Friday, April 30, 2010

Rolling Pull Lines

Throughout the golf course there are still irrigation pull lines that have not completely settled from last years irrigation installation.  These areas have gotten better after a freeze and thaw cycle, but they still are acting like mini speed bumps every 55 feet across the fairways.

We have recently rolled the pull lines with a small asphalt roller to smash down the heaving that took place.  After rolling the lines have flattened out, but a slight bump is still present.  One of the visible signs of rolling is a slight discoloration or blackening of the turf from the roller's drum going over the pull line several times. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is Spring Ever Coming?

I am beginning to wonder if we will ever warm up and start to get active growth of the turf.  The moisture we have been receiving in the last couple of weeks is great, but if soil temperatures do not increase growth will not take place.

We have started to green up but that is it.  We are still mowing in a modified (reduced) schedule of what we would normally be doing this time of year because of a lack of growth.  Soil temperatures are still in the upper 40's and peaking out in the low 50's durring the day when ambient temperatures are at their highest.  It seems like when we start to make positive steps in warming up the soil, we are thrown off track once again with unpredictable weather. A perfect example of this would be that yesterday we had a high temperature of 74 and today we have not gotten any higher than 39 degrees with snow coming down.

Enjoy the video below that shows today's wonderful working conditions.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Driving Range Is Open

 After many months of hard work and fighting Mother Nature the new and improved driving range is open.  Weather conditions today were not great today for practicing, but those who braved the wind were able to enjoy the new configuration.

Even though we enlarged the tee surface by more than 25% it up to you to help us by practicing in a systematic manor.  The most efficient way to hit balls is to keep your divot patterns tight and not randomly within your teeing station.  A tight pattern leads to more efficient use of turf and allows for easier divot filling and faster re-establishment of turf.    

Proper Divot Pattern
 Horrible Divot Pattern

Monday, April 26, 2010

Plenty Of Precip

The crazy weather patterns have continued and the snow and rain keep on coming.  In the last four days we have received  nearly 3.0" of precipitation.  Historically for the month of April we only receive 1.83", so that puts us way ahead of normal. 

The excess moisture is great to a degree but we are now being effected in a negative manor due to the lack of being able to mow  the golf course.  Many areas have not been mowed since last Thursday and with active growth taking place most of the areas will require additional cleanup after mowing takes place. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Spring Flushing

On this beautiful spring morning we woke up to quite a surprise it looked more like winter than anything else.  The timing of the snowfall is not great but the moisture that comes along with it is hard to beat.  From an agronomic standpoint the moisture will put to work the soil amending products that were applied durring aerification last week.

Applications of Gypsum were made to the main play areas to help offset the high levels of Sodium found in our soils. The natural precipitation from the snow will further help putting the Gypsum to work by saturating the soils and moving the Sodium down and out of the soil profile. This process is made more effective with the use of natural precipitation versus effluent water which contains the elements we are trying to remove.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Is Better

Now that the greens have begun to actively grow, the areas in which Poa Annua was lost to Crown Hydration are easily identifiable. We are fortunate to have relatively small populations of Poa on our twenty five year old greens.  This has resulted in small circular areas of damaged turf that can be more quickly re-established than larger sprawling areas of  turf loss.

Aside from increased fertility levels and the use of PGR's to promote  increased tillering many of these spots have been overseeded with Bentgrass. Full scale broadcasting of seed has taken place throughout the greens with even more specific work being done to the small spots.  The seed that was broadcasted was spiked into the soil surface to increase soil to seed contact which is vital for germination.  On top of that a divot mix that included Bentgrass seed was also applied to these thin areas to further improve the germination likelihood.  This sand mixture also serves another purpose in keeping the green surface smooth because some of these dead Poa areas are slightly sunken below the turf line.

As existing Bentgrass moves laterally and germination of new seed occurs the putting surfaces will still roll true even though adequate turf might not exist.

Close Up Of Dead Poa With Bent In The Middle

Sand And Seed Mixture Applied To The Voids

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Almost There

A little more than a week has passed since completing our spring aerification on the course and things are beginning to get back to normal.

I am extremely happy with the recovery on the greens as you would be hard pressed to find any indication that holes were punched only eight days ago. Ample fertilizer and soil amendments have been applied to the greens to encourage a quick but health recovery.  One of the negative side effects from this would be slower than normal green speeds due to the amount of positive growth taking place.  Now that full recovery has already taken place PGR's (Plant Growth Regulators) will be utilized to help slow down growth and encourage a more dense stand of turf which will result in an increase in smoothness and green speeds.

One area that is still not quite where I would like to see is the fairways.  They are still a bit messy from the compost that was applied during aerification.  Each time we mow the compost is still being tracked up by the mowers and requires dragging to breakup and re-work in the compost.  This problem should get better in the next week as the material works it's way down the canopy and active growth begins to take place in the fairways.

Compost Being Tracked Up By The Fairway Mowers

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Range Tee Is Complete

I am happy to say that the driving range tee has been sodded and construction on the range is nearing completion. The sod on the tee surface has been down for one week and is already showing roots that are approaching one inch in depth. The immediate tee surrounds were sodded only two days ago and is also beginning to show signs of rooting.

Under normal situations the sod should have three or four weeks of time to become established before letting people play on it, but we are pressed for time and will be opening the teeing ground here in the next week or so.

The First Mowing

New Tee Complex

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A New Beginning

The damage that was incurred throughout the course from the March snow storms is being methodically repaired.  The fairway areas that were damaged are being overseeded during aerification which will help establish the proper turfgrass species in these problematic areas.

The greens are being overseeded as well to encourage new Bentgrass growth in some of the newly created voids from the dead Poa Annua.  Not all of the Poa is totally dead and some regrowth is occurring which will help with the overall recovery of the turf.  Ideally the Poa will stay inactive and the Bentgrass seed will germinated and allow new seedling to become established.

Most of the greens have minor damage on them with the exception of the greens on #4 and #10.  Rather than fight a long re-establishment period on the tenth green, I decided to bite the bullet and re-sod the entire green. Although not ideal this is the best thing that can be done to get the green back in play as quickly as possible. The green will be mowed at a higher height of cut for several weeks before being slowly brought down to match the other greens.  Throughout the years the green will receive additional care such as increased fertility topdressing and aerification all to help with the elimination of seams and help with establishment.

The Tenth Green Ready For New Sod

Sod Going Down
Back In Play The Next Day

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Aerification Woes

Today was the last of the three days we normally use to aerifiy the golf course in the spring and the weather has not cooperated.   This would be the first time i can remember that wind has caused delays in our aerification process.  Over the years we have had rain and snow delays but never wind.

Over the last three days the wind has been consistently blowing 10- 20 mph with gusts reaching 45mph.  This has made it impossible to overseed the fairways with Bentgrass and apply compost on top.  Both of these materials are very light in weight and would blow away from the intended area of application.  This has forced us to delay seeding and composting until Thursday and Friday.  Unfortunately this will have to take place through play. This is the best thing to do because but if we did not wait the money spent on the seed and compost would be wasted.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

We Have Sod

After numerous delays that were caused by the weather we were finally able to get the tee surface and some of the surrounds sodded yesterday.  We will continue to work on the tie in area around the tee so that the rest of the sod can be installed shortly.

The fact that the sod was able to be installed is largely due to our staff,  Green Valley Turf and Modern Golf's commitment to doing whatever it takes to successfully complete this project.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The End Is Near

After nearly a month of weather induced delays the new driving range tee has been laser graded and is ready for sod. The teeing area will be sodded in two phases due to overall size of the area and the fact that our sod contractor is booked out for several days.

The tee surface will be the first area to receive sod and then the surrounds will be done a couple of days later. The overall footprint of the new teeing ground takes up more than 150,000 square feet.

Once the new sod is installed on the tee surface I would like to give it two weeks to become established before opening it up for play.  This would give us a tentative opening in the third week of April.  Lets hope the weather cooperates from this point forward allowing us to successfully complete this project.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Tough March

The golf course was showing signs of coming out of the winter without any problems in early March, but then the snow came.  In March alone we had over three feet of snow that caused some late winter damge to the golf course.

The areas that were primarily effected were ones in which poor drainage and surface water flow occurs on the turfgrass.  These areas can be seen on greens, fairways and rough.

The primary loss of turf occurred to the Poa Annua and some Ryegrass. Losing both of these species of turf is good for our long term agronomic programs, but it has made some areas on the course look worse than they are.

The technical term for what occurred is called Crown Hydration. The process is complex, but it involves water freezing in open spaces around individual plant cells in the crown portion (growing point) of the plant. The ice crystals forming around the plant cell pull water out of the cell causing dehydration inside the cell. The process causes irreversible damage to cell membranes and death to the individual cells. A hardened plant can tolerate this condition, but once a plant loses hardiness (a natural occurrence in late winter) individual cells lose the ability to combat the dehydration process and severe injury can occur. The process is still not fully understood but damage seems to be worse when certain environmental conditions are met.


Crown hydration damage usually occurs when warm temperatures are followed by quick drops in soil temperatures below . Hardiness of plants are generally reduced at this time when exposed to thawing. Free moisture (usually from melting snow or precipitation) around the crown of the plant freezes and draws water from the cell. This form of winterkill is more likely to occur in early spring once the snow begins to melt and there is excessive moisture present. Exacerbating this problem can be low-lying areas where water sits, poor drainage, and heavy soils.

I believe this damage occurred in the first two weeks of March when the heavy snows melted quickly during the warm daytime temperatures which were followed by cold freezing nights.  In this time period there were days in which temperature swings of more than 45 degrees ocured in a 24 hour period of time.

We will be addressing the damaged areas individually and use the appropriate method for repairing these areas whether it is sodded or seeded to best put the area back in play.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Elevation and Orientation

The golf course is beginning to green up for the season and it is amazing how varied the green up process is throughout the course. We have areas on the course right now that are green, while other aren't even close to greening up.

This is largely due to two factors; elevation and orientation. The golf course has more than 600 feet of elevation change throughout which creates numerous micro climates. The other factors would be orientation and shading from trees.

Some of the best examples of this can be found on our first and eight hole. These two holes have the complete opposite orientation, the first hole faces north while the eight faces south. Elevation the first hole is at 6600 feet and the eight is at 6200 feet.

The following pictures best describe these effects on the spring green up process.

The First Hole

The Eight Hole