Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tournament Time

This weekend we are hosting one of our larger events of the year, the LT Classic.  Here are a few shots prepping the course this morning.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Course Update

I apologize for the long gap in postings, like any golf course in the spring, it has been extremely busy here. There are several things going on around the golf course that I wanted to update you guys on.

Projects and seeding:
The irrigation projects that we worked on this winter and spring are all completed.  The previous thin areas of turf have been seeded and things are really growing in well.
New irrigation on the perimeter of hole #14

Seeded area

Early germination from seeding
These areas are being maintained like a grow-in situation with extra watering cycles and fertility.  Please avoid them with cart traffic as we try to establish turf as fast possible.  With favorable weather right now I would anticipate having them fairly well filled in by mid-June.
#5 tee walkway pavestone project
Irrigation system:
It has been the spring of irrigation breaks once we started using the system.  Our irrigation pipe in the ground is 43 yeas old, and the water hammer as water moves through the pipe puts stress on the system.  Many of our breaks are bell fittings and the inside joint of tees.  Always something to repair and improve on an older high maintenance irrigation system.

#16 green

2 irrigation breaks on #1 - 25 yards apart
Without an assistant:
This spring has been busier than normal because my assistant had the opportunity to go to a great golf course this spring, and I have had a tough time finding a candidate that would fit in our system.  That has led me to do the assistants work with chemical applications and irrigation work, and then do my duties as a superintendent.

Poa Annua - hurting from plant growth regulators(PGR's):
You will see on all areas of the golf course that the poa annua is off color and a little tan looking.  All areas have a plant growth regulator applied to them to hurt the poa, slow down the production of seedheads and growth, and allow the desired specie to crowd it out.  During the spring the weather here is very favorable for poa, not as hot, our rainy season, and the production of seedheads allow the poa to establish itself.  In the summer the dry hot weather favors our creeping bentgrass and kentucky bluegrass and we can keep the poa under control with water management and the help of mother nature, but in the spring I really hit the growth regulators hard to keep the poa under control.  The off colored areas are nothing to worry about, they play the same as the greener turf, and just shows us the regulators are doing what we want them to do.
Poa on 9 fairway under a little stress
Lack of rain:
Like I said, normally April and May is our rainy period, but this year we went from March 24 to May 13 without any rain.  It has forced us to rely more on the irrigation system and even do some handwatering early in the season.  Our rain total is about 1/3 of normal for our spring period, and I even heard they have already put watering restrictions in place for homeowners.

Fertilize collars:
You will notice that the collars around the greens look very green in color compared to the green itself and surrounding turf.  That is because I use a drop seed spreader to go out and specifically drop a fertilizer just on the collar.  That collar area is very difficult to manage because it does not get specific nutrients applied to it, it might get over spray from the green or the surrounds but typically not a specific application.  It is also an area in the middle where it gets an excessive amount of traffic.  Greens mowers turn on the collar, approach mowers turn there, many golfers walk around the green or push pull carts around the green.  Many superintendents try different strategies to move this traffic around, but one thing I have found that works for us is to create a healthier stand of turf that will develop a deeper root system and stand up to the traffic.  A couple times a year, mainly in the spring when it is cooler and the plant is developing a root system, I will fertilize just the collar and when I do that you can see a green ring around the green.

Rattlesnakes coming out:
It is that time of the year where we start to see rattlesnakes out on the course.  This year the agronomy staff has seen more than usual.  I believe the mild winter decreased the mortality rate, and the dryer spring has them coming to the irrigated golf course turf to get the moisture on their skin that they need because the native grass is already very dry.

Turf conditioning and tournaments (pig roast):
Through all of these typical spring challenges, the golf course is really in great shape.  We have hosted many tournaments already this year and we have one of our biggest coming up this weekend. We also typically do a pig roast in the ground for this event so that project has been underway this week.
The start of the in-ground pig roast
We also have been prepping everything to have the pool open this weekend.  It has been drained, cleaned, all mechanicals gone through, and all furniture set-up.  Come out and enjoy.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Greens aerification and more

This was a busy week with greens aerification on Monday and Tuesday.  We decided to solid tine the greens instead of pulling a core because we still have very good control of our organic matter content.  We used two machines to double aerify the greens and get more sand into the thatch layer to dilute the organic matter.  This trend seems to be almost as beneficial as pulling a core and removing the thatch.

Since we were not pulling a core and cleaning it up, we topdressed the greens very heavy first.  Then solid tined with very large 1" tines 8" deep with a 5" spacing, followed by shallow 1/2" tines on 1" centers.  This way we got sand and holes both in the surface layer and deeper for root development.  By topdressing first, the mechanical nature of the machine and the vibration helps work the sand into the holes.

Deep solid tining

Small tines very close together

After aerifying we brushed in the sand, double rolled, irrigated, and brushed again.

Here is 3 days after aerification

We also incorporated many projects on the course and renovation work to the inside of the clubhouse during the course closure.  By extending the course closure another 2 days, and utilizing the membership in work days we really got a lot of work done - thank you to all. 

Changing the pea gravel walkway at 5 island tee to pavestones.


We also changed the entryway to #13 tee to be a combination of turf and pavestones with the landscape.

.We also performed many other maintenance tasks on the course, and the members painted all the cart storage buildings - a big task that took many labor hours.  Great job membership.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Course Update

Things are moving into spring very quickly here.  The recent rain has really greened things up and we are starting to maintain the course.  All turf looks healthy coming through winter.  There are some traffic scares from playing and driving on dormant turf, but that will grow out of it soon.  We have been mowing and rolling greens the last month, and last week we mowed tees.  This week we are mowing fairways and approaches for the first time, and will start mowing rough later in the week.
First fairway mowing of the season
Last week we started to pressurize the irrigation system with plans of maybe irrigating this week due to the 75 degree weather, but mother nature helped us out over the weekend with the rain.

Irrigation project #14

We installed and performed most of the work on irrigation addition on hole #14 last week, and we will have that project wrapped up this week.  Originally that hole only had single row irrigation down the middle leaving both edges bare dirt in the heat of the summer.
Before picture
We installed a row down each edge of the native grass and connected to the center line, and now the entire whole will be irrigated.
Trenches left and right with connections going across
Overall we added 2500 ft of pipe, 32 heads, and an additional irrigation controller.

A second irrigation controller being installed and wired up

Pipe following the current grass line, you can see the thin rough from last summer

Friday, March 6, 2015

Bunker #4 re-grassing

After many years of bunker shots splashing sand up on the turf face of a bunker they just need to be renovated.  The sand gets into the turf canopy and it cannot be removed by blowing or raking.  Many of our bunkers on the course have a "hump" on the green side right where all the shots are aimed.  Over the years this sand raises the face of the bunker, makes the bunker deeper, and a maintenance headache to maintain turf on the grass face now that it is all sand and not soil.  The slope gets steeper allowing the sand to fall down, the lip gets bigger, and during the hot summer months the soil crumbles and allows contamination to fall into the sand.
Before picture
Sod is stripped off, all the sand removed (here it was 13"), the edge of the bunker is re-established, and new sod placed back down on soil.
Sand built up on top of he old soil

Sand layer above soil

The new lip is established with a sod layer, then masonite is installed as a barrier during construction to keep the sand and soil separate.  Once the turf is rooted down the boards will be removed.

New bunker edge is created
Masonite creating barrier, backfilled with sand/soil, then trimmed to turf height for playability for the next month

Finished product 2 days later
Here was before - hump is gone

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Irrigation done, on to #4 bunker

Staff did a great job the last week and half adding irrigation to 3 different areas on the golf course where our coverage was lacking due to spacing of irrigation heads.  These additions will really help during the heat of the summer.
Irrigation addition on #2
 With that project finished we are going to re-construct the front bunker on #4.

Over many years of bunker shots splashing sand up on the face of bunkers, they all need to be re-built.  That sand that is thrown out of the bunker on each shot gets into the turf and raises the elevation of the bunker face.  It happens to every golf course and no matter how hard you try to blow the sand out of the turf you just cant get all of it.  If you look around the course, all of our bunkers have a raised face on the side closest to the green. Right where all the shots area aimed.

 This hump is all the sand built up over the years and increases the depth of the bunker, along with making it harder to maintain turf.
 These faces can build up a tremendous amount of sand, which does not hold enough water or nutrients to maintain quality grass.  With this bunker on #4 there is about 10" of sand built up and you see what type of turf that leaves us.

 The sand will be removed back down to the original soil grade, the face of the bunker will be re-established, and new sod will be laid down.