Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tournament time - Ball Roll

For our biggest and most competitive event of the season, ball roll and greens conditioning is the up most importance and a precedence we have set the last several years to have the greens rolling.  Using the term "ball roll" instead of greens speed for describing the quality of a putting surface, means the condition of a green is not just measured by the speed but also by how smooth, true, and consistent it rolls, and all of those characteristics in my opinion make up "ball roll".  Yes the greens will be very fast this weekend but they will also be ultra smooth, firm, true, and consistent.

2013 Whing Ding Sole Survivor
Staff has worked extremely hard the last two weeks fine tuning the condition of the greens.  Ball roll does not come from just dropping the height of cut, but it is a combination of fertilizer running out at the right time so the greens are very lean, the height of cut, sand topdressing for a smooth and firm surface, rolling frequency and timing, and the moisture level from irrigation in the green.  The first four items listed have all taken place over the last two weeks and now the only thing left is to dry the greens down as far as we can to get the hard firm surface.  A little strategic planning while we watch mother nature to get the timing just right so they peak with moisture level by Monday afternoon (the lack of), but we do not dry them down to quickly.  There are a lot of aspects that go into managing tournament greens and it is not just dropping the height of cut or turning off the water, but a combination of many different aspects.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tourney time - pin placements

This coming weekend is one of our biggest and most competitive tournaments of the season.  For these major events we go out and select the pin placements for each day about 1 week in advance.  This allows us to stay away from these pin locations for regular daily play for the entire week leading up, with the hopes that the turf around the cup will receive less traffic and less ballmarks.   That does mean for this week that we will have some pin locations that may not be our "typical" locations, they may be closer to a hump or closer to the collar than normal.

Pin placement is closer to the center ridge than we would normally cut

They will still be very fair and in good locations, but they might be a little different than normal as we protect and grow-in the prime areas that we will be using for the event.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Disease Pressure

Last week we received 0.7" of rain coupled with our typical summer heat of 94-100, is the perfect scenario for disease to pop up around the course.  We do spray the greens on a preventative basis and fortunately we just sprayed them with a fungicide the week before.  In the picture you can see why we spray preventatively for diseases throughout the summer.  As we spray the green we include the collar and turn the booms off at the edge.  Here you can see exactly where we shut off each boom and the yellow tan disease of dollar spot that popped up in the area that was not sprayed.

Something like this is actually good to see, because it tells us that we do need to keep with our fungicide applications, and the products that we are using are giving us very good control.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Collar/Apron Management

The collars around a green, or perimeters / aprons, are a very tough area to manage.  You have so much traffic on the immediate surrounding area of a green with the collar mower that mows the turf, the greens mower is turning in that area on every turn, rollers are unloaded and loaded and they may also roll a portion of the collar, the approach mower could be turning on the collar edge, and then the golfer traffic and push carts that target the green surround area.

Every pass a walking greens mower makes across the green includes a turn on the collar
Every superintendent has their own philosophy to manage this traffic and maintain the collar area from getting stressed and thin after a hot summer.  Some guys use sheets of plywood or lattice to turn on with their mowers, others try to keep as much traffic off the collar as possible and route push carts or golfers different directions, and you sometimes see that occasional rope line right on the edge of a green

Along with doing many of these techniques, one of my strategies is to fertilize that area extra and keep them healthier.  We use a drop spreader to fertilize only the collar 3 times a year during the growing season.  Since we have started this process, I have had no thin areas or weak areas on the collars.

Actively growing turf can recover from that extra traffic and stress a lot quicker, healthier turf will stand up to the extra traffic, and because of all the wear and tear we are not concerned with the organic matter buildup, or thatch, because that is taken acre of with the abuse they receive.  That is why you see that darker green ring around the putting surface, extra nutrition and growth to stand up to all the abuse.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bunker Rake Placement

Placement of bunker rakes is something that you hear discussed at different golf courses and where the course likes them to be located.  They can effect maintenance efficiency, playability of the course, and general aesthetics.  We ask that everybody places them inside the bunker along the edge with the handle facing back toward the tee.

The theory on that is they do no effect the maintenance staff when they are trying to mow around the bunker, they do not stop a ball from rolling in the hazard that would of otherwise done so, and being on the side has a less of a chance to effect the ball than being across the front of the bunker.  Also, proper placement after using the rake does really make the bunker look clean and neat.  Compared to these after pictures.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Photos of the month

I receive a lot of comments from people that follow the blog that are not members here, asking for more pictures of the course.  As you can tell, I do take a lot of pictures while I am on the course.  Here are a few recent ones I have taken.  Enjoy...

Waterfalls at #1 tee
#4 - par 3
#2 green
#5 fairway and #3 in the background

#3 fairway
#17 fairway
#18 fairway



And yes, we are open all year around

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Poa Annua - Summer time stress

With the temperatures ranging from 96-106 for the last 3 weeks, and the next 3 weeks forecasted to be the same, our Annual Bluegrass has been under a lot of stress.  Annual Bluegrass is a species that does not do well in extreme heat nor extreme cold and snow conditions.  Its growth cycle is also just what its name implies - an annual grass.  Meaning it grows for one season and dies off.  Now Poa is one of, if not the most, adaptable turf type there is and many perennial types of Poa have evolved over the years.  The perennial types still get very weak and take a lot of care during the extreme heat and extreme cold, but they do not die out like a true annual.  Fortunately most of our poa on the golf course is the perennial type.  In the photo below you see the Poa is a lime green, weaker, and typically in the late afternoons it shows stress.  The greener turf is kentucky bluegrass and shows no sign of stress.

Here in a fairway picture below, the poa looks weak, is thinning, and appears to be sunken, whereas the creeping bentgrass is strong, full, and appears healthy.

The poa requires a lot of babysitting in the summer and in the winter, but in the spring and fall when it is 65 degrees and it rains then poa loves life.  Thats why it germinates and strives in the spring here but then struggles throughout the summer, only to do it all over again next year.  Hence the reason why we manage for kentucky bluegrass in the roughs and creeping bentgrass in fairways and thus all the test plost that we try of various growth regulators, cultural practices, and irrigation water management to discourage poa growth.

Another location in the rough where the poa is struggling compared to surrounding desired turf