Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Storm Clean-up

We had a storm roll through last night that was reported to have 60 mph wind gusts, heavy thunder and lightning, some areas saw hail, and minimal rain.  Just the type of storm that creates a lot of work for the agronomy team, winds to dry the golf course out, and very little rain that we can actually benefit from.  We lost 3 complete trees, nothing that was major or effecting play, lots of medium size branches, and a tremendous amount of small sticks and leaves.  Here are some pictures from clean-up today.


Blowing fairways clean of leaves
Most all of the big stuff was cleaned up this morning to allow ladies to play as normal, leaf and small sticks should be finished by the end of the day.

We did loose some of the tin off the roof of the cart sheds
We did not find any damage to the electrical portion of the irrigation system yet, but in the mist of all the clean-up, we did have an irrigation pipe break to repair today.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Water Supply Maintenance

Every golf course puts a lot of time and effort into maintaining their water supply.  If it is effluent water in the southwest, river or canal water in the Western U.S., or well water in the Midwest.  Golf course managers are very good stewards of the land and stewards of our water supply, and proper maintenance and usage of that natural resource is critical.  In our situation, it is a pumpstation down at the river that pumps water 800 ft in elevation up to our pond on #18 where it is distributed throughout the course by another pumpstation.    

So why is our pond so low right now:

The water has been constantly going down the last 2 weeks.  At first I figured it was the week of 103,104, and 101 degree temperatures and we were pumping extra water and using more during the day coupled with a higher evaporation, but it has continued to decrease in the last week also.  I pulled out my records of water usage from last year for the last 3 weeks and I have actually irrigated less than I did a year ago, so it doesn't make sense.  We don't have any type of flow meter to actually know how much water is coming up the pipe from the river but judging by the look of it I didn't think we were getting our normal water amount.  Studying the pumpstation at the river was showing a drastically higher pressure than normal - low pressure and low discharge would mean a leak, high pressure and low discharge would be a blockage in the pipe.  We have been trying to figure out what could be blocking it and the big issue of where do we start and how we do find it.  Is the pipe partially collapsed some place?  Pipe cameras or roto-rooter for over a half a mile is quit expensive.  Yesterday we decided to take the pipe apart at the pumpstation and try to flush the line.  It was loaded with all kinds of dirt, mud, silt, and sand that had been pumped in from the river.   We flushed it both up and down the hill 5 times, every time loaded with muck.   I would estimate it was about 60% plugged with silt and sediment.
Flush #2 - look at all sediment coming out
The amount of material that came out after the first flush
          This shows the importance of what we discussed 2 years ago with the membership, and that was to put in a filtration system for this pumpstation.  Not only plugging the pipe but bringing all the silt and sediment up to our pond, which is filling it in and taking up water holding capacity.  Plus pumping it out through our irrigation heads and causing damage to the plastic heads, it would be much better to just leave all that debris at the river. 
           The issue right now is that our water use each night is about the same volume that comes up the hill in that 24 hours.  So the re-fill will be slow unless we get some cooler days or rain.  I would like to think in 3 weeks we would have the dirt covered and be at a normal summer level. 
             It proves the importance of maintaining our water supply lines, and how easy it is to not think about it when everything is working fine, and then realize it when there is an issue.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Glowball 2014

Friday night was a very exciting night at the club, as we did our annual glowball tournament.  In the photo below you can see the flag lit up, the red glow stakes around the circumference of the green, and the cup is lighted with glow necklaces.

The course was predominately a par 3 yardage as the glow balls do not fly as far, with 1 hole set-up as a par 4.

Safety is always a big concern as you have carts driving the golf course in the dark, but we did not have any accidents and only a couple small spots of injured turf this year.  Everybody had a great time, there were actually 3 hole in ones, and it will be scheduled on the calendar again next year for anybody that was unable to participate this year.  In the photo below you see one glow necklace broke and spilled the material on a green leaving a couple spots of dead turf.
Dead turf from a broken glow stick

Venting Greens

This morning is one of our opportunities when the maintenance staff is punching the small holes in greens, "venting".

We try to do this 3 times throughout the hot summer and it allows for oxygen to get down into the profile to the roots, and water to infiltrate through the surface better.  After a mow and roll, the holes are still visible but they do not effect the ball roll at all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Mornings are always a great time of the day as we get to watch the sunrise onto the golf course, except when the sunrise sheds light on a scene like this as it did this morning.

Not sure why people have to go out and vandalize golf courses but it is common thing throughout the country.  Staff works hard to produce the best course possible, the club as a business is allowing staff to make a living for their families, and then people destroy the product which directly effects the business.

Staff was able to clean-up and repair the damage today and fortunately it was an isolated incidence to only the fairway on #5.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Warm temps = warm nights

With a forecast like we have for this week it makes are job extremely difficult.  This morning when we came into work at 5 AM it was 81 degrees.

Cool season turf does best when high temperatures are 55-88 degrees, when the temperature gets above 88 then cool season turf starts to shut down and go dormant, save its carbohydrates and go in a state of rest until the temperatures cool down.  That is why areas in the south have warm season turf, which prefer temperatures above 88.  Well in our climate, we are suitable for cool season turf 10 month out of the year, but for the two months of July and August we should truly grow warm season grasses.  That would not work for the other 10 months, so we are left with trying to babysit cool-season turf through the super hot days of July and August.

When we have high temperatures in the mid 90's but it still cools off at night to 65-70 then we can still maintain cool-season turf and the grass gets 5-7 hours of cool temps where it can rest from all the stress during the day.  When our temperatures reach highs like they have forecasted this week, then the night time lows stay around 75 - 83, and in that situation the heat is putting stress on the turf 24 hours a day and it never gets to take a break.

This week you will see staff out syringing turf all day long with hoses, just to give it a cool down from the hot surface temperature of the sun.

Friday, July 11, 2014

PNGA Amateur

This week has been extremely busy and exciting as we just wrapped up hosting the PNGA Ladies Amateur and Mid-Amateur.  The busy stretch started several weeks ago getting the course in the best tournament condition we could.  It started with planning fertilizer, irrigation, mowing schedules, and staffing demands.  Putting an emphasis on the exact same conditions for 5 days straight.  Then we set-up the course with the PNGA committee over the weekend, and our plan, course set-up, and playing conditions really turned out well.  Your staff really worked hard this week and you should be proud of them as everyday was pushing a 100 degrees.  There was a tremendous amount of comments about the course and specifically the putting surfaces, good job guys.  Here are a few shots of the tourney.

Flag display at the practice facility
Pin placement day 4 - probably not one to go for
Match play on the last day
It was amazing to watch the ladies play and truly watch them hit the ball.  Approach shots with irons, and chipping and putting was just spectacular.  Congratulations to Aaren Zigler for winning the Amateur division and Amanda Jacobs for winning the the Mid-Am division.

Amateur winner, Aaren Zigler, with the rules officials
After finishing these two weeks we will now move our focus back to member golf.  As you can tell by the forecast below, we will have our work cut out for us.