Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Aeration Report

Except for the two hour frost delay Monday, the process of aeration went smoother than ever.  With the help of our new aerator, some staff working on their spring break, and a new strategy, we were able to complete all the aerating and topdressing.  The course is open in it's entirety, but we are still very busy trying to smooth out the greens and speed the recovery process.  We are rolling, brushing, removing excess sand, etc..and will be doing this as long as it takes to get things back in order.

A recap of what we did.....

Step 1
Soil Reliever 
A contractor performs this step with 4 machines that can get roughly 8 inches below the surface with 1/2" diameter solid tines.  This addresses the part of the greens profile that our machines never see.  It helps to improve the rate at which water moves through the soil and breaks through layers that can impede root growth and turf health.  We used to do this every other year, but the greens are aging and can benefit from it more often.  We combined it with our core aeration so you wouldn't have to deal with two separate aerations.

soil reliever in action
Step 2
Roll Greens
We followed the soil reliever with our roller just to firm up the surface prior to topdressing and core aerating.

Step 3
We used about 80 tons of sand in an effort to fill the holes.  We did this before core aerating so we wouldn't be driving a heavy machine over a soft freshly aerated green.

Step 4
Core Aerate
We used our new Pro Core 648 aerator with 1/2" diameter tines set to 2.5" depth.  This removed some of the excess organic matter that we are constantly trying to keep in check.  The machine pulls the cores to the edge of the green where they are then shoveled up by staff.  We hauled the cores to our wildflower beds where they will be spread out.  

Note the sand already on the green and the soil reliever holes to the right of the aerator
Step 5
We brushed the sand multiple directions to try and get it into the aeration holes.

Rob brushing the 5th green 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More Progress To Report

Sod finally arrived on what was the fourth try following three rain outs.  Of course a 12 hour day wasn't quite enough to finish installing it and rain has now returned for another full day.  We will wrap up tomorrow and get all of the new sod neatly trimmed and touched up.

Roughly 50 stumps were ground yesterday and we will be cleaning up the aftermath in the next few days.  With some luck we hope to have another day with the grinder later in the year.

It is clear where turf suffered as a result of the shade.  We will be making some repairs here at #12 now that the stumps have been ground.  The bare areas caused from the shade and tree competition are full of visible tree roots.  We'll transplant some bentgrass on the tee surface and put fescue on the tee slope.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sod Work Underway

Another victim of the weather has been the sod project we started two weeks ago.  The sod farm has been rained out three times now and the installation is now set for next Monday.  We have most of the areas prepped and ready for sod, but we certainly didn't intend for them to be left in that state for more than a day or two.  The prep work is more involved and time consuming than the actual installation of new sod so we had to start a week ahead of the originally scheduled sod delivery.  Then it rained the day of the delivery so the farm couldn't harvest.  Then it rained again on the make up date and yet again on the third try this Monday.  Now we hope to have it done next Monday so we can cover all the bare spots that have been prepped.  Cross your fingers.

Weather Delays Clay Court Opening

We had hoped to have the courts open by now as early April is our typical start date for tennis.  However, just when we get close to being firm and dry enough to refurbish them it rains again. The courts must be very dry and very firm in order for us to do the clay resurfacing.  The all-day rain received on Monday set us back yet again, but good weather ahead may finally allow us to get the courts opened.  We know many of you are ready for tennis and we are certainly ready to get the job crossed off our list.

Monday, April 7, 2014

What's Happening...a look at the past two weeks

The winter weather forced us to adjust our priorities quite a bit.  Drainage installation and bunker repairs were on my wish list, but the weather did not allow us to address those things this winter.  We have, however, taken advantage of the situation and accomplished a great deal despite the nasty weather.  In a previous update I referenced the tree work that we did for the sake of improving turf health.  The extended wet weather also allowed us to tackle some trees that were damaging cart paths.  We hope to have the damaged cart paths repaired this spring.

Note the damage this tree caused to the cart path

  • We have also been focusing on grinding reels with our new reel grinder.  Our old unit was 28 years old and was inefficient and unsafe.  The new grinder will soon be running constantly to keep things sharp for through the season.  At mowing heights of .110" there is zero room for error.  
Gene grinding a greens mower reel
  • Every winter we apply Round Up to the dormant zoysia to control winter weeds.  This year we made it around all the greens, but then the weather and ground conditions made it impossible to finish the other 38 Acres.  Resorting to Plan B we recently made an application of Revolver (a selective herbicide that doesn't require zoysia to be dormant) in order to wrap up the project.  It was more pricey than Round Up, but much better than the alternative of not addressing the weeds.  For now the unwanted poa annua is still easily visible, but soon the effects of Revolver will be evident and the zoysia will be "clean".  In the picture below the area marked "untreated" has now been treated with Revolver.  The area marked as "treated" was done so with Round Up.  

Alan edging the outer margin of the bentgrass collar 
  • For several years we've been stockpiling pine logs at the shop.  Storms have knocked many of them over and in other cases we've cut them down when they die or create problems.  Recently we spent a day with a large chipper in an effort to clean up the debris and create some useful mulch.  We have been using this mulch to cover some of our maintenance paths and out of play areas that are not high profile.  It isn't the prettiest mulch in the world, but it is helpful over bare ground.  

A full day of grinding several hundred logs yielded a large pile of pine mulch
some of the mulch spread left of the path at 9 tee 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Course Open!!!

Thanks for being patient as the snow melted and the ground thawed out.  Today was a big help and the course will be open for play tomorrow(Sunday).  This time it wasn't snow cover that was holding things up as much as a frozen layer just beneath the surface.  The greens were essentially under water until that layer thawed this morning.