Thursday, September 30, 2010

Changing It Up

Next week the golf course will be closed for three days to aerify greens, tees and fairways.  This year we are going to be changing up some of our techniques to help deal with the later than normal timing of aerification in addition to some key agronomic changes for the future.

We will be using 1/4" hollow tines on tees and fairways and 1/4" solid tines on greens.  These smaller tine sizes will help speed the recovery to the turf by reducing the size of area that needs to re-grow. This is critical due to the time of the year we are in as the turf begins to slow down and prepare itself for the upcoming winter.

The biggest change to our aerification approach will come in the way of topdressing fairways with sand instead of compost.  For the last eight years we have been applying compost to the fairways to help with our Bentgrass conversion in addition to restoring biological activity in the soil. The compost has done its job really well by restoring life to the soil and has created an environment in which the thatch is in an active state of degradation.  This process has left the surface a little softer than I would like so we will be embarking on a long term sand fairway topdressing program to help restore some surface firmness. Another key benefit will come in the form of improved surface drainage that will allow for more ball roll off the tee shots.

Combining the compost rich aeration cores that come up in the fairways with the sand will create a nicely blended material that will be mutually beneficial  and provide the best of both worlds for the fairways.

We will be applying more than 1000 tons of sand to the fairways which is a huge task in itself. Our biggest challenge will be getting the material around the golf course in an efficient manor and the only way this can be done will be utilizing the development roads. The sand topdressing process will unfortunately spill over the three days that we will be closed and carry into the following week to ultimately complete the process.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Elk Damage

It looks as if the Elk have made there way down from the foothills and are taking up residence locally for the winter.

Over the last two nights we have had a fair amount of activity on the course, the most significant occurred  on the sixth fairway.  As bad as it was it could have been worse and we have already repaired the damaged areas with sand and seed. A couple of areas might need to be re-sodded, but i am waiting until after aerification to do so. The more severe areas of damage will be marked as ground under repair for the upcoming events.

Damage in The Rough

 Damage in The Fairway

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Sand

As most of you are aware the sand in the bunkers has been contaminated due to repeated washouts from last seasons heavy rains. This has caused several bunker to remain wet even when small amounts of water are applied to the surrounding area. These bunkers have become less than ideal from a playability standpoint.

In order to properly address this problem we have started targeting the most problematic one first. The work that is necessary to resolve the bunker problems are; complete removal of sand, inspect and improve drain tile and reinstall new bunker sand. This process was recently done to one of the fairway bunkers on the seventh hole.

After completion it was nice to visit the bunker in the morning after irrigation was run the prior evening and see no standing water in the bunker.

Bunker Work in Progress

Completed Bunker

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Close Call

Yesterday we had a close call with a wildfire that started just over a mile away from the golf course.  Fortunately the fire was put out as quickly as it started by the local fire department. The fire quickly consumed 13 acres before control was gained, it's speculated by authorities that a spark from a passing train ignited the blaze.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Change Is In The Air

As the Scrub Oak begins to show its fall color the weather conditions are changing as well. Although we have yet to have our fist frost of the season the mornings are beginning to feel crisp and even cold. Last week we have started to have several days in which the temperatures are in the 30's but not quite cold enough for frost to form.
Once we get into consistent frost weather the turf will begin to slow down its growth and prepare for the upcoming winter. This is something I am looking forward to since our staffing levels are dropping off at this point in the season. Currently every day is a struggle just to get things mowed, let alone do any kind of improvements that need to be done.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Over Due

Currently the greens are sorely in need of being topdressed. Throughout the season we have faithfully topdressed them every two weeks, but due to recent tournaments and holidays we will have missed the last two scheduled topdressings.

These missed applications have resulted in a visual and slight playability reduction in the greens surface. When looking at the surface of the greens it is not hard to find old ball marks that have not been repaired properly. These frequent topdressing help fill in these imperfections with sand and help maintain a smooth ball roll.

The next opportunity we will have to topdress will be on September 13th and at that time we will be applying the sand a little heavier than normal to try and make up for the missed applications.