Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Winter Mode

We are gradually working our way into winter mode on the golf course.  The leaves continue to eat up most of our time, but we are also getting the irrigation system put to bed and preparing things for the cold weather.  

When it comes to playing golf in the winter you will notice that our hole location strategy changes.  When the ground freezes it is impossible for us to cut a hole in the ground.   For this reason, and to help save labor, we are now in full Winter Hole Location mode.  There are three holes in each green (One in the front, middle, and back of each green).  We will move the flagstick regularly among the three holes.  Periodically during the winter we will cut fresh holes in each green.  

Copies of this hole location chart are available in the golf shop...

Friday, December 1, 2017

2017 Leaf Blowing Championships Underway

Round one of this year's leaf battle is over and it's a close race so far.  The ground finally dried up enough to get mowers out so we've been able to do a lot of leaf mulching.  Mulching leaves in place is much more efficient than trying to suck them up with our leaf vac.  The leaf vac doesn't hold much, has a long way to travel to get to and from our dump site, and our dump site isn't adequate for all the leaves that would be piled up.  We blow the leaves into areas where we can then run over them with our mowers and repeat as needed.  Next week we will finally incorporate the leaf vac to get some areas where mulching isn't possible.  Today (Friday, December 1st) was a landslide win for the leaves, but we think the end is near.  We always end up winning, but it's never easy.  Thanks for your patience and understanding as we work to clean things up.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving !

I am thankful for more things than I have time or space to write about.  Since this is a "work" related site I'd like to say thanks to our staff for all your hard work and loyalty.  Some of these guys have been around for a long time and they never get complacent.  It might seem from the outside like a mundane job with little to no excitement, but in reality, every day is full of surprises and every season is a new challenge.  That's what keeps it interesting and makes it fun.  Our staff is the "force behind the course" and they are a joy to work with.  I truly love seeing them each morning and am thankful to have such a great group of people on my side.  They love Fawn Lake more than you can imagine and take a great deal of pride in the condition of the course.  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Sometimes It's Good to Vent

Every 2-3 weeks in the summer we "vent" greens with small needle tines in order to allow them to "breathe".  This is not "aeration" and creates little if any disruption to play.  Generally we mow and/or roll immediately behind the process.  While "venting" is primarily done in the hotter months, we occasionally feel the need to do it in the spring and/or fall.  Conditions dictate the timing and frequency of venting. 

The past 7-10 days have been very wet and I felt like greens would benefit from "venting".  The greens are nearly 25 years old and they do not drain as well as they once did.  The golf shop and I have been fielding a slow but steady flow of venting from golfers over the fact that we vented greens. The greens have been putting great and will continue to do so for the remainder of the golf season.  Please allow them to vent when they are not happy. 


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fall Summary

It's been an eventful few weeks in our department.  Between greens aeration, rough aeration, seeding, and battling the longest dry spell in Fawn Lake's history, we've not had much time to exhale.  Here is a summary of what's been happening...

  • For those keeping score at home, we went 27 days without rain (September 13th to October 9th).  That is the longest dry spell in my 17 years at Fawn Lake.  
  • The greens bounced back very well from aeration although the dry spell didn't help.
  • The rough aeration and seeding was postponed through much of September due to the lack of rain.  Trying to aerate soil that is as hard as concrete is not easy.  
  • Seed is now down for the most part, but we have a few places where we are working to get it in the ground.  The "hot spots" in need of repair are usually areas where traffic is concentrated, trees are nearby, soil is poor, irrigation coverage is weak, or a combination of some or all of these.  We've used some different varieties in hopes of finding something that can tolerate these conditions better than our typical tall fescue blend.  Creeping red fescue, hard fescue, chewings fescue, etc...are being used in hopes of finding something that can endure the season.  
  • We are currently working our way through tee aeration.  This may cause some disruption, but is preferable to closing the course.  We just ask for your patience and understanding as we work our way around the course.  
Jimmy is using the Aer-a-vator to seed the left side of 7

This is the left side of 7.  It suffers from shade, tree roots, concentrated cart traffic,
and lack of irrigation.  Growing grass in this type of situation is an uphill battle.
This is from mid September.  You can see the affects of no rain. The
 zoysia looks like it's going dormant 6 weeks early.  

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!