Thursday, September 14, 2017

Aeration Update

Irma stayed away long enough for us to complete most of our work.  Monday and Tuesday were great for aerating and topdressing.  Wednesday was supposed to be a big clean up day where we did more brushing, sweeping, and blowing.   However, rain and clouds held us back until 2:30 when the sun finally popped out.  The sand won't move if it's wet so we lost about 5 hours of greens clean up time waiting on the sun.  Thanks to Tim, Ryan, and Richard for hanging around until dark to help us get the front nine brushed and blown.  Today, if the clouds disappear, we will wrap up the back nine clean up and get everything rolled.  We are open for play today, but the greens are not where we'd hoped they'd be. With a little luck we should be able to put the finishing touches on them today and get the recovery process in full swing.  Here are pictures of the process that has been underway since Monday at 6:00 AM.  The guys have worked extremely hard to get this done and I am very proud of the results.  You have a great team!

PS...We will aerate the practice green next Monday.  Yesterday's rain got in the way and we decided to focus on trying to get the course back together with the time we had.

Step 1...Light Verticut

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Aeration Reminder

After a long golf season the greens are in need of some relief.  The best medicine is aeration, which is scheduled for next week.  Hopefully hurricane Irma will cooperate.

We've modified our method of aeration over the years and are always looking for ways to improve the process.  Achieving a win-win-win outcome is very difficult, but we enjoy the challenge of continually trying to improve.  We need a win for greens, a win for golfers, and a win for staff.

First and foremost we need a win for the greens.  That means adequately preparing them for the coming season.  The line between overdoing it and not doing enough can be very fine.  The aggressive process of aeration can damage them if we aren't careful, but we have to push the envelope if we are going to get results.

We also want a win for golfers.  In theory if we get a win for greens, that should satisfy the golfers.  However,  the wait for greens to fully recover from aeration can seem like an eternity to avid golfers (me included).  The timing of aeration and the methods used have a big impact on recovery time.  A speedy recovery is a win for golfers.  It can be tough to get that win on top of the win for greens.

Lastly we must try and get a win for the staff.  With a small team we must refine the process to make sure it can be done in the window of time allotted.  Unfortunately our seasonal staff is not here when we aerate in either the spring or fall.  It's easy to out kick our coverage and create more mess than we are capable of cleaning up in two days.  New equipment that makes the process easier and more efficient has helped tremendously.  An extra day to complete the process is also a huge help.

If all goes as planned next week the course will be set up for a great fall season!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Who's the New Guy?

After an in depth search and multiple interviews, I'm happy to introduce Ryan Funkhouser as our new Assistant Superintendent.  Ryan comes to us after a 4 year stint at Dominion Valley Country Club in northern Virginia.  He joins us at a very busy time and has had to hit the ground running as a result.  He has big shoes to fill as Rob Basso was a mainstay for 12 years.  Rob, as most of you know, left in March to become the Superintendent at Mattaponi Springs Golf Club.  Ryan has a lot to learn in a short time, but with a great team around him he'll be fine.  

His primary responsibilities this time of year will be assisting with staff scheduling and task planning, chemical/fertilizer applications, and scouting turf for the many challenges that arise in the summer.  Assistant Superintendents work very long hours and don't get nearly enough credit for the role they play in providing golfers with a fun place to play golf.  I'll try and get a good picture of Ryan to share asap, but didn't want to delay the announcement of our newest team member.  Please welcome him the next time you see "the new guy".

A Timely Update from The USGA

What a difference a few days can make.  Steady rainfall a few days back had things very lush and soggy, but now that we are in the 90s with a little breeze, the course is getting thirsty.  Our staff has been getting a good workout this week, especially the guys dragging hoses around.  Here is a great article just put out by the USGA about the subject of summer stress on the course...

How Does Summer Heat Stress Affect My Game

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Deja Vu

Last May we had rain on almost every day of the month and were completely shut down from normal maintenance.  This year is shaping up to be just as wet, although we have had a few days between storms to get things done.  Our rain gauge is checked every morning at 6 AM and so far we have emptied it 10 times in the past 21 days.  The total for the month at our shop is just over 7 inches of rain.  I believe that some of the course has had another inch or two, but the shop is where we take our reading.  Last year in May we had 7.6".  We have a few more storms to try and dodge before we get to June, but it's safe to say that we've had more rain than we need already.  Hopefully we can be a little cooler than last year once the rains move out.  Otherwise, we are going to be in for another tough summer of grass growing.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

More Holes

As previously mentioned we've been using a different approach to the aeration process for the last two seasons.  As a result, lab tests have shown improvements in organic matter content which is what we always considered to be our biggest challenge.  However, some other variables that show up in the report have not been so promising.  This latest report along with recent observations make it clear that we need to go back to some form of core aeration.  Even though we are just one month removed from the process pictured here...

The pictures below are of hole 3 following the application of a wetting agent (a product to assist in getting moisture evenly distributed through the soil profile).  The water that is puddled in the middle of the green is left behind after just 4 minutes of irrigation.  We cannot get the wetting agent, or anything else for that matter, into the soil when water runs off the surface on contact.  When we had some 90 degree days last week it was impossible to hydrate some of the dry areas as no water could get below the surface.   We will be putting some small holes in greens today and tomorrow in an attempt to get the surfaces to accept air and water again.  Every 2-3 weeks throughout the season we will be "venting" greens with small solid tines to help keep things alive.  

This is the same green from close up immediately following 4 minutes of irrigation.  Note the water running down the slope.  The wetting agent we are trying to get into the soil is running down the slope with the water.  Normally we'd like to run the water for much longer than 4 minutes, but even with fresh aeration holes this has not been possible.  

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Heads Up

Be prepared for the possibility that the fairways change color in the next few days.  Our annual application to control kyllinga was applied Wednesday and it typically causes some discoloration to the zoysia.  This symptom lasts a few days and then disappears.  It is not a pleasant look, but the small set back is much less trouble than a crop of green kyllinga.  Kyllinga that was already up and visible will soon be much more visible as it will be dead.  The product we applied will also help prevent crabgrass and goosegrass which we all know and love.


Kyllinga years ago before we found a preventive solution

Same fairway from the other direction.  Kyllinga free