Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Aeration Progress Report....and What To Expect

Yesterday we began the fall aeration process on greens.  We are using 5/8" diameter tines and pulling cores.  Our goal is to fill the holes with sand which will take another few days to fully complete.  So far we've made it through 12 of our 20 greens.  We are starting on hole 11 this morning and expect to wrap up this evening.  

The back nine is closed today

Those of you playing the front nine should know that we are not "finished" yet.  Putting conditions will be far less than acceptable but since our entire staff will be working on the back nine, you are free to enjoy the weather on the front nine.  We will get back on the front nine tomorrow during play to add sand if needed, brush, roll, etc...  We'll do the back nine follow up work on Thursday during play. 

Thanks for your patience.  We should be back to normal very soon.  

The steps we took yesterday.....

Topdressing goes down first (about 5 tons per green)

Aeration occurs next followed by shoveling up the plugs

A brush is pulled across the green and then it's rolled and watered



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Test In Progress

PROBLEM

As most of you know, our roughs are a combination of fescue and bluegrass.  That, at least, is what was planted in the beginning almost 20 years ago.  Over time several unwanted grasses have found a home in the rough. Bermudagrass, bentgrass, and zoysia that's crept out of the fairway are prevalent throughout the course.  Playing a shot from one of these unwanted grasses in the rough, is nearly impossible.  Fescue is not a joy to play from either, but it offers a much better opportunity to advance the ball toward the target.  

SOLUTION

We are currently using the 16th hole as our test plot for "cleaning" up the fescue rough.  Last Thursday we applied Pylex and Turflon to the rough and will make two more applications over the next 5 weeks.  During this time we expect the unwanted grasses to die.  Obviously there will be a period of time where it appears we've done more bad than good, but killing the unwanted grasses will give the fescue seed a chance to survive without the competition.

 For now please pardon our efforts as hole 16 will be in a state of "repair" for several weeks while the unwanted grasses die off and the new fescue seed begins to grow.  I am confident that we will be happy with the results of this "test".  It is my hope that we can squeeze this into the budget for next year on the rest of the course.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Employee of the Month.....Mother Nature

We've received more positive feedback this summer than ever before and that's been very rewarding. We've worked really hard and, for a change, have had some support from the weather.  Typically we're hanging on for dear life at this time of year and planning the turf recovery efforts that start in late summer/early fall.  We still have a ways to go but it's safe to say the turf is in good condition and will be stronger than usual heading into fall.  This will be helpful to next year's conditions as well believe it or not. Going into winter in good condition will give us a leg up going into next season.  
Here is a recent update from the USGA that emphasizes the impact weather has played throughout our region.  We always work hard and do our best, but in recent years we've been fighting against mother nature.  This year she is on our team and that makes a huge difference.  

MILD SUMMER WEATHER EQUALS BETTER PLAYABILITY

By Darin S. Bevard, director, Mid-Atlantic Region
August 6, 2014

Playability and turfgrass health have been better than normal during the height of the summer stress season. The mild summer weather in much of the mid-Atlantic region has been a welcome change from the weather extremes of the past few growing seasons.
During a recent Course Consulting Service visit at a golf course in the Philadelphia area, course officials praised their maintenance staff for how much “better” playability and overall conditions were on the golf course. Equally, they indicated that their staff had done “better” maintaining the grass. I was quick to compare the hot, wet weather of July 2013 with the cooler July weather of this year. Timely rains have also been helpful. Perhaps the staff did their best work keeping the grass alive last July. The response was, “But the golf course has played so much better this year than last.” Playability probably is better, but it is not because the maintenance staff has worked harder this year than last. While maintenance programs are always adjusted, the mild summer weather has been better for conditioning cool-season grass and adequate for warm-season turf growth as well.
With no major agronomic problems trending in the region aside from persistent annual bluegrass weevil pressure in some areas, this is a good time to discuss the impact that weather has on turfgrass health. With overall cooler temperatures this summer and timely rainfall, the grass is healthier than would normally be expected in early August on many golf courses. When the grass is healthy, maintenance practices can be more aggressive and can focus on playability instead of primarily focused on turfgrass survival. Mother Nature has more impact on turfgrass management than golfers and course officials want to give her credit for. In years when the weather is bad and playability and/or turfgrass health suffers, the weather is often viewed as an excuse rather than a reason for problems.
The bottom line is that weather conditions dramatically impact daily golf course maintenance decisions. Weather is not the only reason that problems occur, but it is almost always a major factor. The mild summer has been a nice change from the weather extremes of the last three growing seasons. After the winter damage that occurred to bermudagrass in the southern part of the mid-Atlantic region and Poa annua in the northern tier last winter, I guess we deserve a break. For superintendents, the mild weather does not make their job easy as some have suggested. However, it offers the opportunity to provide better playing conditions than normal at this point in the growing season. Hopefully the golfers get out and enjoy their courses and the weather.
Source: Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org)
Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

Contact the Green Section Staff  
We've received more positive feedback this summer than ever before and that's been very rewarding.  We've worked really hard and, for a change, have had some support from the weather.  Typically we're hanging on for dear life at this time of year and planning the turf recovery efforts that start in late summer/early fall.  We still have a ways to go but it's safe to say the turf is in good condition and will be stronger than usual heading into fall.  This will be helpful to next year's conditions as well believe it or not.  Going into winter in good condition will give us a leg up going into next season.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cart Path Repairs Underway

Rain pushed us out of our original slot in early June so we rescheduled for this week.  Once again rain arrived along with the contractors, but we opted to go forward with the job.  The old broken sections were removed yesterday, but the rain today kept us from being able to pour new concrete.  Therefore, we are going to wrap up tomorrow and will have to keep the front nine closed for another day.  We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation and understanding.  No more bone jarring bumps on the front nine.  The back nine will be addressed when we aerate greens on September 15th and 16th.  The back nine will be closed at that time anyway so we can piggy back the two jobs and avoid closing more than necessary.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What Not To Do

Only two carts per group are allowed to leave the path on any given hole.  That's been publicized enough to rule out the possibility that these guys didn't know the rule.  

Nothing says more about what these guys think of themselves, each other, their fellow members, and of the course than the picture below....



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

USGA: Mid-Atlantic UPDATE

USGA: Mid-Atlantic



WHY CAN’T WE KILL THESE WEEDS?

By Elliott L. Dowling, agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
July 23, 2014

Weed control in summer is difficult with weeds turning off-color following herbicide
applications, but often still able to recover.   Sequential applications at low rates are
the best method for control, especially during the hottest months of the year.
If weed populations seem out of control on your golf course, you are not alone. Broadleaf and annual weeds have emerged on golf facilities throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Weeds such as kyllinga, yellow and purple nutsedge, goosegrass and crabgrass are widespread. Unfortunately, they can be very difficult to control during summer due to the potential risk of injury to desirable turf.
Postemergence applications should have already begun. Generally, better control is realized while the weeds are small. Keep in mind that during hot and dry weather weeds have reduced ability to absorb herbicides which equates to reduced control. If you are currently in a dry period, delay control applications until adequate soil moisture is present.
Careful herbicide applications must be made on cool-season turf, especially in midsummer heat. Sequential, low-rate herbicide applications are often the best method for postemergence control, especially on sensitive grasses such as creeping bentgrass. If control measures are not implemented in a timely fashion, populations will continue to increase.
Source: Elliott L. Dowling (edowling@usga.org

Monday, July 28, 2014

Irrigation Motor Replacement

No summer is complete without at least one irrigation debacle.  This year, like many before, we lost one of our two 75hp motors.  On the night of July 3rd the motor in question died way too soon.  We limped by on one motor until last week when the new one was installed.  It is a large expense that we did not expect for several more years.  Since our motors are submersible (not the norm) they can not be repaired for less than the cost of a new one.  We are back up and running now and hope to have a pain free summer from here on out.