Thursday, November 20, 2014

Against the Wind

Leaf clean up is a painful and frustrating process.  It's a war we always win, but not before losing several battles.  In the past few days we've filled the vacuum up countless times, but that is not evident on the course.  Winds are bringing leaves down faster than we can mulch and/or vacuum them.  Eventually we'll have a very neat and tidy course to look at and play, but it's not going to happen this week I'm afraid.  Thanks for your patience.  

By the way, as much as we'd love to help everyone we are not equipped or staffed to handle more than what is on the course.  That's just a reminder to those who might like to pile up their yard waste on the golf course.  Thanks for understanding.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

USGA Update....Earthworms and Frost

USGA: Mid-Atlantic



EARTHWORM CASTS AND FROST DELAYS

By Darin S. Bevard, director, Mid-Atlantic Region
November 12, 2014


Heavy earthworm casts can affect maintenance and playability. Cool, wet fall weather provides ideal conditions for earthworms. At this late point in the growing season, simply managing the casts – and not the earthworms – is the best approach to maintaining playability.
During the latter part of the growing season in the Mid-Atlantic, preparing golf courses for daily play can be challenging. While the worries of hot weather are certainly gone, the changing weather creates new problems, like leaf removal, that are more of a nuisance than major issues. Additionally, earthworm casts and frost delays have been recent topics of conversation.
Earthworm casts affect maintenance and playability. In severe cases, fairways cannot be mowed until they are dry and dragging is performed to break up the casts. Wet earthworm casts can smear fairways and will affect the performance of mowing equipment. The combination of slower turf growth and less frequent mowing makes the casting problem more severe. Fertilizer products containing tea seed extract can be applied to irritate earthworms and reduce casting. However, at this point in the growing season, it may be best to simply deal with worm casts as the season comes to a close. Remember, earthworms benefit soil structure. It is only the casts on the surface that are detrimental to grass and playability.
Frost delays can be discussed every year, but the bottom line is that there is great potential to injure frosted turfgrass by introducing traffic. Frost also delays maintenance operations. Golfers are ready to go as soon as the sun is up and the frost is gone. However, remember that the maintenance staff cannot blow leaves, mow or perform other course setup tasks when frost is present. Therefore, some patience and understanding from the golfers is required. Realize there can be an additional delay after frost has burned off so the maintenance staff can get a head start on course preparation.
Late season is not mid-season. Golfers can help by being patient and understanding the challenges that maintenance operations must contend with when preparing for daily golf as we progress towards winter.
Source: Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org)
Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service


Contact the Green Section Staff  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Peak Leaf Season


It's raining leaves faster than we can keep up.  On days when the wind blows hard and steady we don't waste time trying to clean them up.  We'll attack them as soon as the wind dies down.  


http://www.golfdigest.com/blogs/the-loop/2014/11/late-season-golf-breakthrough.html


Friday, October 31, 2014

Pump "House" Renovation

The heart of our irrigation system is the pump station.  In most cases, pump stations are indoors with some minor degree of climate control and protection from the elements.  We've lived with just a fence for all these years.  Earlier this year we replaced the control panel and decided that it was time we beefed up the protection around this big investment.  The gap between the grass slowing down and peak leaf removal season seemed like a good time to squeeze in this construction project.  Jimmy, Alan, and Logan spent last week putting this new structure together.  It is essentially a sturdier version of its predecessor with a roof added.  We still need to add the roof material, but the job is nearly complete.  The guys did an incredible job at a fraction of what the outsiders quoted for the same thing.  The heart of our irrigation system will be safe for years to come.  Now if we can just get some water in the lake we can use it.







Fall Golf Course Update and Reminders

Lots of changes taking place this time of year.  The following is a summary of what's happening....


  • Staff reduction for the season.  Some very good people who worked extremely hard all year are now either gone for the year or have had their hours greatly reduced.  It is a painful reality that they are all aware of from the start, but it still hurts to see them go.  
  • Frost delays will be a regular occurrence soon.  If you have an early tee time please be prepared for a a delay if it's cold outside.  We need a little time to prepare the course between the frost thawing and the first tee time. 
  • Leaves are falling faster than we can pick them up.  The biggest drain on manpower for the next two months will be leaf removal.  It's all day every day.  
  • Zoysia grass is going dormant.  We haven't had to mow the zoysia fairways and approaches since October 10th.  The color has almost disappeared for the year and will return again beginning in April.  
  • The practice tee grass is closed for the winter and the mats are back in action.    

The fairways are going dormant and the leaves are falling....



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Gus and Lou To The Rescue

Lou (left) and Gus
The full court press against the geese has been underway now for three weeks.  Gus and Lou, under the direction of Jeremy Austin, have been a big help.  The population of resident geese has boomed over the past two years and I didn't want to see it continue through the winter.  Jeremy's business is called Eye Dog and fortunately for us he lives nearby.  Jeremy, Gus, and Lou have been visiting almost daily for several hours at a time.  Often they come twice a day and the results have been super. Before we teamed up, "poop patrol" was a daily task assigned to at least one staff member.  It involves blowing the mess from greens and tees and can take a few hours a day.  This task hasn't been needed a single time since the day Gus and Lou arrived.  The resident goose population is very large and Fawn Lake is a great place to live if you're a goose with many ponds and safe havens to choose from.  We are focusing on the golf course and it's 14 ponds, but I'm sure the neighborhood would benefit from Gus and Lou expanding their territory.  That idea has been floated to the powers that be so perhaps you'll see some action soon in other areas of Fawn Lake.

Say hello to the newest team members if you pass them on the course.  Make sure to thank them for saving our course from the nasty aftermath of the unwanted water fowl.
Eye Dog
Jeremy with Gus and Lou

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Not Quite Low Tide

The lake continues to leak, but Thursday the much awaited "plug" arrives that we hope will seal things tight.  At that point we are praying for rain and runoff to begin filling us back up.  Our original plan to move the pumps further out was tabled for the moment as the cost of doing such wasn't going to be easy and the need was still unclear.  We have some time thanks to the weather, so we will pay close attention to the water level and react if/when needed with a pump relocation.  If the valve was going to give way it couldn't have picked a better time.