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TANDARDS FOR THE CONDITION
OF THE MANCHESTER COUNTRY CLUB GOLF COURSE
Approved by the Green Committee on October 9, 2008.
Approved by the Board on October 20, 2008
Purpose of This Document
The golf course is Manchester Country Club’s most important asset. The purpose of this document is to set forth standards for the condition of the golf course and to allocate responsibilities so that the standards are consistently achieved.
I. General Principles
The following principles shall apply to the course generally:
The course will be kept in a neat condition at all times. Grass will be healthy throughout the course and on all its features, boundaries between different playing surfaces will be neatly maintained, marks left by golfers and golf balls will be promptly repaired, and debris will be kept off and away from playing surfaces.
Playing surfaces, e.g., teeing grounds, fairways, rough, bunkers, greens, will play consistently throughout the course.
Health of Playing Surfaces
The Club as carried out by the Superintendent will use the best proven technology to ensure that the course’s grass is resistant to diseases and challenging weather. The health of the playing surfaces shall be the highest priority. Playing conditions or appearance shall not take priority over health.
Fairness and Playability
The golf course shall be maintained to provide a fair and enjoyable golfing experience for men and women of all competent playing abilities.
II. Standards Applicable to Particular Parts of the Course
Teeing grounds should be level. It may be acceptable for a tee to be very slightly crowned for drainage purposes.
Teeing grounds should be firm. Grass on teeing grounds should be healthy and provide for good footing.
Teeing grounds should be kept tidy. It is the membership’s primary responsibility to fix divots. Nevertheless, on a daily basis, teeing grounds should be inspected for divots and divots should be repaired. Vegetation immediately in front of tees shall be trimed or removed so as to not impede the flight of the ball or the golfer’s view of the landing area.
Tee markers are aligned to aim golfers towards landing areas on par 4 and par 5 holes and towards the middle of the putting greens on par 3 holes. Tee marker spacing shall be a minimum of 15 feet throughout the course.
The fairway grass should be uniform, within a hole and throughout the course. The fairway grass should have a consistent appearance from the fairway to the apron and collars around the green. Grass should be healthy and dense, mowed to a uniform height, and visually distinct from the first cut of rough and the rough. Mowing patterns are within the discretion of the Superintendent, provided that the same pattern is used throughout the course. The grass should provide uniform playability throughout the course.
Casual water and bare soil are unacceptable on a fairway. Except for extraordinarily rainy periods, there should be no casual water in a fairway. Holes should be surveyed regularly for areas where water collects, and such areas should be fixed to prevent this condition. Bare soil or dead grass is never acceptable on a fairway.
Dimensions and edges of the fairway should be tidy. Edges of fairways should be mown neatly; while it is permissible for edges to be curved (if planned to be such), they should never become poorly defined because of imprecise mowing.
Divots and other damage to the fairway should be promptly repaired. Sand mix should be provided to walking players so that they can repair divots not capable of replacement. Sand mix in carts should be filled always. Fairways should be inspected on a regular basis for divots and the same fixed promptly.
Transitions between Rough and Fairway
There should be a first cut of rough of uniform width and height throughout the golf course.
Dew paths. There should be a dew path cut from the teeing ground to the center of the fairway, along the line of play. The dew path should be of uniform width and height throughout the course.
The rough should be healthy. The rough should be fully grassed from the first cut of rough to the nearer of: (a) the treeline; or (b) ten yards from the edge of the first cut. It is not acceptable for bare soil to be anywhere in this area.
The rough should be consistent. The rough should present a uniform appearance throughout the course. The length of the rough should be the same throughout the course. No part of the rough should be excessively wet or dry. Areas of the rough that are consistently wet should be remediated.
The rough should be tidy. Sticks, clumps of mown grass, and loose impediments should be removed from the edge of the fairway to treelines.
The length of the rough should be sensitive to who is playing. Excessively long rough makes the game less enjoyable for less skilled players or those who are not strong. Except for tournament conditions, the rough should be maintained at a height that allows for all golfers to escape from it, while still providing a penalty relative to a shot of equal length in the fairway.
Bunkers should be consistent. Bunkers should play consistently throughout the course. The same sand should be used throughout the course. There should be a uniform depth of soft sand at the bottom of every bunker.
Bunkers should be kept tidy. Although it is the membership’s primary responsibility to rake bunkers, bunkers should be inspected by the Superintendent’s staff in the morning and raked if necessary. Raking with machines is fine, provided that any mounds left after machine raking are raked smooth. It is within the Superintendent’s discretion to have sharp edges between bunkers or softer grassed edges, but the same boundary should be used throughout the course, ensuring a consistent appearance with a clear distinction between the hazard and areas outside of it. Care should be taken to ensure that grass around bunkers is not scalped. There should never be loose impediments or casual water in bunkers. Rakes should be kept outside of bunkers and not along the line of play from the fairway to the center of the green.
Greens should be consistent throughout the course. Greens should roll at the same speed throughout the course. It is the goal to have the greens roll between 9.0’ and 10.0’ as measured by a stimpmeter from Memorial Day until Columbus Day weather permitting.
Greens should be smooth. Smoothness of putting surfaces is critical. A ball should run straight and true without ‘snaking’ or ‘bobbling’ and remain in contact with surface at all times.
Greens should be healthy. Greens should be monitored daily for the appearance of any condition that might jeopardize their health. The health of greens is more important than the health of any other surface on the course.
Fringe should be healthy and uniform. The fringe should be of uniform height and width throughout the course.
Trees, Hazards, Man-Made Features and Ground Under Repair
Trees should be kept tidy. Care of the trees on the course should reflect a coherent maintenance plan. For trees near fairways, it is unacceptable for there to be weeds around the bases or sucker shoots near the bottom.
A tree management plan must always be pursued. Trees should not be permitted to grow to a condition where they jeopardize the health of the playing surfaces. Trees should not be permitted to grow to dimensions that cause a hole on the golf course to play differently from how it was designed to play.
Hazards and man-made features should blend with the surroundings. The design and maintenance of hazards and other man-made features should complement the golf course and not contrast with it.
Areas marked as ground under repair should be promptly repaired. The marking of an area as ground under repair (GUR) will provide a signal to the Superintendent that a condition exists that should be fixed. It is never acceptable to use regular marking of areas as ground under repair as a way to defer repair of damaged areas of the course.
Practice Areas / Driving Range
Practice areas should be good for practicing. The practice areas should provide an environment where players can work on aspects of their game in circumstances like those they would expect to find on the course. The surface of the practice tee should be similar to the surface from which one would expect to hit on the course. If a grass tee cannot be consistently maintained throughout the summer, an attractive artificial teeing ground should be maintained. The speed of the putting green should be the same as the speed of the greens on the course. The sand in the short game area should be the same and maintained the same as the sand on the course.
III. Implementing the Standards
This Document reflects the standards for the condition of the course. Changes to this document may only be made by a majority vote of The Green Committee. No individual Club member shall have the authority to alter the principles set forth in this document. If a member believes the standards should be altered, he or she should be requested to present a written proposal to the Green Committee. If the Superintendent is given a request by a member to deviate from this document, he shall not comply with such request, but shall instead communicate such request promptly to the Green Committee for appropriate action.
It is the responsibility of the Superintendent to achieve the standards set forth in this document, using the most appropriate means and methods. It is expected that the Superintendent will stay abreast of current trends in agronomy and turfgrass management to ensure that all options to achieve the standards are considered. Where two projects exist that cannot be completed in the time horizon originally expected, the one that will achieve the standards for the most important playing surface of the course will take priority. Proven means and methods shall be used. Experimental means and methods shall not be used without the prior approval of the Green Committee. Chosen means and methods should be as economically efficient as possible.
The Superintendent shall be responsible for planning how the standards will be achieved. Annually, the Superintendent shall submit to the Green Committee a written plan identifying how the standards will be achieved during the following year including particular tasks and estimates of time and materials. The Green Committee shall review the Superintendent’s plan and make appropriate recommendations to the Board of Directors and the Finance Committee. If the Superintendent believes that the budget is insufficient to achieve the standards, he shall identify in his plan how the budget is insufficient and what resources will be required to achieve the standards. If the allocated budget is insufficient to achieve the standards, the Green Committee shall prioritize the standards to achieve the best playing conditions for the golf course.
Communications between members and the Superintendent on grounds and golf course issues are to be channeled through the Green Committee and its Chair. The Chair and Superintendent are to be in regular contact to monitor progress on achieving the standards specified by the Green Committee as well as keeping current on conditions and developments on the golf course. The Chair shall keep the Committee apprised on the conditions, issues and concerns on the playing conditions of the golf course. The Chair shall assist the Superintendent in prioritizing previously agreed standards as developments occur that necessitate a change in the anticipated work schedule.
The Chair is responsible for communicating developments and issues to the Green Committee and, when appropriate, to the Board of Directors.
The Green Committee shall, between the months of May and September, inclusive, meet monthly to discuss whether the course is being maintained in accordance with the standards. Members of the Green Committee shall at regular intervals throughout the season evaluate the course and confer with the Chair and the Superintendent about whether the course is achieving the standards set forth in this document. The Green Committee and Superintendent shall keep abreast, for benchmarking purposes, of the conditions of geographically similar golf courses with excellent regional reputations for being well-maintained. Members of the Green Committee shall regularly solicit constructive, specific opinions of members regarding the course and communicate the same to the Green Committee.
Members shall, while they play, be responsible for keeping the course in a condition consistent with the standards. Divots shall be fixed or filled. Ball marks shall be repaired. Bunkers shall be raked. Tees must be removed from teeing grounds after hitting. Balls should be hit on the practice tee in a manner that keeps divots to a confined area. Members not following these rules should be politely reminded of them by fellow members. The Staffs of the Golf Professional and the Superintendent are also specifically authorized to request politely that members keep the course neat and the Green Committee and Board of Directors shall support them fully in these efforts. Any member responding to such a request in an uncivil manner, or refusing to follow a reasonable request, shall be reported to the Board for appropriate action.
Although this document does not focus upon architecture, the Green Committee recommends that no architectural changes to the course may be made without Board approval. In other words, no Club member, including any individual officer, member or member of the Green Committee, shall by him- or herself have the authority to order any changes to the architecture of the golf course. “Architectural changes” should be defined to mean installation, relocation, resizing, or removal of greens, teeing grounds, bunkers, hazards, or other significant features of the course and rerouting of fairways. “Architectural changes” shall not mean ordinary maintenance, tree removal pursuant to an established plan, or the practice of playing the course differently as may occur within the scope of a particular event. It is also the Green Committee’s strong recommendation that no proposed architectural change be implemented without it first being reviewed and approved by an eminent golf course architect who follows standards faithful to those that governed the original design of the Club’s course.
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