Weekly update and Presidential visit

Another week has passed and my wish is coming true. August sure seems to be flying by for me anyway. The member guest without a date or a visit from President Obama finally happened on Thursday, sorry ladies day, and by all accounts was a success. I call it that because I personally want the course to be as good as it can be for the visit. Obviously I want it to be as good as it can every day but when this is what a bunker looks like at the end of the day it requires last minute attention for a special course mid day.
2 bunker normal morning condition

We bumped up some of our normal mowing to avoid scheduling disasters and get the course as spiffy as we can. We only mow greens on weekends so Fridays and Mondays are big mow days for everything else which is a lot of acreage. Normally we mow rough Tuesdays and Thursdays. Schedules are made based on crew size, budgets and growth rate. Remember this is not a TV event, we do not get volunteers or extra equipment or work at night. On our regular schedule the rough by Tuesday morning it is getting long so if we had a visit on Tuesday morning and had to skip, it would be even longer by days end. The goal is to have an enjoyable course not a tricked up test for Professionals. Also we would then leave clippings everywhere and have to blow them adding work etc. 
Obama, Fred, Ellen, Chet, me

The thought process is this: If he came early Monday it would have been hectic since we were trying to get ahead, but we would be in good shape for Monday afternoon and be ahead of the game if an early Tuesday visit. I have a regularly scheduled visit with a vendor mid-week so make sure his name is on the list for end of the road security. Touch base with said vendor as does Mike from Farm Neck and everyone prays this won't become a disaster. As each day comes everybody is asking when & if he is coming, anticipating, excited, talking about what he is doing etc (see previous post). And as each day comes and no visit the frustration mounts and the schedule is completely out of whack. We skipped mowing fairways Wednesday since we applied our fertilizer application so that freed up some time so we re-cut the green surrounds. I changed cups and put in freshly painted ones in anticipation, today's the day right? No visit. By Thursday you are fed up and just go about your day and say we will figure it out as it comes. I thought about rolling greens but decided I could be more productive doing other things. I wash our utility carts because the Secret Service uses them and quite frankly they are filthy. We mow greens, rake bunkers, and mow rough as normal which is to say backwards so as to not chase golfers around the course. I get the call at 8:30 that he is coming at 11:00. Well damn that is not a lot of time to do anything. The timing of Otis mowing rough will put him right in harms way. We already had our issues with him mowing in front of the show a few years ago and let's just say he was just being himself and it was not appreciated. As much as we try to keep everyday golfers out of the fescue with carts, when the guys with guns show up and it is their job to protect POTUS they are going to drive wherever they want period. Otis had/has issues with that so we just make sure he is off the course. Fred is arriving and can go forward and stay ahead of the show doing green and tee surrounds. I will head out and change cups and tee markers and put the wire flags marking the irrigation snap valves at every green. Usually we mow greens right in front to clean up the foot scuffers and make a nice surface. Joe says not necessary and I decide we can only do so much with short notice. 

After meet/greet with Joe, Georgie, Bill

Normal procedure is to set up the course easy. Cannot have the President 4 putting some of our classic "favorite" positions. But as I am changing them my priority is use the brand new flags I have left in stock and find the cleanest spot on the green and tee. Easier said than done. Flag inventory is 3 red 4 white 3 blue. There are not three easy red pins on this course and some are down right torture. Now I will quantify this. Kevin Cleary our former assistant used to put out a lot of red flags on ladies day and say "they love them, think they are easy". So sure enough as I am sneaking onto the greens as the ladies are playing they are joking that I am making the pins easy even when I put it on the front of 4 and again on 8. I decided there were no houses on 4 so if he was going to have a tough hole there would not be any witnesses, you are welcome Mr. President I had your six. The reason to wait on cup changing is our greens are so small if we change them every day after a week you cannot find a spot without an old cup or a ball mark. I won't even talk about a clean spot on tees. On 8 I explained to another group of ladies that red pins may be easy to get to from 30 yards but get much harder from 180 or better. Eye opener for both of us. I wonder if the new tees have made the red pins harder for some ladies who are now able to reach in 2? 

Grabbing some high ground on my deck
Anyway I raced to 9 and tossed him a softball pin for the photo op and spectators on porch. Hoping at this point I have time to shower and shave. As I drive to shop to unload there are agents everywhere, it is go time. I get way laid by a few questions, lose the dog for a few, notice the bomb sniffing Shepard and panic. Ask an agent if I have time for a shower and he says "depends how long you take to shower" damn. Needless to say I do not wait for the warm water to arrive before jumping under and take my fastest ever. Race down to porch to greet a few people ask if I am bleeding anywhere, surprised that I am not, get a few wardrobe adjustments and then swept away to deal with one of the entrances and posting security. I was fortunate to ride point with an agent from Boston in front of the President, a first for me. It was amazing how the people just appear from everywhere and the response that is required to secure it all. Swear I saw gray hair appearing on Dan's head. I mis-behaved a bit and took some covert pictures and tweeted them out to my followers and had a few conversations going as we drove all over the place. Only had one paparazzi with a huge camera on 7 tee. He came in from Tashmoo and we were both happy to be able to push him back into the woods. The agents were cordial to all spectators and I was really taken to see the sniper guys pictured above approach some young children and hand out pins. Said to Dan "interesting you have the most heavily armored guys doing the good will" he responded "it works" and he was right it made them a lot less scary. Wonder if they used the same tactics with Bert who was left on my deck but was inside when I arrived and found them on the deck instead. I did ask permission to take that photo by the way. 
So just another normal week at the Mink in August. Plans were finalized for a contractor to come in and slice seed fairways 9/3. This is the day after Labor Day and we were already scheduled to have a contractor deep tine aerify our greens. We have decided to close the course entirely so these guys can get their work done in an efficient manner. We normally go to temp greens on aerifying day anyway so play is greatly reduced. I sent an email to our tree guy to plan for stump grinding that day also if he does not come in before hand. Might as well make it a party. I appreciate your cooperation and trust me no one wants to get the fairways back into top shape more than me but it is impossible to get anything done with the volume of play we have right now so this was a great option. There will be more on this in the future.

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