A Turfgrass Legacy: Par for the course

Bill Fach, superintendent at Black Bear Ridge Golf Course in Belleville, Ont., has been maintaining golf courses for the last 43 years. Photo courtesy Bill Fach

By Molly Doyle

During the summer, Bill Fach gets up around 5:30 a.m. to prepare the course before the first golfer tees off. He says every course has its own schedule, and staff normally works eight hours.

“They get the heck in, do their stuff and cut the greens, and get out, Fach explains. “They get their job done before the golfers get here because they slow us down. We have to wait for them every time we want to do something because we are in the way.”

Since Fach’s job is also his hobby, he works more than most people at the golf course—between 70 and 75 hours a week. He is out there seven days a week, pulling at least 10-hour days. He does not take weekends off, either. Since he lives at the golf course, he is outside about six hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays, and sometimes even finds himself driving around at night checking things out.

Fach looks after all the grounds, not just the golf course itself. He maintains about 107 ha (265 acre) of the 324-ha (800-acre) site by cutting the fields down twice a year so they do not overgrow with the trees, and maintaining the fine turf. Fach’s team cuts the greens and tees three times per week—about 2 ha (about 5 acre) each. The fairways (totalling 10 ha [25 acre]) are also cut three times a week, and the rough is cut continuously for a week. Then his team starts all over again. The holes in the greens are changed daily so when a golfer plays two days in a row, he or she does not have the same hole on the green.

The traps and bunkers are also raked by hand on a daily basis. Once a week, the crew is sent around to fill in the divots or chunks taken out of the turf with seed and topsoil—a task that takes about 15 to 20 hours to complete.

“You can see we just do not look after a little bit of turf—we have a whole bunch of other things to do to make things look nice and clean and neat,” Fach explains. “I mean, there are smaller jobs we do, but normally those are the basics of what golf course superintendents would do in a week for, say, 30 weeks.”

Read the full article: A Turfgrass Legacy: Bill Fach’s driving ambition

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