Monday, March 28, 2011

Rough Aerification

Last week we began the long process of aerifiyng the rough.  Historically this has been a difficult task for us based on the older equipment utilized to previously do the work. The aerifier was an old pull behind unit that had poor spacing and produced plugs that were too large and were incredibly difficult to clean up. Crazy as it may sound we received more complaints from aerifing the rough than from aerifing greens.

One of our recent equipment purchases included a Toro 1298 Pro Core aerifier that is primarily used in  fairways , but we decided to take it out into the rough.  This machine produces a nice small core based on the tines that are selected. Additionally the spacing between tines is extremely tight, we are punching the rough with a 2" by 2" spacing which is normally something done in the fairways.  This spacing will do wonders to our heavily trafficed rough allowing for some oxygen exchange into the rootzone as well as compaction relief.

The tight spacing will result in 36 holes per square foot or when you do the math for the rough on the entire golf course that will be more than  101,930,400 cores  physically removed. The cleanup of these cores will be relatively easy by taking a steel drag mat over them which will break them up, or even just mowing the rough for the first time will  take care of most of them.

Close Up Of Rough On The Eight Hole

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Side Benefit

Last week we went out and heavily topdressed some of the lower lying bowled fairway areas on the fourth fairway. The sand was applied to help us with improving the fairway firmness in these low areas that tend to get wet and stay wet.

Sand Topdressed In The low Fairway Areas

Close Up Of Sand Thickness

We applied the sand after aerifing in an attempt to get some of the material in the aerification holes to help allow moisture to move more quickly through the surface and down into the soil profile.  This process will be repeated two to three time a year in localized "problem" areas throughout the golf course. Over time the sand will also help with surface firmness which will in turn help with more ball roll off the tee shots.  

Perhaps the nicest immediate side effect of applying the topdressing sand this time of year was the acceleration of spring green up.  In five days  time after applying the sand to the fairway the Bentgrass color went from brown to green. This rapid green up can be attributed to the sand increasing the surface temperature and therefore aiding in the green up process.

Green Up Of Turf From Sand Cover

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cart Paths Only??

So far this March the weather has been unusually warm and free of snow or any moisture for that matter which has been great to get players out on the course. We have already had more than 650 rounds played in the month of march which is not something that happens very often.

All of the play is great form a revenue standpoint, but the amount of traffic coming from golf carts is taking it's toll in areas. We are technically still restricting carts to the paths only, but with the high number of handicap flags being issued a lot of wear is beginning to show up in the rough areas on the golf course. The grass is not yet growing and therefore not able to handle the traffic it is being subjected too. Many of the cart path exit and entry points are showing a great deal of stress already, this is not a good thing because these areas receive the brunt of the traffic all season long.  If these areas are worn now, it will be a long and difficult road ahead.

Until the turf is actually growing and can recuperate from the traffic it is extremely important that all carts follow the signs and traffic ropes so that these sensitive areas can be protected.  Your cooperation with this will enhance the golfing experience had by all of the membership.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hand Rails

We have begun the process of installing handrails on some of our steeper stone stairs that are found throughout the golf course.  The stairs that have been selected are ones that we receive the most comments of concern on, these would be found on holes #3,#8,#10 and #18.

The hand rails will be constructed out of steel and  will have a hammered appearance which will add to the aesthetic appeal. Currently the post have been set and the rails will be installed shortly by another crew.  These new handrails will greatly improve the safety at these locations which has been long overdue.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Why Is The Golf Course Brown?

The real answer to that question is because it's early March, but there is much more to it than just that.  Don't be alarmed the Turf  is not dead it is just dormant.

It all began last fall when we did not get a lasting snow cover until the end of December, by then the Turfgrass had gone dormant and lost most of its green color.  Normally the grass is still holding some of its green color when we get our lasting snow cover and this color holds until the melt in the spring.

This year in addition to the late snow cover there were also times that the snow cleared and exposed the turf to the weather which further added to the brown color of dormancy.  All in all our spring green up will occur around the same time regardless of what color the turf is now. It takes longer days and soil temperatures to get out of the 30's to get things rolling.