrigation systems fail, they don't break all at once. We are now experiencing a game called "a little further down the line." The next weakness is exposed with each repair. If you recall from the "crime scene" blog, we have some corrosion in metal fittings. Repairs wet made to a section of pipe so that we could winterize. When we hooked the compressor up, guess what we found? If your answer is "the next metal fitting," you win. I believe we will find a 45 degree fitting about ten feet down the line from the last repair. There were air bubbles shooting up all over the place, it would have been pretty cool if I was visiting another course. Being that I was witnessing it at Briar, not so cool.
We were able to winterize, all is good.
Then the rain came.
Our cart paths are not very wide. Moving a house on wheels is not the easiest thing to do in reverse. Pull forward to straighten out, and you are stuck. Two tractors and a hundred foot of chain later.....lift the hitch of the compressor and pull on the back.....unstuck.
We will close the greens this weekend, but we are watching the forecast for thanksgiving, in case we can allow play on them. The course will be closed on the day of the cross country. Please contact the golf shop if you would like to play. The cross county is a great event that you won't want to miss!
Have a great day,

Monday, November 16, 2015

Irrigation fix and closing of the greens

The fix is in!
Below are a few shots of the parts used and the blocking that must take place on the system. Our irrigation system operates at a fairly high pressure, so anywhere the pipe changes direction must be secured.
It is that time of year again, where we talk about the closing of the greens. We do not want to play on any green with a frozen layer in it. We are watching the nighttime lows and daytime highs. When the greens will have a consistently frozen layer in them, we will close them to play.
Looking at the forecast, that could be as early as Saturday. If there is a chance for a warm weekend over Thanksgiving, the closure will be temporary, and we will open for good weather. Good weather will be nighttime above freezing and above 50 daytime.
We are watching the forecast and will update the blog regularly.
The ladies will be playing cross country on Friday.
We will have another cross country on the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving, guests are welcome! This nine-hole event is a blast that you won't want to miss! Two person scramble, pick a partner!
We are blowing out the irrigation system this week, so no, the golf course is not on fire :-),
Yes we get that call.
Have a great day,

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Irrigation crime scene and bathroom closing

If you have played 6 white lately you have seen what we call our crime scene. Ribbons, tape, comes, and barricades block off the pump house and more. People have commented that the repair is taking a long time. Welcome to the world of repairing main lines. Not only is the repair on a main line, it is on our drop pipe. The metal pipe has corroded in several places and will need to be replaced. Since this pipe is bolted together, it needs to be fabricated. We have jackhammered out quite a bit of concrete that was supporting the pipe. It is a good thing it is fall and not the middle of summer, which is usually when these things go bad.
The nighttime lows will dip below freezing, that means the course bathrooms will be closing. Sorry for the inconvenience, the halfway bathrooms will stay open a bit longer until we blow out the irrigation system. We still have a few good days left, come out and enjoy it,

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Get out here and play!

Want to have a great time playing golf?
The golf course is in a condition that we think is the most fun! 300+ yard drives, greens that won't hold chips, and contours taking balls on wild rides. It is firm and fast.
Fall is the time when we allow the plant to enter dormancy to protect itself from the winter, we let it dry out and slowly go to sleep. We don't have to worry much about plant injury (to a certain extent). We can provide some pretty cool conditions this time of year and Mother Nature has obliged.
I can't say it enough, work can wait!
It's Barney brown out here,

Monday, October 12, 2015

Why do we have to destroy the greens?

That is a great question. As a player, I don't enjoy this process any more than anyone else. I really wish we didn't have to do it. So why do we? Below I have taken several photos. Using a solid profiler, I can show you a cross section of the green. Notice the holes that are filled with the clean sand. These are a result of our aerification process. The sand creates a channel for air and water exchange and infiltration. As you can see from the photos, the root mass in these areas is much greater than the rest of the green. Strong healthy root zones are necessary for quality putting surfaces.
We are aerifying and filling holes on the red nine today. Plan on coming out to the course this week and enjoying some awesome fall weather.
Have a great day,

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Collar project and greens aerification update

The red painted lines around the greens have helped us to get the collars a consistent width. We continue to adjust the mowing heights down to regular green height, this will take the rest of the fall and several weeks next spring. We are happy with the results this far.
The red and blue greens are scheduled for aerification next Monday and Tuesday. We held off a bit to extend the playing season, and now we feel it is time in order for them to heal in before winter. The white greens have almost completely healed and were quite playable following the aerification process.
Chef Dan is blogging specials now!
Check him out at
Plan on harvest fest next Saturday, bring a neighbor, this should be a great day!
Bundle up this weekend,

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Aerification of White Course Greens

We have completed the aerification of the white course greens.  They have received two rollings.  We plan to drag, blow, and then put a dry mowing on them.  I rolled a ball on them yesterday and the ball rolled well.  We hope that they will heal in quickly, the weather is certainly cooperating for some fast recovery.  Here is an aerial shot of us filling in the holes with sand.  This is a tremendous effort and this team always does an awesome job!
staff sweeping sand that have been dried in a Kiln into the aerification holes
Be sure to check your Briar Ridge emails, we have some awesome events coming up and we don't want you to miss out on the fun.  Thanks for all the great comments about the course this year, the staff has done a wonderful job and I am proud to be apart of their team.
See you on the tee,

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Aerification update

We began aerification of greens today. The plan is to complete the white course, and let them heal before moving to another course. Several factors led us in this direction this year, one of which is the favorable forecast for above average fall temperatures. If the forecast changes, we may try and complete the red and blue together in the coming weeks, but for now we would like to do nine holes at a time.
Tees and fairway aerification will begin Monday through Wednesday when weather permits and green aerifying is not taking place.
Thanks for your support during these cultural events,

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Creepy things on the golf course

Fall is a good time to manage the things that creep on the course. In this instance, our collar and green edges. Through regular mowing, the edges of different playing surfaces will move. You may notice some red dots painted on the course. These identify the areas that we are re establishing as either collar or green edges.
It is a beautiful day on the course, come out and enjoy, you can stay for trivia in the turn as well.
Have a delightful day,

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Aerification time

We have made it through another summer. It is time to aerify the greens, tees. and fairways. We will begin aerification on greens next Monday Tuesday and Wednesday. We will follow our same protocols as years past, so we anticipate they will be playable soon.
Be sure to check out upcoming events at the club, we have some great events planned.
Trivia, October harvest fest, and tailgating, all coming up!
See you soon,

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Preparing for Labor Day

Today we are putting some final touches on the course before Labor Day.  This is a sad weekend as it is really the end of our busy golf season.  Alberto is sharpening greens mowers as our topdressing sand from monday is abrasive and leaves them pretty dull.  The greens should respond well to the cultural practices that we did early in the week (needle tine aerification and topdressing), so they should roll nicely for you and all putts will drop!
I took advantage of the late sunrise and shot a few photos you may enjoy.  I am sharpening my pilot skills and hope to construct some impressive fly-bys soon.  I may even play some music to them.  Good luck to all the participants in the club championship!  I hope the weather cooperates.  The course is ready and is calling you!

One thing I notice is that you can see a bunch of detail that you don't see from the ground.  I'm not sure I like this, kinda like having those unflattering lights in the bathroom mirror.
Have an awesome day and remember, your thoughts control your feelings,

Friday, August 28, 2015

Do fireworks damage a golf course?

Short answer is yes, definitely. Not to mention the absolute mess they make, damage from fireworks can take weeks to appear. There are many things that damage turf. As a golf course superintendent, green is not green and brown is not brown. The colors that begin to appear from disease, chemical injury, urine, moisture stress, and many other Turfgrass evils, take on different shades and variations, not to mention shapes.
On a recent course tour I drove by and caught a glance of the spot in the first photo. In a instant, I turned around to take a second look. I had a feeling I knew what I had seen, the circular shape and the gradual margins gave it away.
Examining the spot, I saw the "star" in the middle. You can see the star at my finger tip. Firework stars are pellets of metal salts, which when ignited, emit light. The light is emitted because the electrons around the metal atoms get excited from the heat of the ignition. The "excitement" puts them into a higher energy state, as the heat dissipates, they return to their lower energy state "shell." When the electrons return to the lower state the energy lost is in the form of light.
The different lights of fireworks are caused by different compounds used, for example copper chloride will emit blue light because the copper electrons emit short wavelengths of visible light (400-500 nanometers).
This amazing bit of chemistry sometimes goes amuck in the air, not all of the pellets are burned. The un-burned pellets return to the earth and are pushed into the turf, in this case, by a fairway mower.
This year, I only found this one pellet. The staff is reminded every year to look for the "stars" after Briarfest, and to avoid mowing over them.
They really did a good job this year, almost perfect!
Have a great day,

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Maximizing practice range size and reducing your carbon footprint

I must say, we are pleased with the overall condition of the course. The staff continues to do an excellent job. We wish we had a larger practice tee, but until then we must use what we have as judiciously as possible.
In order to maximize the efficiency of the range, correct placement of the golf ball when practicing is necessary. Our range tee at Briar Ridge is quite small, so this practice is very important for us to keep grass on it through the season. The first photo is an example of what we do want, long lines with a strip of grass between divot rows. The "divot line" can be filled in from both sides in a relatively short amount of time compared to large round or square areas of no grass. If you think about it, the only place we need any grass is immediately under the ball. Placing the ball at the rear of a divot means that relatively little grass is removed from each shot. A correct stroke will be a downward attack to the ball contacting the ball before the turf. Putting the ball in the back of a divot and imagining not removing any more turf, is an excellent practice thought.
The second photo is more common among players, it utilizes a large area, each shot carving its own space in the world. This player placed each ball in its own practice fairway. This type of ball placement uses a great deal of space and "wastes" a great deal of practice turf. Please be mindful of your fellow members and minimize your practice "footprint" this way, we can all enjoy practicing off the turf.
It looks like a great day for golf,

Thursday, August 13, 2015

My favorite team

Below is just one of the reasons the golf course is so good. David is our irrigation technician and he is a busy guy lately. He is shown working on a pilot valve, a small part connected to a solenoid that makes turning heads on and off possible. He has derived an improvised device to make working on these parts possible without shutting sections of the system down.
Thanks to David and our entire golf course staff, our course is playing fine. We are Northwest Indiana's best kept secret,