Road Hole Shorts

Golf Design, golf, golf, GOLF

Archive for December, 2011

Football rules and golf: Get your penalty flags ready!

As we enter this New Year’s holiday weekend, football, not golf, will be on the minds of many of us.  What with a bowl of every name except the toilet bowl (which of course would come to us from Flushing, New York) leading up to the final NFL games of the season, you’re probably seeing bone­crushing tackles in your sleep.

So, I thought I’d have a little fun with some of the football rules and how they might translate to golf.   Heaven knows, we’ve all wanted to throw a penalty flag now and then out on the course. By the way, just the name or phrase identifying the penalty from the NFL Rule­book amounts to 598 words!

• Offside: When a player ventures too far in front of the player that is out and playing his/her shot. I’m guilty of this sometimes — just too anxious to hit my next shot. Usually re­sults in a poorly-hit shot on my part and therefore a self-inflict­ed penalty.

• Loss of team timeouts or five-yard penalty on the de­fense for excessive crowd noise: This should be called when your playing partners or the maintenance crew makes noise at exactly the wrong time — like at the top of your back­swing. It isn’t so much how much noise, but the timing that will get ya. Personally, I’d like to see a 50-yard penalty or half the distance to the hole.

• Malicious unnecessary roughness: Like when you hit a 10-foot putt five feet short and your partner says, “I could have gotten that close with a broom handle.” • False start: A false start may be classified as a delay, but it also requires some skill and usually is accompanied by a disturbance by another play­er. If you can start your back swing and are able to stop it due to a disturbance, I say you should be able to advance your ball — 10 yards for half your back swing and 30 yards for your full back swing or more.

• Delay of kickoff: This is an easy one. If it’s your turn to hit your drive and you’re not ready — you go to the back of the pack. “Ready golf” is a pos­sible solution, but I’ve seen three of four people hit and the fourth still isn’t ready — I say a two-tee-box penalty.

• Illegal substitution: Using a particular ball for putting or driving only. A bulge in the pocket may be a tell-tale sign.

• Piling on: When more than one of your playing partners give you a hard time about your game.

• Unsportsmanlike conduct: This ordinarily occurs when your opponent gets upset over a particularly bad break — say when you skull your 100-yard approach and it roooolllllllllllll­lllllllsssssssssssssssss into the cup. The rule is enforced if for instance, he or she runs up to the green and proceeds to throw your ball into the bunker or worse yet, into a pond.

• Second forward pass be­hind the line: Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very often. Or­dinarily you can watch for this infraction when you are near trees. If you hit your shot and it hits a tree (or other object) and then bounces behind you, you will be in violation of the rule with your next shot.

• More than 11 players on the field at snap for either team: Fivesomes are the bane of my golf day and bringing your novice friend along to join your regular foursome de­serves a game misconduct — oops wrong sport. If you must play a fivesome, be ready to stand by the side of the second tee while EVERYONE behind you goes through.

• Five yards defensive hold­ing or illegal use of hands (au­tomatic first down): This oc­curs when your opponent of­fers you a hand to get out of a particularly deep bunker — you know, like at Red Hawk — and he/she withdraws the hand just as you are reaching for it.

• More than one man in mo­tion at snap: This can be par­ticularly disconcerting if one person is behind you and the other is slightly ahead of you.  You don’t know where to be distracted first.

• Encroachment: When you mark your ball and then re­place it differently — like about an inch closer to the hole.

• Captains not appearing for coin toss: If you can’t get to your tee time at least 15 min­utes early, you should be ready to forfeit your time. Calling ahead and making other arrangements with the officials is permissible and encouraged.

• Excessive timeouts: Usu­ally occurs when a player makes a bathroom stop for number two, or at the turn when they order their five ­course lunch. Or in the worst case, when they do both.

• Illegal motion: The ball must be played with both feet on the ground through the en­tire stroke. Any form of the “Happy Gilmore” stroke should not appear on the golf course.  If you want to show off your Adam Sandler imitation, take it to the range.

• Delay of game: Mulligans are rampant in the game. I have a friend that holds that you can’t hit a mulligan unless you have an extra ball in your pock­et. Makes good sense — there’s nothing worse than waiting for your partner to fetch a ball from their bag for a mulligan.  Oh wait, yes there is — seeing the second one go as far left as the first one went right.

• Less than seven men on offensive line at snap: Your group should be flagged when the other people in your group aren’t positioned as far forward as possible as the player that is out is playing their shot. This can contribute to a delay-of­game foul as well. However, beware of advancing too far in front of a playing partner — see “Offside.”

• Twelve men in the huddle: I guess it isn’t really a huddle and isn’t 12 men, but when you get a foursome of men lining up a putt in a scramble, well, you get the picture. Throw that flag!

• Any player who removes his helmet after a play while on the field: In golf, removing your cap or hat without the benefit of a hairbrush or comb should be flagged as “hat head” isn’t a pleasant sight.

There’s more where that came from, but space is limited. Anyway, I hope you all have a happy New Year and may all your putts roll true and all the breaks fall for you.

A golf architect in New Hamp­shire for over 20 years, Arm­strong brought her craft to Las Cruces in January 2010. She is the founder of Armstrong Golf Architects, which provides plan­ning, designing, permitting and construction monitoring services for golf course projects. Mary is also the executive director for the Rio Grande Golf Course Su­perintendents Association. You can comment on her writing and view past articles at her blog: http://roadholeshorts17.word­



Is Purple Gold the answer to our water future?

I absolutely abhor that Christ­mas has become the “what do you want” holiday, but I’m not above using it to intro­duce my article this week.

I want a world that is at peace and especially one that isn’t fighting about our natural re­sources. Black gold is a familiar moniker for oil, which has been a resource that has increasingly sparked diplomatic unrest, con­flicts and yes, even wars. Oil will probably continue to be highly valued and therefore the continued subject of clashes, but another resource, some­times referred to as “blue gold,” is rushing to the fore as reason for conflict.

Water isn’t far behind oil as a valuable commodity. As we have seen here in the south­west, water is the subject of strong ideas and even stronger emotions. In our lifetime, water has gone from being plentiful to being the subject of extensive conservation efforts. In most restaurants today, you get a glass of water only if you re­quest it. But I suppose we can at least be thankful that it’s still “free,” at least in restaurants.

Here in New Mexico, we’re in a judicial war with Texas over Rio Grande water rights. All over the world, the use of water for golf courses is coming un­der greater scrutiny. Here in Las Cruces, only NMSU and the newly opened Red Hawk do not use recycled water, often al­so referred to as effluent or re­claimed water. Purple Gold (for the color of piping and other components that deliver recy­cled water) is often touted as the answer. Sonoma Ranch Golf Club uses about 30 percent, while the remaining 70 percent is from their own well. I believe Picacho irrigates with a much higher percentage of recycled water, but exact figures are un­available due to current litiga­tion. As development spreads to the northeast, and recycled water becomes available to them, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Red Hawk begin to accept recycled water as well. Because NMSU’s course is bermuda­grass and dormant for a good part of the year, it isn’t a good candidate for recycled water because the system requires that the recipient have a rea­sonably constant usage.

According to Dr. M. Ali, Hari­vand, an area extension special­ist at the University of Califor­nia Cooperative Extension, turf­grass is particularly well suited to irrigation with recycled wa­ter. Among landscape plants, turfgrasses can absorb relative­ly large amounts of nitrogen and other nutrients often found in large quantities in recycled water. This characteristic may greatly decrease the odds of groundwater contamination from its use. Equally important, cool season turfgrass plantings are generally permanent and their growth is continuous. This provides a stable need for con­tinuously produced recycled water. Presently, most of the turfgrass irrigated with recycled water grows on golf courses.

However, recycled water irriga­tion is increasing on sports fields, in parks, on many indus­trial and institutional land­scapes, and on sod production farms.

However, heavy use of recy­cled water poses persistent and sometimes complicated prob­lems for golf course superin­tendents. It’s not the utopia for golf courses that Dr. Harivand projects. High level of soluble salts and nitrogen, among other elements require a whole new cultural management approach.

And the water source isn’t the only problem, because different soils react differently to recy­cled water chemistries.  The use of recycled water is growing, and our city has taken steps to encourage that use with long range plans that are periodically updated. In Sep­tember 2010, Sonoma Ranch Golf Course began using terti­ary treated water from the City’s Reclamation Plant on the East Mesa which is one compo­nent in the City’s long range water reclamation plan. Ac­cording to golf course Superin­tendent Mike Kirkpatrick, nitro­gen levels in the reclaimed wa­ter reduced their fertilization expenditures by about 25 per­cent. However, the reclaimed water is more expensive and ul­timately they have seen no bot­tom-line savings. The water reclamation plans target golf courses and parks as the recipi­ents of the tertiary water. My personal observation is that conditions at Sonoma Ranch suffered for some time as Mike became accustomed to the change in water chemistry. In the past few months, the course has improved significantly.

By the way, a team of re­searchers from China’s Donghua University have de­veloped a fabric that “cleans” it­self when exposed to sunlight.  The key component is titanium oxide, which is commonly found in white paint, some foods and sunscreen. When it is exposed to certain types of light, it kills microbes and breaks down dirt. Imagine that, never having to launder your golf attire!

• “Did sexism cost Tseng Golf Magazine’s Player of the Year award, Whan asks” was Emily Kay’s headline in the on­line magazine “Waggleroom” last week. She and many others have questioned Golf Maga­zine’s selection of Rory McIlroy as “Player of the Year” for 2011.

Michael Whan has taken up the cause – and he should have started it – by pressuring Golf’s editors to explain. Whan ac­knowledges that McIlroy is “a fantastic global ambassador of golf,” but he says he wonders if sexism was a factor.

It’s hard to argue with Yani’s results — 12 wins world-wide and two of her five majors in 2011. She’s the youngest — male or female — to win five majors. Rory won the U.S. Open, and only totaled two wins all year.  Add to that his collapse at the Master’s and it’s hard to see how Tseng isn’t a better choice. In view of Luke Donald’s achievement of being the lead­ing money winner in both the PGA and European tours, I’m not even certain Rory is the best male player.

“You have to ask yourself one question,” Whan said. “If Yani’s 2011 season had been achieved by a man, would you have come to the same conclusion on the 2011 Golf Magazine Play­er of the Year?” Whan sarcastically answered his own question with, “I think we all know the answer to that.” • Annika returns to competi­tive golf: If you’re an Annika Sorenstam fan, be sure to check out the ADT Skills Challenge this weekend (scheduled for 4-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday). An­nika teams with spunky Morgan Pressel to take on the men’s teams of Nick Faldo and Rocco Mediate; Zach Johnson and Jer­ry Kelly; and Mark O’Meara and Nick Price. The four teams square off for the $800,000 prize money. The event is being played at The Breakers in Palm Beach Florida, on their Ocean Course. Morgan Pressel lives only a short distance away. I’ve seen Morgan in one of these things before and she really en­joyed trash talking the guys. It should be a fun take.

This is the first time in ADT Skills Challenge history that two women will form a team, but the “reverse scramble” is back again as the final skill chal­lenge to provide a dramatic conclusion.

A golf architect in New Hamp­shire for over 20 years, Arm­strong brought her craft to Las Cruces in January 2010. She is the founder of Armstrong Golf Architects and is executive direc­tor for the Rio Grande Golf Course Superintendents Associa­tion. You can comment on her writing and view past articles at her blog: http://road

Las Cruces Country Club — lest we forget

This is Part I of a two-part se­ries on the Las Cruces Country Club.

Golf courses are certainly not associated with the old west, but it was a scant 40-odd years after Pat Garrett killed “Billy the Kid” that a group gathered to form what was to become the Las Cruces Country Club.

On March 10 1923, the organ­izers met. During the summer of 1924, the growing assem­blage scraped the mesquite and brush away for a place to play golf on the Northeast Mesa at the edge of the town of about 4,000. The location was some­where within the area which was to become Las Cruces Country Club.

The Club continued to grow and by 1927 they were formally organized and called them­selves L.C.C.C. The following year stock was offered and dues set at three dollars per month.

On March 5, 1928 the first deed was acquired: totaling 177.77 acres of land. During that same year, Al Valestino, a golf pro from El Paso, journeyed to the site and established a six-hole layout. The greens were sand and oil as was the practice when sufficient water or a suit­able turf was not available. LC­CC has had many long-time employees, but none longer than Joe Serabia who coinci­dentally was also the Club’s first employee. Serabia served the Club well for over 45 years and his wife became a valued employee as well.

Not long after, in November of that same year, the Club ac­quired another deed from City Mortgage Co. for another 69.82 acres, making the total 247.59 acres. I’m speculating, but I be­lieve this property was across Highway 70 from the current Club property. This would be the largest amount of property that LCCC would own and that additional 69.82 acres may well have proven to be quite fortu­itous as the Club was virtually always asset rich and cash poor. During the same meeting that announced the land pur­chase, the first Articles of In­corporation were filed by the officers. The officers were: • Fred S. Hess, President of the Board of Directors • Gus Manessee, Vice Presi­dent • Frank T. Bingham, Secre­tary-Treasurer • J.B. Newell, member, served also as Club’s attorney • R.E. Boney, member, served also as the Club’s insur­ance broker The year 1929 marked the year of the Clubhouse as bids were considered and awarded for its construction. In August, a letter to Toro Mfg., indicated that the building was nearing completion and that a new well had been developed that pro­duced an “abundant supply of good water.” The letter went on to describe their success: “The well threw a strong 4” stream, the pump being operat­ed by an electric motor, and the cost of operation so eco­nomical that our Board of Di­rectors decided to grass the course as well as the greens.” The Club was growing and with it members aspirations for a first class facility. Whether before or after the decision to grass the course isn’t clear, but an expert from El Paso (most likely Valestino again) came and rearranged the course so that nine holes could be played using only the original six fair­ways. Shortly thereafter, in fact exactly 82 years ago today, the dues were raised substantially to thirty dollars per month.

The dues amount was deter­mined by much study and the assumption that it was the “lowest possible figure neces­sary for the maintenance and operation of the Club” and that 100 percent of the dues would be collected each month.

The recent economic down­turn wasn’t the only financial disaster to affect the Club. In 1931, during the Great Depres­sion the annual report to stock­holders indicated the Club’s net worth was $19,895.42. More im­portantly, seventy one percent of receivables were in the bad debt reserve.

Not long after, presumably due to the extreme financial circumstances of many mem­bers, the dues were dropped back to five dollars per month.

The period from 1933 to 1939 is described as being “difficult fi­nancially”, but with just 31 members totaling only $1,860 in dues for the year, 1932 was surely no picnic either.

The Depression years were indeed very difficult for the Club. Presidents George M.

Clark and George W. Frenger were able to maintain the membership at around the thir­ty that existed going into the 30’s. However, there were a few members that did more than their part to keep the Club, not only intact, but grow­ing. H.B. Holt is named as par­ticularly valuable during that time and a Gus Menassee (one of the first Club Officers) was said to help financially. At one time Mr. Menassee was on the books for $2,300 in credit. In the late 30’s he raised more than $950 to repair the club­house and followed up with a fundraising for the new swim­ming pool. Unfortunately, by 1938, the Club’s net worth had fallen to $9,634 with notes due of $11,526.

It was also during this time, more precisely in 1937, that the Club sold its first piece of property. Fay Sperry purchased 14.25 acres “across Highway 70 from the 3rd hole” for $750.

Presumably this is the hole that still borders the highway. The remainder of the property across the highway was later sold for the shopping center.

Sperry hired Chris Hansen to build a rock house on the prop­erty, which ostensibly was razed for the shopping center.

As difficult as those times were, the Club moved forward as they hired their first Golf Professional in 1937. Mr. Art Ashton arrived in the spring and immediately took charge of the clubhouse and golf course.

Alas, the Club had to raise bar whiskey to 40 cents and mixed drinks to 50 cents.

As the 30’s became the 40’s and the country began prepar­ing for war, the LCCC shuttled a few other pros through the doors. On the other hand, Joe Serabia was just hitting his stride as greenskeeper, head bar tender and general custodian ­as he served well into the 70’s.

During the 40’s and 50’s his wife Jane, ran the kitchen and organ­ized the “Covered Dish Supper” which was the biggest social event in town at the time.

Next week, the 40’s and be­yond – LCCC becomes a com­munity fixture and the evolu­tion of their layout.

A golf architect in New Hamp­shire for over 20 years, Arm­strong brought her craft to Las Cruces in January 2010. She is the founder of Armstrong Golf Architects, which provides plan­ning, designing, permitting and construction monitoring services for golf course projects. Mary is also the Executive Director for the Rio Grande Golf Course Su­perintendents Association. You can comment on her writing and view past articles at her blog: http://roadholeshorts17.word­

Las Cruces Country Club: Lest we forget, Part II

As last week’s part one concluded, LCCC was the “hot spot” of Las Cruces every Thursday night as the “Covered Dish Supper” was held during the late ’40s and most of the ’50s. But that’s not the only time that the Club was a community gathering place. LCCC has served as a polling place and their ball­room has hosted numerous wedding receptions, retirement parties and the such since it opened in the mid-’50s.
Perhaps the most significant community function has been for charity events. The Burger Time Golf Tournament alone has raised millions of dollars for the Las Cruces public high school athletics (primarily foot­ball) programs. In their heyday, I wouldn’t be surprised if LC­CC was hosting at least one charity tournament per week.  In all, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that LCCC’s facility was the catalyst for generating over $100 million to different chari­ties of interest to Las Crucens.
While the Burger Time tour­naments bring out many of New Mexico and West Texas’ best (and worst) players, the Las Cruces LPGA tournament in the mid ’60s may have been the Club’s crowning achieve­ment. My source for most of these two articles — which were documents compiled by the Country Club — leaves a gap from 1959 to 1970. That is­n’t for lack of action at the course. The Las Cruces Ladies Open (LCLO) inaugural event was in late October 1964. The brain child of Tournament Di­rector, Ernie Williams and sup­ported by a broad spectrum of community businesses, the LP­GA event proved Cruces could bring out the crowds for wor­thy occasions. Although the tournament was dropped after three years, the LCLO had proven to be a favorite of the pros. Kathy Whitworth, Sandra Haynie, Mickey Wright, Louise Suggs, Althea Gibson, Marlene Hagge, Betsy Rawls Clifford Ann Creed, Carol Mann, Mari­lyn Smith and Sandra Palmer were among “pro-ettes”, as the Sun-News referred to the fe­male contestants, that consis­tently played in the event.
Try as they might, the Club always seemed to be unable to make ends meet. When things got too uncomfortable for the Club (or the lenders) a piece of property was sold to reduce the debt or pay for an im­provement. In 1953, $8,000 dol­lars was borrowed at 6 percent interest to increase water dis­tribution for the course. A few months later, 30 acres were sold to the City for $8,250. The 30 acres became Apodaca Park. In 1956, about 50 acres were sold to Seaborn Collins for $65,000. That money was used to build the present lounge, rest rooms and ball­room. Later that year, dues were raised to nine dollars a month. Thereafter, the land holdings remained stable until 1980, when four parcels (de­scribed as the Madrid, High­way 70 East, Camino Del Rex, and the triangle) were sold for $237,500. The money was used to pay down debt. The final disposition of excess property took place in 1985 when a 50­foot-by-50-foot parcel was sold to Mountain Bell Telephone for a switching station at a price of $13,500.
Not long after that last piece of land was gone, President Jim Delamater, reminded the membership, “that this Club, while residing on extremely valuable property, does have and almost always has had more expenses than member­ship income.” Throughout the late ’70s, ’80s and ’90s the Club explored alternatives to remaining at the valuable Main Street site. The documents I have reviewed mention numerous proposals for all kinds of deals including selling, buying, merging and swapping. In all proposals however it was always the Club’s interest seemed to lean toward maintaining its organi­zation with a turnkey ex­change.
The Sun-News articles in ad­vance of the ’64 LCLO, de­scribed the Las Cruces Country Club golf course as being 6,340 yards at a par of 72. It was a long hard road for the Club to reach the goal of an 18-hole regulation length course. LC­CC’s meager beginnings fea­tured a cleared patch of desert.
Not long after the 6-hole layout was roughed out, it morphed into a compact nine-holer. In 1953, the Club began to consid­er expanding to a full 18-hole course. Although, as mentioned earlier, my source documents don’t cover the ’60s, the Club apparently achieved the full build out of the course since in ’64, the lady pros came to town. In many ways, this was to be the Club’s pinnacle: its crown­ing achievement.
Late in the ’60s, Joe Serabia, still maintaining the course and providing general custodian duties, complained that the Club doubled his work by adding nine holes without in­creasing his pay. Joe was to put in another five years, before re­tiring in 1973.
It was my intent to show the evolution of the layout. I don’t have documentation of the var­ious layouts, and although I could speculate, I won’t in the interest of maintaining accura­cy. I have been told that the original nine holes all lay to the west of the Clubhouse, and therefore the new nine is to the east, but that is all that I know for certain.
Perhaps the most iconic ob­ject, aside from the open serene landscape itself, is the wrought iron stanchion that stands at the entrance to the Club. Frank Holler, a member since 1955, had the structure fabricated and erected in 1987.
The 29-foot-high structure has a colored stone base and 18­inch-high letters. A list of donors is inscribed on the left side. It’s hard to imagine the place without that structure and equally hard to accept that much less enticing structures may one day fill that area. LC­CC: I salute you as a bastion of the game and a monument to ‘Crucen’s perseverance.
A golf architect in New Hamp­shire for over 20 years, Arm­strong brought her craft to Las Cruces in January 2010. She is the founder of Armstrong Golf Architects, which provides plan­ning, designing, permitting and construction monitoring services for golf course projects. Mary is also the Executive Director for the Rio Grande Golf Course Su­perintendents Association. You can comment on her writing and view past articles at her blog: http://roadholeshorts17.word­

Looking at proper golf-cart ettiquette (or your golf cart and you)

I’m astounded by the treatment that golf carts get in the area.  None are worse than those at Sonoma Ranch.  I suppose the more people pay, the more they feel they can abuse.  Whatever, it’s not just the carts at Sonoma, (where I hear they are getting new ones), but all around the area.  I have to admit that I’ve taken a swat at a golf cart tire with my club in anger.  The last time was at the 2010 SCAGA Women’s Championship.  Unfortunately, I missed the tire and hit the cart body – perhaps I should have realized that because my game was off I couldn’t hit anything I was aiming for.  Actually, it’s no laughing matter, but I guess I didn’t hit it very hard, because it wasn’t damaged.  The most important thing about it was that I felt horrible.  To top it off, SCAGA Executive Director, Matt Williams was standing nearby.  He gave me a glare that would melt titanium and simply said “we frown on that sort of thing here.”

I haven’t done anything even close to that since then.  Perhaps for some of us, it takes getting called out for the message to take effect.  I’m not going to say “do as I say, not as I do”, but I am going to offer up some golf cart etiquette suggestions. 

I have a few golden rules for cart use, which I try to adhere to.  I hope you find them helpful.

  1. 1.       A cart is a rented vehicle, treat it like you would a rental car. 
  2. 2.       Choose your route at least as carefully as you would when walking the course.  Avoid potholes, puddles, sticks, stones, you get the idea.
  3. 3.       A cart should speed up play.  Having to go back to the cart for a different club is a huge waste of time.  If the other player in your cart is within 50 yards of your ball, park between them and frame your shot by taking at least two clubs to your ball.  This will not only speed your play, but also reduce the wear on the course.  Shots around the green are the most troublesome – at least for me – when selecting the club to bring.  Again, frame the shot.  You may not know from the cart if you want to hit the shot high, low or putt it.  Take the clubs that give you all the possibilities.  Another reason I don’t like cart golf is the greater potential for leaving a club behind.  However, I’ve found that carrying two or more clubs up to the green somehow reduces the chance that you’ll leave them behind.  One club seems to be easily forgotten, whereas two or more are not.  Carry an extra ball in your pocket as well so you don’t have to walk back to the cart for a mulligan or lost ball situation.
  4. 4.       A cart causes significantly more damage than two people walking.  If you can join someone else rather than take out a second cart, do so.  I wish the local courses would insist on this.  Concerning course damage and carts:
    1. a.       Don’t make sharp turns, especially if you are standing still.  I’ve seen this cause more damage than two divots.  Don’t make jack rabbit starts or quick stops on the course and avoid them on paths as well. 
    2. b.      Don’t drink and drive, don’t even putt – seriously, you’re not as acquainted with how a cart handles as you are your car.
    3. c.       If the course only has intermittent cart paths – say at tees and greens, this means you MUST use them in those locations.  And if the course has a full cart path system, you STILL must use the paths near the tees and greens.  Otherwise stay at least 40 yards from greens and tees.
    4. d.      If you must drive ahead to determine how you should play your next shot, don’t wait until it’s your turn to play.
    5. e.      Check with the proshop or starter regarding the cart rules of the day and get an explanation if you need it.  A 90 degree rule has nothing to do with the ambient temperature.

By the way, the maintenance staff knows who is abusing the course regularly.  They see it all.  I remember when I worked on the golf course crew in high school, it felt like someone was punching me in the nose when I saw them swing recklessly and take a divot out of the green or break a rake or swing at a branch on a tree.  Back then, we were EXPECTED to call out people that were abusing the course – not in an aggressive or demeaning way, but to simply say something like “we frown on that sort of thing here.”  Personally, I think the golf business isn’t well suited to the “customer is always right” idiom.  It seems to me that in the long run 180 happy players on a weekend day is far better business than 200 that barely tolerated their round.

We as a society may have lost our ability to receive public criticism.  It seems that some people feel a public directive is an invitation for confrontation.  It’s a shame, because understanding can’t happen without open communication, whether you’re on the golf course or in the Congress.  

A golf architect in New Hampshire for over 20 years, Armstrong brought her craft to Las Cruces in January 2010.  She is the founder of Armstrong Golf Architects, which provides planning, designing, permitting and construction monitoring services for golf course projects.  Mary is also the Executive Director for the Rio Grande Golf Course Superintendents Association.  You can comment on her writing and view past articles at her blog: