The final day was a very special day for me as i re visited Torrey Pines where my parents took me when I was 13. It was a surreal experience to return 23 years later to look at the course through the eyes of a Course Manager, Its l lot more interesting and I was blown away by the experience. The Superintendent is only 31 years old and a very inspirational man, to have achieved that standard in the industry at such a young age is fantastic. The US open returns here in 2021, before then the North course goes under the knife to bring it up to the same standard as the South course
This was a remarkable end to a trip of a lifetime. Again i’d like to thank Bernhards and BIGGA and also the Royal Cinque Ports members for their interest and support that helped to make this so special.
There’s only one thing wrong with the Bernhards Delegation,You only get to do it once!
As ever the Californian weather held out for a full day of course visits. Early in the morning we traveled to Long Beach near Los Angeles to visit the incredible Virginia Golf and Country Club where the Superintendent had an amazing story. The entire course was turfed in a species conversion and opened within a year. Although we are poles apart there is a lot that can be learned from the management of high end warm season courses, I took hundreds of photographs for ideas especially in and around the maintenance facilities where ideas were picked up to improve efficiency and quality at Royal Cinque Ports.
The whole trip was covered by Bernhards Grinders. These machines are responsible for keeping our mowers sharp which is essential for successful turfgrass management. In the picture is Di and Kim who looked after us all week, Kim put the whole programme together and we are all so grateful for the effort she put in. At the close of the show on the Thursday we donned the famous Bernhards jackets for a photo. I’d like to thank Stephen Bernhard for this amazing opportunity and everyone at Bernhards who was involved in the delegation.
I have been looking forward to visiting the Golf Industry Show for years and I have heard a lot about the sheer size of the place, The floor space must be about the size of our driving range and then some, full of all the latest machines and stalls showing off equipment, furniture, fertilisers, chemicals and so much more. The ten strong delegation spent time representing BIGGA (our association) on the stand, chatting to potential overseas members and also about the clubs we are from, many of the Americans have heard of Royal Cinque Ports and were very interested in all of the work we are doing and the progress being made. I really enjoyed today, it was a massive eye opener and great fun.
Today we visited Bonita Golf Club for a Gadgets and Gizmos seminar. This really interested me as I love all of the new technology that helps me manage the course. This seminar was a combination of class work where we discussed various tools and we then we able to see them in use on the course. In the picture below we can see a ‘Greenstester’, this tool measures how true the greens are and it also doubles up as a speed tester. In this particular test 10/10 balls rolled into the hole from a distance of 12 feet. a remarkable surface.
Phone apps were also discussed and I was amazed how many apps that will be of use to me when I return, One of the most amazing revelations is the fact an iPhone can be doubled up as a stimp meter! I have still to make my mind up on the accuracy of this however!
Today was spent in the San Diego Conference Center in class with Bingru Huang who is known as the worlds top plant physiologist. She lectured on Advanced stress management which included an in depth look at plant cell structure and the natural and cultural practices that affect all of its mechanical parts. It was a very interesting seminar, we all learned a great deal that will help us all with the management of our golf courses.
After a really nice flight from London Heathrow to San Diego we discovered the city at night and the following day we visited Encinitas Ranch for a game of golf, less said about the golf the better however the course was stunning, The warm season Bermuda grass was just coming out of dormancy, we can see in this photo the brown tinge starting to dissipate. It is amazing that it takes temperatures of 25c to do so. The warm season grass culture interests me so much as it is night and day from how we manage at Royal Cinque Ports. I had a feeling after today that we were all in for an amazing week.