Friday, March 20, 2020

COVID-19 Precautions on the Golf Course

In order to provide a safe environment on the golf course we took several actions this week. These included the removal of bunker rakes, ball washers and trash can lids from the golf course. As of Saturday, March 21st we will be placing small sections of "pool noodles" into the cup to keep your ball from falling to the bottom. This will allow any holed balls to be easily removed without having to touch the flagstick.

Here is an example of a pool noodle being used to make the ball easily retrievable.

Thursday, March 12, 2020


Those of us in the grounds department have received many nice complements from the members this season on the condition of the golf course. These comments are always appreciated. Don't hesitate to let any of our hardworking team members know how much you appreciate their efforts.

Based on many member suggestions, we would like to implement an "Adopt-a-Hole" program here at Isla. In order to promote even better conditions, we want to engage the members to take ownership of your golf course. Each of you will be assigned a hole based on the first letter of your last name. When you play your assigned hole you are asked to:
  •  Fill extra divots
  •  Repair additional ballmarks
  •  Pick up any litter 
These extra efforts will help make up for those who "forget" to follow normal golfer course care etiquette. Of course, you are always welcome to care for other golf holes in addition to your own. Let's see who can have the best maintained golf hole!
Hole - Last Name
 1 - A
 2 - B
 3 - C
 4 - D
 5 - E & F
 6 - G
 7 - H
 8 - I & J
 9 - K
10 - L
11 - M
12 - N & O
13 - P & Q
14 - R
15 - S
16 - T
17 - U & V
18 - W, X, Y & Z

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

What are those orange lines?

While playing golf, you may notice orange lines that seem to be randomly painted on the turf in various areas of the golf course. These lines are used as indicators for the grounds maintenance employees. They are typically used to indicate to the mower operators changes being made to how a specific area is to be mowed. The paint is only visible for a few days before disappearing and has no impact or relevance to you as golfers.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Out of Bounds Change #1

Effective February 20th, the new fence will indicate the Out-of-Bounds line to the right of hole #1. Once the end of the fence is reached, out-of-bounds is then marked by white stakes. All plants are in play but free relief may be taken if a wooden stake supporting a tree impedes with your stance or swing. The fence itself is considered to be out-of-bounds. Relief is not granted from the fence.

The New Wooden Fence Now Serves as the Out-of-Bounds Line on the Right of #1

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Golf Cart Rules

This week you will notice implementation of a more aggressive cart management program. In 2019 we removed the yellow ropes with the expectation that our members would make their best effort to follow the 90 degree rule as listed in the Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club Rules and Regulations. Yellow ropes used to lay across each fairway and indicate when carts were to return to the cartpath. They were removed in attempt to eliminate an unnecessary obstruction from the fairway. However, we have discovered that golfers now commonly proceed all the way up to the green to the blue line. This blue line is intended to mark the boundary where those with handicap flags must stop. Now most golfers have been driving up to the blue line and handicap flags have proceeded to the edge of the green in many cases. This becomes especially problematic during periods of cool weather as we have been experiencing recently. 

When we drive or walk on grass we cause wear to the leaf blades, accelerating death to those leaves. Most of the time this is not noticeable since the plant grows fast enough to put out new leaves before the old ones die. However, during periods of cool weather and low-growth the grass plants do not generate new leaves fast enough to recover. This can be troublesome in many areas but is most noticeable in areas with heavy foot or cart traffic. Issues caused by cart traffic are most obvious where carts leave the cart path from the tee to the fairway as well as when carts return to the cart path by the green. This is due to the heavy concentration of carts that all take a similar path. The best way to combat this is to be aware of wear patterns and avoid them. The Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club Rules and Regulations state:   

Unless other restrictions are specified by the pro shop, the 90 degree rule will be in affect at all times. The proper procedure is to stay on the cart path until the players reach the ball closest to the tee. At that point, the cart may leave the cart path and proceed to the ball. Thereafter, all carts in the group may proceed on the fairway for remaining shots until reaching the “No Carts” boundary.

Carts should not be driven within twenty-five (25) yards of greens or beyond markers and ropes. Carts with authorized Handicap/Blue Flags will not be driven inside the blue outlines around any green. In the absence of a blue line, a cart will not be driven closer than fifteen feet (15’) of a green, and will never be driven between a greenside bunker and a green.

The intent of these rules is to effectively disperse cart traffic and reduce the amount of carts all traveling in the same spot, protect/improve course conditions and provide for a safe environment. You can find all of the club rules on the Bulletin Board of the Member Central section of the Isla webpage here:
  • This week we will be placing two white stakes with black stripes on all Par 4's and Par 5's.
  • The first stake will be placed off of the tee. Use this stake as an indicator for when it is safe to enter the fairway. Please proceed past this stake and all the way even with the first ball in the fairway before exiting the cartpath.
  • The second stake will be placed closer to the green. A straight blue line will be painted across the fairway to the vicinity of this second stake. Please use this as the farthest point you are allowed to take carts before exiting to the cartpath unless you have a handicap flag.

  • As used in the past, there will also be a blue line around each green. This is the limit for carts possessing a handicap flag. 
  • Only carts with handicap flags are allowed off the path on Par 3's. 
  • No carts are allowed off the path when a hole or course is deemed to be "Cart Path Only."
Your attention to these cart rules will help protect your golf course and improve playing conditions.
The First Stake on a Hole Indicates When It Is Safe to Exit the Cartpath
Second Stake Placed in the Vicinity of a Straight Blue Line Indicates Where Carts Should Exit the Fairway to the Cartpath
The Blue Line Around Each Green is the Boundary for Players with Handicap Flags

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Ballmarks and Beers - January 23rd @ 2:00

As your golf course superintendent I invite you to join me this coming Thursday, January 23rd at 2:00 for "Ballmarks and Beers." We will meet by the practice putting green at 2:00 and proceed to the first green in golf carts. I will demonstrate the proper technique for repairing ballmarks on our greens. Following the demonstration we will proceed throughout the golf course repairing ballmarks and making our golf course better. There will be refreshments served and I promise we will have fun! The more volunteers we have, the faster the work will go. There is a sign up sheet in the golf shop to help facilitate planning.

See you Thursday!
Kevin Sunderman
Isla Del Sol Golf Course Superintendent

Monday, January 13, 2020

How to Properly Repair Ballmarks and Divots

Every winter we notice an increased number of ballmarks on the putting greens and divots in the fairways. There are a few reasons for why this is. First, we have an increased number of players. We are much busier in the winter months. More rounds = more wear and tear on the golf course including ballmarks and divots. 

Secondly, the grass grows much slower in the winter than summer. In summer, the grass is growing so quickly that even unrepaired ballmarks can recover within a few days! In the winter it can take a month or longer.

While it is important to repair ballmarks, it is equally important to do it correctly and right away. So often golfers use their repair tools to "Pop" the soil up when repairing the ballmark. This is incorrect. The popping motion just brings soil to the surface as opposed actually repairing the ballmark. Instead, the grass surrounding the ballmark needs to be gently pulled or twisted back over the depression left by the ball impacting the green. 

Not only is it important to repair a ballmark correctly, it is also vital to make the repair as soon as possible. A promptly repaired ballmark will be unnoticeable within a few days. A ballmark left unrepaired for even just a few hours can take 30 days or more to disappear. 

In the following video I explain the desired method for repairing ballmarks and filling divots. The video can be found by clicking this link.

 Stay tuned for upcoming messages including:
  • Ballmarks and Beers event scheduled for January 23rd!
  • NEW!!! Adopt-a-hole program
  • Explanations of cart traffic control
  • Proper bunker etiquette 
For additional information and videos regarding proper techniques for ballmark repair, you can visit here: