Let us explain the 15″ cup

I’d like to take this opportunity to address some questions and what we believe some possible confusion surrounding the 15″ Cup initiative.

First let me address some history and how we (Par Aide) are involved. The 15″ Cup was the brainchild of Taylor Made and came to life via a project they are calling “Hack Golf”. This is a project designed around growing the game of golf. Hack Golf is an open forum for people to comment and give thoughts/ideas on ways to grow the game…that has been steadily declining. Golf is losing golfers, rounds are down, revenue is down to facilities and courses are closing and are projected to continue to close in the US at a staggering rate over the next 10 years. We need to look outside the box and think of different ways to grow the game and this idea is just one of them. Taylor Made announced their investment in this project at the 2014 PGA Show and approached Par Aide to partner with them in production of the cup, hole cutter, flag sticks, flags and tee markers. A kick off event was held at Reynolds Plantation on the Monday after The Masters where sports writers from across the country were introduced to the 15″ Cup idea. Since then, many articles have been written about that event and the 15″ Cup.
This is where we see some of the confusion happening as many of these commentaries have missed the mark. The 15″ Cup is NOT designed to replace a regulation cup. It is not meant to be used in normal everyday play for an avid golfer. It is not something anyone is trying to promote to change the integrity of the game. It is meant to be just one more idea to attract beginners, kids, etc to the game. Its hard to argue that the game of golf, that we are all deeply invested in, needs to find ways to grow. Attract new golfers. Increase rounds. Increase revenue. Again, In no way, shape or form is the 15″ cup meant to replace a regulation cup, rather, the thought is that it could be used in conjunction with a regulation cup to offer beginners a different target to putt to. Think of it like tee ball for baseball. Lowering the rim and using a smaller ball for basketball. Bumpers for bowling. Or any other sport that makes modifications to attract beginners and make the game easier and less intimidating for them. Other than shorter clubs and Jr. Tees, golf is not doing much to make an extremely difficult game easier, less intimidating and more inviting for say a 6 year old.

Will the 15″ Cup be for every club? Of course not. And Mark King, CEO of Taylor Made, who has committed $5 million to growing the game of golf readily admits this. But to his credit, he is doing something about it whether it works or not.

Does the 15″ Cup come without a number of maintenance issues for Golf Course Superintendents? No, obviously. That is where we come in and why Taylor Made chose to partner with us. We are doing everything we can to make the process as easy as possible for our customers. We are looking at different ways to cut the cup, mowing practice when the cup is in play, designs in the actual playability of the cup, etc.

While this idea doesn’t come without its fair share of “issues” we hope our customers as well as the golfing community can understand what the true goal of this project is. To grow the game of golf and preserve its future.

Dan Brown

Sales & Marketing Manager

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Got ice?

Good year for ice rinks of the homebuilt kind.  Couple years ago, I asked members of our MGCSA to submit photos of ice rinks they had made either at their course or at home.  Got some great photos.  Seems Minnesota isn’t the only state that likes to skate.

Adama Ikamas, CGCS sent in a photo from Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa in Thompsonville, MI.  It is about 50′ x 80′.  150 to 200 hours are spent maintaining it each winter.  A 1″ hand watering hose and nozzle are used and of course some good old cold weather.

Michael Stachowicz, Superintendent at Dedham Country and Polo Club in Dedham, MA, sent in photos of the rink they maintain for their members.  There is a lot of care that goes into their rink, but it really is enjoyed and used.  They use a mini Zamboni called a Bambini … which has really improved their ice.

Andrew Carlson, Assistant Superintendent at TPC of the Twin Cities, sent in photos of the rinks, yes that is plural, they make two.  The small rink 90′ x 45′ is used for boot hockey.  The large rink 150′ x 60′ is used for ice hockey.  They bring in the big lights too.

Accessory Tips and Maintenance – Rakes and Flagsticks

Go through your bunker rakes.  Replacing broken heads and damaged handles.  A hodgepodge of types, colors and conditions will be noticed by the golfers.

Finally, a number of courses in our area use last year’s flag sticks, cups and flags for the early days of the season and then put out all new for the first outing of the year. Non-member clubs should start the year out with new to set the impression that brings back the golfers for their next round.

Accessory Tips – Benches, Divot Mix & Broken Tees

Continuing on some easy Golf Course Accessory tips.  Again, none of this stuff is new.  It’s just a reminder that in your quest to provide those perfect turf conditions the simple stuff can sometimes just get overlooked.  Most of my golfing friends can’t tell the difference between poa from bent, but they sure know when the accessories look bad.  Perhaps unfairly, their decision on where to play next week might just hinge on that.

Are you a walking course for many?  Please give them a place to sit on at least some of the tee boxes.

How about divot mix and broken tee boxes?  I am familiar with one private club that assigned each tee box to 1-3 letters in the alphabet.  Members were then asked to take responsibility for maintaining the hole with their first initial assigned to it.  It actually became a matter of great pride as to who had the best maintained hole.

If you have pictures or comments on some of the different things you do for your course and would like to share please pass them along.  You can do so here or send to info@paraide.com and I will post them.

Golf 2010

Rounds are down, revenues are down, and the number of golfers is down. Can it all be blamed on the economic downturn? Surely some if not a lot attributed to job insecurity if not just plain lack of disposable income. However, when the dust settles and we head into a growth period, will the game be back as before? It will be back but to what extent?

The demographics seem to support a surge in golfers as more and more baby boomers retire, maybe not as soon as they had planned, but retire they will. I am in that group and after actually burning out a number of years ago, I am ready to buy new sticks in 2010 and hit the links. 

Very good public courses are plentiful, privates are cutting deals for new members and it is still a social activity for both pleasure and business. Once folks settle into this age of internet connectivity and business picks up, I believe time will be made for a round of golf. If I have a concern, it is the connectivity I referred to above. Will folks be able to leave the iPhone and Blackberry’s in the car, or will they meld the two together? How will it affect the game? That is the question.

An Interesting Request

I received an unusual request the other day.  A customer in Africa asked if we made a stronger flag stick.  Following some inquiry, it turns out that the general flag sticks available don’t seem to hold up to elephants scratching themselves on the stick.  How does one answer that?

A while back I requested photos of animals on golf courses.  Let’s take that a step further.

Through the years I have heard about animal abuse of all nature, involving kangaroos, bears, cows, squirrels, sheep, geese, etc.  Do you have any photos of the damage or better yet, the culprits caught in the act?

Here is a photo of a bear cub wrestling with one of our flag sticks at Whistler Golf Club in Bristsh Columbia, Canada.  Thanks to Dave Gottselig, Superintendent at Whistler GC for sending in this great photo!

Bear Cub wrestling a flag stick.  Whistler Golf Club, Superintendent Dave Gottselig

U.S. Open Photo Alert!

09 US Open

Accuform Squeegee's being put to work

No way I can resist calling attention to the first photo that appeared on the U.S. Open website today (6/18/2009).  Sort of proves the old adage that one person’s loss is another’s gain.  The U.S. Open players and spectators are enduring a rain delay in today’s opening round . . . but Par Aide products are hard at work!!  These four workers are pushing Par Aide Accuform Squeegee Rollers!

Tiger admiring the squeegee work

Tiger admiring the squeegee work

More Squeegee's at work

More Squeegee's at work

A little water to move

A little water to move