Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Diversion

Ever since the bunker renovation took place on the golf course back in 2007 we have fought washout issues with some of the flashed sand faces.  This was to be expected and construction materials such as Geo textile  liners were utilized to help reduce the washouts, which they did for the most part.

Our most problematic bunker on the course from a washout standpoint was the left hand fairway bunker on the 18th hole.  We knew durring construction this we be an issue and did all we could given our financial limitations at the time to divert water flow.  What was done was not nearly enough and with recent talk about eliminating this bunker because of the labor drain to maintain it, we jumped into action.

 In my opinion this is a critical bunker that defines the tee shot on the closing hole and without it a key architectural and strategic element would be lost. 

During the renovation work we took great care to tie our re-grading into the existing contours and make the work appear to have never happened.  This was a challenge due to the fact we brought in nearly 200 yards of soil for this bunker alone. The end result is one that beefed up the bunker faces and a creation of a mound and swale to divert surface sheet flow of water around the bunker and not through it.

This bunker now has both form and function from an agronomic and architectural point and maybe instilling a little fear in the golfer as this being something avoided at all cost.

The Problem

The Result of Sheet Flow
The Solution Before/After

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fall Projects

It is amazing how quickly time has gone by since my last post.  We have been extremely busy the last two months taking full advantage of the extended fall weather completing numerous construction/renovation projects.

Immediately after aerification was completed in early October we have been in full renovation mode working on drainage improvements, bunker and tee renovations and a major landscape enhancement at the restroom on hole #4.

The work this fall alone we have completely renovated in house a total of 9 tees and 6 bunkers.  Although we have done a lot we still have a long way to go to complete the long term renovations in these areas.  We have a total of 82 tees of which all need varying degrees of work ranging from leveling, drainage,irrigation, new rootzone mix, tee expansion and re-grassing. This fall we have started with the most problematic and heavily used tees so that an immediate impact is made for next spring. As time goes on we will work through all of them in order of usage by both the men and women until all of them have been re worked.
New Rootzone Mix Being Installed

Final Prep Before Sod
After Sod Installation
Old Rootzone Mix Removal
Final Grade Before Sod
Sod Going Down
After Sod Installation
A similar process is being followed in regards to the bunker renovations taking place on the course.  We are identifying the most problematic bunkers from the greens out completing these before moving on to fairway bunkers. In 2007 we had a major bunker renovation of all 50 bunkers that allowed us three plus years of great sand quality and conditions. Unfortunately in the last two years in particular we have experienced numerous significant rain events that has repeatedly washed out and contaminated the bunker sand and drainage systems. With the work that was started in the spring of the year we now have renovated a total of 16 bunker and are on are way.  The renovation of each bunker includes; removal of the old contaminated sand and drainage followed by Klingstone liner being applied and new drainage and sand installed.    
Washed Out Sand Contaminated With Silt
New Drainage Trenches
Klingstone Being Applied
Final Product
One of the other projects that was recently completed was the landscape renovations at the restroom on the fourth hole.  This was previously a native grass area that always looked worn and had a negative aesthetic appeal. This newly landscaped area will serve two purposes now the first is a major aesthetic improvement with the incorporation of trees, shrubs and perennial flowers. The second function this landscaping will provide is some much needed screening from the development road that is directly adjacent to it.

Newly Installed Plant Material
This renovation work should greatly enhance your overall golf experience come spring time and if the weather cooperates there will be several other surprises waiting for you when you return next year.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tee Work

Now that aerification has been completed and the mowing of the golf course is slowing down we have begun some of our fall projects.

We will be working on several things such as drainage, irrigation expansion, Sodding, bunker renovations and tee leveling. Most of our seasonal staff will only be here for a few more weeks so we will be working as quickly as possible on the large list of things to get done before the weather changes.

The tee leveling will be one of the first things we get started with since they are the most time sensitive items. We need to have the new sod installed within the next two weeks to give the sod a chance to become established before the long winter sets in. The tees we will be focusing on are the 5 pine on #2, The upper 2 pine on #4 and the 2 pine on #9. These three are the worst of the worst and this creates a great starting point for us moving forward.
Sod Being Removed from #2 5 Pine

Ready For Regrading On #9 2 Pine
During construction these tees will be out of play and the tee markers will be placed on nearby tees of similar yardage.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Journey of a Grow In

For anyone who has grown in anything on a golf course or anywhere for that matter goes through a wide range of emotions through the process.  Like many things in life there are ups and downs along the way that help shape the journey.

In the beginning there is a tremendous amount of excitement and anxiety all rolled into one knowing that the success or failure  lies squarely on no one else's shoulders.  The excitement of what could and will be is the motivating factor from day one up until the completion of the grow in.  The excitement of seeing your first germination as predicted based on environmental conditions and years of agronomic experience. The pride that you feel when your protocols are producing exceptional results.   The impatience you feel when the seedlings are not growing fast enough.  The doubt  you feel when things don't  respond in the manor  you wish. The worry you feel when you push too hard and it causes a step backwards. The relief you feel when things get back on track and once again. The amazement  you feel  when literally watching the grass grow before your eyes as if it were a time lapse. In the end  the satisfaction of knowing that you created something that will be enjoyed by many people.

These are just some of the emotions you will go through during the growing process, some days you just might even experience them all in one day I know I have.

A Look At The 4 Week Old Turf

Receiving a Little Personal Attention

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Look At Our Operation

A couple of weeks ago we shot a video that is being done for the club's website that shows my staff in action as well as explaining our current green renovation project.

This video gives great information about our operation in addition to explaining the detailed steps involved in the renovation process of the putting green. These steps are explained and also insight is given as to why we are trying to eliminate Poa Annua from our greens. 

 The company that is doing our video production is called Oswego Creative and they do great work check them out Here

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Seed Is Down

Tuesday Afternoon we were able to get the putting green seeded after a long process of rootzone preparation. Numerous soil amendments and pre-plant fertilizers were incorporated into the rootzone mix prior to any seed going down.

The green was seeded with T-1 Bentgrass  and if all goes according to plan and the weather cooperates we should see germination in five days.

T-1 Being Seeded

First Watering Of New Seed

Monday, August 20, 2012

Breaking The Cycle

Over the years we have had many construction and or renovation projects on the golf course and the one thing we have always been short on was time.  In the past things have always been forced into a small time frame that best meets the needs for the course to be playable at all times. We are an extremely busy private Country Club that does more rounds in a year than some of our surrounding public golf courses. This high demand for golf has pushed us into a corner in some of our past projects that did not turn out as well as they should have.

This cycle is now being broken and the culture of the club needs to follow as well.  With our latest project of re-grassing the putting green we are approaching this with a much different view than before.  We will be doing things on a time schedule that best fits the agronomic health of the turf, not a golf schedule of events to be ready for.

This can be best described by what is taking place with the fumigation process at the putting green. The normal fumigation timeline takes between 7-10 days to complete based on soil temperatures. After closely monitoring the soil temperatures we could have ended the fumigation on the seventh day, but I decided with everything that is at stake with the success of this project the fumigation was allowed to go for another day and a half.  This decision was based on what will allow us to have the most success with this project moving forward. If it means extending the fumigation timeline and delaying the eventual re-seeding of the putting green than so be it. We all want this re-grassing to be a success, so why should we not set ourself up for success rather than failure.

Today wewill begin the re-grading of the green in preparation of the seeding process. We will be using the pea gravel layer below the mix as our guide for the final grade above.  If all goes according to plan we should be able to have the green with a final grade on it by tomorrow and seed will be sown immediately following.

The weather forecast looks good for at least the next week, so germination should be achieved beginning five days from planting. Exciting times are just ahead of us, I hope you enjoy watching the grass grow as much as I will.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Mulligan

We are now in the final stretch of the fumigation process on the practice putting green. Last week we began the renovation of the putting green as another piece of the puzzle to move down the road of re-grassing all of the greens on the golf course.

The renovation of the green occurs in a multi step process that each has to occur in a specific order in to achieve the desired goal. Right now it appears that with all of the water running on the green that we have already seeded the green and are on our way back. This is not the case, we are actually using the water as a part of the fumigation process. The water helps trap the fumigant in the sand by acting as a seal on the surface thereby allowing the weed seeds to be successfully killed off in the rootzone mix. This process last between 7 to 10 days depending on the soil temperatures. After that has occurred the gas needs to blow off for a couple days before it is safe to re-seed the green. It is in this time that we will be working on the final surface grading and prep before we can seed the new T-1 Bentgrass.

Currently I am anticipating new seed going down on Friday the 17th weather and final grading dependent. Below are a few photos that show the highlights of the renovation process.

Sod Cutting Of The Green

Removal Of Sod
Tilling The Rootzone
Applying The Fumigant

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Connect The Dots

Some of you might have noticed the white dots that are located around the putting green and are wondering what they are. These dots are identifying the original edge of the putting green that has shrunk in over time. Beginning next Monday August 6th we will be renovating the putting green and begin a re-grassing protocol. This will be identical to what was done to the north chipping green last summer with exceptional results. The point of this renovation is to eliminate the Poa Annua from the green and establish a pure Bentgrass putting surface that will provide an example of what we can have in the future. The green will be closed for the remainder of the season to allow for a re-establishment from seed using a new "super" Bentgrass called T-1. This new variety has a tremendous density which naturally keeps out Poa in addition to providing a consistently smooth fast putting surface. During the time that the putting green is being renovated the north chipping green will become the temporary practice putting green. This will give you a chance to begin to see and feel how this new grass performs. I will be documenting this renovation process here, so check back in frequently to watch the new green come back to life.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Laying The Ground Work

Last week we had a site visit from the USGA Northwest Region Agronomist Derf Soller. This visit was attended by several Green Committee and Board Members  and served as a great informational gathering golf course tour.

The objective of this visit was to evaluate the overall condition of the golf course and our greens specifically  and to help with  future re-grassing protocols.  We are currently looking at re-grassing greens on the entire golf course at some point in the future.

Based off the success we had last season with a test green found at the practice facility we will once again be doing another green at the practice facility.  Starting August 6th we will be closing the putting green and begin a renovation and re-grassing of this green. 

Check out this post from last year showing the growing in process of the North Chipping Green. Click Here

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Moisture Meters

As always PACE Turf has great informational videos about things that take place in golf course maintenance that most players don't even realize.

We have been using the Turf Guard meters here at CCCP for the for the last four years and this season we have added the TDR300 meters to our tool belt. All I can say is that anyone who does not embrace this technology is missing the boat. Check out the video below that explains the different types of meters and the data that is collected from them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Beware In Colorado

On the heals of my previous post about treating Poa Annua comes a turn of events.  If you are brave enough to apply Xonerate be sure to read the product label not once, not twice or even a third time of which might not be enough to truly understand the product being applied.  I have found it's what is not on the label that can give the best advice on how to use a product properly.  Unfortunately this knowledge comes with a price.  It seems as this information is only available after the fact of injury occurring to the desired plant species which in our case was  Bentgrass. This information was given to me more 30 days after the product was registered for use in Colorado and the application protocol had apparently changed.  Far too late for me or anyone who had applied the product per label instructions.

In my opinion Arysta LifeScience the producers of Xonerate herbicide was only concerned with getting the product to market without thoroughly testing it in all markets before release.  The latest and greatest Poa control product can yield a fortune in revenue coming back into the company that can expedite the return on investment.  This was clearly the case in Colorado.  In the last week I have received several phone calls from fellow Superintendents in Colorado who are experiencing the same if not worse injury to Bentgrass. To make matters worse the product Xonerate had little or no control on the Poa Annua which it is supposedly works so well on.  Most of my Poa that was treated couldn't look healthier, while the amount damage that occurred to the Bentgrass  makes this product unusable for me going forward.  This is the exact opposite of how this product has been marketed.

I believe a big factor in using this product in Colorado was overlooked and or underestimated.  Xonerate works by inhibiting Photosynthesis within the plant (specifically Poa Annua)  and is absorbed through both  the leaf and through the root system. The combination of  low humidity and significantly higher intensity of sun rays appear to effect how the product is absorbed by the non target species (Bentgrass).  More research and testing needs to be done on this matter.

We as Golf Course Superintendents are always looking for products to improve the overall health and playability of the golf course and it's times like this that some of these latest and greatest product make matters worse. If there are changes to application protocols manufacturers need to tell someone in a proactive manner , don't keep this information internally let the sales reps know so they can effectively communicate to the end user.

So if your a Golf Course Superintendent in Colorado considering using Xonerate, I would think long and hard before taking that first step because you will get burned. Just ask me.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Poa Annua Under Fire

 Over the years we have used many different products to try and control Poa Annua, each with varying degrees of success. 

Currently we are testing a newly labeled product called Xonerate for Poa Annua control.  We began our testing on several areas of the golf course including #11 first fairway, 1/2 of #11 green, North chipping and nursery greens and fairways.

After closely following the application protocols over the last six weeks visual disruption is taking place on some of the turf areas.  Most notably the first fairway on hole #11 is showing signs of both Poa Annua stress as well as some Bentgrass stress.  I am happy about the Poa being under stress, not so much with the Bent.  Most of the damage to the Bent is in the form of leaf tip burn and or stress.  The crown of the plant still looks healthly and active.  Over the next several weeks the plant should push out new leaf material and the visual disruption will recede.

It is exciting to see new products come to the market, but if they are not safe on the desired plant species then it really doesn't help my overall battle against Poa Annua.

To learn more about the product Xonerate Here

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On Course Education

This morning we had our annual golf course tour with the Green Committee and Golf Committee.  We had great weather and many great questions were asked by the committee members.

The course tour allows for open communication about things good and bad on the golf course and also helps to serve as a vital conduit of information to the general membership that are not involved at the committee level.  The members got to see first hand how the golf course is prepared for daily play they witnessed things such as setup,mowing, rolling and how Stimpmeter readings are taken.

After the meeting I had several members thank me for this inside view into what we do on a daily basis and the challenges we face.  I look forward to these on course tours as I feel they are far more productive than sitting in a Boardroom trying to explain things.  Nothings works better than to allow people to touch and feel out on on the golf course. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Annual Flower Prep

With another golf season upon us we are inching closer to planting our annual flowers. We will still have to wait another couple weeks before we can safely plant due to frost still being likely to occur. After that point in time we begin to install the flowers which are tentatively scheduled for the third week of May.

In efforts to make the installation go more smoothly the beds will be prepped well in advance of the actual planting. The prep involves, amending the soil, tilling, weeding and pre-plant fertilizer being added. The logo bed will also be done slightly different than last year from an installation standpoint. Last year was the first time we have done this bed and the installation was tedious due to numerous measurements being taken to ensure the logo coming out right.

This year a frame has been constructed and will be placed permanently in the bed to act as a template for the specific areas of planting to create the logo. This will be a huge time saver from an installation standpoint and also keep the logo visible to all during the off season when flowers are not present.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bunker Renovations

For the last several weeks we have been working on some of our more problematic bunkers that have had major sand and drainage system contamination.  As a result of this many of our bunkers no longer perform from a playability and drainage stand point.

 Here is a great video from the USGA that show some of our bunker issues.

The issue stems from the last three summers of torrential rains that have mixed soil and clay particles with the bunker sand effectively closing all pore space necessary for drainage. As a result the bunkers now hold water and the sand stays wet throughout the day.  This is problematic from a playability standpoint because the bunkers play like there is no sand in them, when in actuality there is plenty.  Unfortunately the sand is so contaminated  it no longer function in all regards.

The solution for this problem is to completely remove the sand and install new drainage before re-installing the new sand. Going one step further we will be lining the bunkers with a product called Klingstone. This product is a liquid polymer that is applied to the bunker subsurface that solidifies in 24 hours into a hard impermeable surface. This newly formed liner will help minimize any future sand contamination with the subsurface soil.

New Drainge Being Installed

The end result will be a better performing longer lasting bunker that should play the same today as it does in five years. We will be installing the newer liner technology to ten of our worst bunkers this year and use this as a full scale test as to future bunker renovation solutions. For more information about Klingstone and to watch an installation video go to there website Here

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Another One In The Books

The last three days were spent aerifing the course to prepare it form the upcoming season.  We completed aerification of greens, tees and fairways.  In addition to that we handled more than 700 tons of sand that was applied to the freshly punched turf.  Needless to say it is a monumental task moving that much material around the golf course.

This year we used a Verti-Drain deep tine aerifer on greens  that was set at a depth of 9" with 1/4" solid times. At first glance the greens appear as if they were not aerified but that is not the case.  The surface impact appears minimal but a deep fracturing of the soil has taken place now allowing free movement of oxygen and water into the rootzone. The end result will be a deeper healthier root system of the plant.

The fairways have been aerified for a total of three times in the last four weeks.  We took the liberty of "sneaking in" a couple of punches on the fairways back in March with the weather cooperating with us. These multiple aerifications will greatly help us control our surface firmness and allow numerous channels to be filled with sand.  Over the course of the three fairway aerifications 4.5 million holes per acre  were punched and 600 tons of sand was applied to the fairways alone.

Right now the fairways more closely resemble bunkers than anything else,  but over the next week the grass will once again push through and start help the sand to work it's way down.  The next several mowings will be extremely rough on the equipment  but the end result is all that matters.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Little Rough In The Rough

After a long winter with an extended snow cover many of the northern exposure rough areas took it in the shorts as far as damage goes. These areas were effected by both Snow Mold and Vole damage. The good news is that it is not a lost cause and nothing that cannot be repaired. Most of the damage appears to be superficial and with a little work on our part these areas will come back good as new.

The main thing we will be doing is to rake out the matted areas and re-introduce sunlight and oxygen. These areas will either be hand raked out or drug with a steel mat to accomplish this task. This alone will initiate the plant to produce new leaves and stems to repair the damage.

                                                                       Vole Damage

                                                                       Dragging Rough
                                                                       Snow Mold Damage

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools Not

It's shocking to see some of the Scrub Oak buds already beginning to swell and some are even pushing out leaves right now. This is crazy and a good 3-4 weeks ahead of when the Oak normally comes out. We all know this has been a far from normal March, It has been the driest on record and temperatures have been well above normal. The end result has been a fooling of the Oak and this is about to go into dangerous territory.

The forecast for the next several days includes snow and below freezing temperatures all which put The Oak and all other deciduous trees in danger of damage. Time will tell how they do.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Invaision

I was fortunate to be asked to contribute to an article that deals with Poa Annua management  in Golf Course Industry Magazine. The article is running in it's current addition check it out here

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pick Your Poison

Coming out of winter this year is the polar opposite of last year, but I'm not sure which is better. Each and every year our biggest challenge is the how golf course will emerge from the winter. Rarely does the course make it unscathed and this year is no exception.

The prolonged snow cover (90 plus days)has been good and bad. The turf has been protected and insulated from extreme temperatures and high winds, while on the other hand conditions for damage from Voles and Snow Mold have been ideal. The extent of the damage is yet to be fully seen, but initial observations are showing the potential for some significant repairs and recovery time in the rough areas.

When comparing a tale of two winters the damage from last season primarily came in the form of wildlife (Elk and Deer)along with some minor dessication issues. This damage occurred in the main play areas such as greens,tees and fairways of which took significant time and resources to repair. These are the primary play surfaces of the golf course and anytime they are not perfect it shows from a playability and a aesthetic standpoint. Whereas this year the damage appears to be centered in the rough primarily the northern exposure locations on each and every hole. The good news is that the rough does not effect the playability as much as the key play areas so the recovery should be less painful to all involved.

Which is type of damage is better? The obvious answer is neither but for us it isn't a question of choice but a reality of where our beautify golf course is located. The setting is one of the main reasons that the golf course is so spectacular as it affords views, wildlife,serenity and a world class golf course design and conditioning.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Exposure Makes a Difference

Exposure or orientation of golf holes not only make a difference in playability but it makes a huge difference in agronomics as well.  Direct sunlight has a tremendous effect on soil temperatures and direct growth of turfgrass especially in the shoulder season of active plant growth.

This effect is very visible on the golf course right now in relation to snow cover.  All of our Northern exposures are still deep in snow cover, while areas receiving full sun have melted away and are in the process of initiating spring growth and green up.  Approximately 1/3 of our golf holes are north facing and still look like Antarctica and the others look to be ready for golf.  All of these differences occur from hole to hole, some areas are as close as  300 yards apart even though they seem to be on two different continents.

Here is a great look at two of the holes on the course that you would never guess the pictures were taken on the same day let alone same season.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Melt

Over the last two days with temperatures in the upper 60's and high winds a big portion of the snow on the course has melted away. Unfortunately new snow is predicted over the next two days, so we will see what happens.

So far greens, tees and fairways look to be in good shape while the rough might be a different story with damage coming in the form of snow mold and Voles. Time will tell how the other areas that are still deep under snow cover will be.

 On a positive note the drainage system is working nicely removing the excess flow of water from the golf course. This rapid removal of water will help prevent any standing water from forming and reduce the possibility of ice formation.

Free Flowing Water

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sustainability and Subjectivity

Here is a very interesting video from Dr. Larry Stowell from Pace Turf that talks about how golfer perceptions can can effect profitability.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Future is Here.

Here is some great technology being put to work. Pretty soon I won't have to worry about my staff calling in sick. Now if we could just retrofit a snow blower on it, we would be set year round.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Benefits of Turfgrass

With all the snow on the ground right now it is hard to believe that the golf season is not too far away. As the days are beginning to get longer the thoughts of green grass are once again filling my mind.

Here is a great video about turfgrass that most people do not even think about.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


While driving around today I noticed an interesting phenomenon from applications of Iron and other Bio stimulants to some of our trees. We have been treating a handful of weakened trees as a result of effluent water for irrigation purposes on the golf course.

We have been applying this special mixture every two weeks to help buffer the salts found in the water and soil that is harming the trees. I was surprised to see that the iron in the tank mix still had a greening effect on the turf even though the plant is dormant for the winter.

The picture shows the green up from where the solution has been applied at the base of the tree, additional the runoff has moved into the fairway greening up the Bentgrass as well. Pretty cool stuff!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Now On Twitter

I have recently added twitter to my methods of communicating things that are happening on and around the golf course. Twitter will be used mostly for quick hitting comments and random course updates.

The blog will still be utilized for more in depth information related to things taking place on the golf course. Please follow me on Twitter Here

Friday, January 20, 2012

Night and Day

Here is the latest regional update from the USGA. It is amazing how the weather patterns are so different from year to year. This confirms what I have always said, that the winters are more difficult on the turf than the summer time. The link to the update can be found Here enjoy.