Sunday, May 31, 2020

Busy Day Ahead

Tomorrow (Monday, June 1) we have a lot of tasks to complete so following the Monday play policy will be very important.  Please remember the following key points to our Monday policy:

  • The course "opens" at Noon.  Please do not start before that time.
  • All play should start on hole 1.  
  • All play should yield to maintenance.  Skip any hole where you encounter maintenance staff working.  As a heads up for may wish to wait until 3:00 to start as we will be verticutting and topdressing greens and spraying some things that will need to be watered in immediately.  You may find yourself skipping a lot of holes tomorrow if you play between noon and 3:00.  
Thanks for your patience and understanding.  Mondays are a huge opportunity for us to get things done that aren't possible when we are open.  Tomorrow will be a big day for us.    

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Practice Tee Update from Green Committee

Practice Tee Opening

We have had some inquiries about why we are still on the mats at the range and when will we be back on the grass.  Staying on the mats originally was a function to reinforce social distancing. It also allowed Dave and his staff more time to focus on other parts of the golf course. It also has been a cool wet spring with the grass slowly coming out of dormancy. All this has combined to keep us on the mats longer than usual.

It looks like the weather has finally started to warm up meaning the grass will grow back quicker. We are about to enter Phase II of the reopening which will allow groups of less than 50 people to gather and, hopefully, we’ll be seeing some outings in the near future. While we still need to practice social distancing until we reach Phase III, we are planning on coming off the mats on June 9th. 

Thanks you for your patience and understanding.

Green Committee
Jim Bost, Chairman
Greg Reid
Bette Connnelly
Steve Pendry
Jim Vance

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Honey Bee Rescue

We see a lot of cool stuff on the golf course.  Yesterday we were able to send a swarm of honey bees to a new home. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Be Prepared

The zoysia was treated yesterday with Echelon, a weed prevention/control product.  The zoysia will turn an ugly color in a few days and will stay that way for several more.  It will bounce right back, but be prepared for a few days of ugliness.  If you're playing with someone who wonders what is going on with the fairways....please let them know and then direct them to follow this blog.  

After dodging windy days, rainy days, frosty days, and/or wet ground we finally made it out with our fairway weed control spray.  It's about 3 weeks later than normal, but better late than never.  The target weed for this application is called kyllinga.  Our poorly drained soils are a haven for it and it's the biggest weed problem we face in the zoysia.  Due to the crazy weather pattern we've been under there is also a lot of pressure right now from poa annua in the zoysia.   We'll be going after that as well, but with a different strategy at a later date.  Generally speaking, the zoysia is not happy at the moment.  Frost in the second week of May knocked it back from an already poor position.  Prior to the two frosty mornings last weekend, we were saturated from two weeks of cool rainy conditions.  It's going to take some extended warmth and sun to help get things going in the zoysia. 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Another Way You Can Help

From the USGA:  Five Ways Golfers Can Care For The Course

One of the virus related changes to the golf course involved encouraging the use of separate carts when playing.   When this began we “relaxed” the policy that limited cart traffic to two carts per group off the path on any given hole.   With nearly 1000 more rounds year to date over 2019, we are on pace to shatter records for play.  That’s fantastic except for the wear and tear that the excess cart traffic brings.  We’d like to encourage all who are able, to voluntarily adhere to our normal cart policy.  Two carts are far better than four when it comes to the condition of the course.  We’ve been overwhelmed at the amount of support the course has received during this crisis.  Our divot filling team is close to 40 strong and a number of others have made offers to help in other ways.  If you are in a foursome with four carts, keeping two of those carts on the path per hole is a huge way to help out.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Maintenance Gap

At last month's Green Committee meeting I presented several ways in which we might be able to "disguise" some of the virus related cutbacks to the course.  The purpose behind all of these suggestions was to maintain, or perhaps even improve, course conditions with less money.  We know expectations won't go down just because funds for upkeep take a plunge.  We have to get creative if we are going to avoid major setbacks.  Thankfully the committee, after much discussion, approved my suggestions. 

You've already seen most of these suggestions implemented, but one you may not have noticed is the "Maintenance Gap."  As of this week, and at least for the duration of the virus related crunch, we've blocked off tee times from 12:00 to 12:50 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in order to create some space for staff to get work done more efficiently.  Once the tasks that must be completed ahead of play are finished, the staff can get back out on the course and start working in the gap.  This is a win for golfers too, as you will be less likely to encounter staff during the afternoon.  Additionally, not having to mow fairways and roughs when it's wet, will result in a much cleaner course. 

The first week of this gap was a huge success for us.  It's been extremely wet lately and we were getting way behind with mowing.  The gap allowed us to get all the course mowed in just over two days.  We can't promise you'll never cross paths with staff, but there should be much less golfer/staff interference, better course conditions, and reduced labor expense from this simple change. 


Friday, May 1, 2020

Greens Update and Outlook

Now that we have completed aeration, we are hoping for some good weather to help speed recovery.  We had frost on the second day of aeration and temperatures have remained cooler than ideal.  While it was nice to get some rain following the task, we didn't need 3.25" in 4 separate events over 7 days.  We need some sunlight and warmer temperatures to get things going. 

Despite our efforts to improve air and water flow through the greens profile, we still struggle with extremely slow infiltration rates.  In the picture below you can see standing water from the 1.4" rain that fell 3 days following aeration.  This rain fell over the course of several hours and should not have resulted in puddles.  Just 3 days prior to this rain we put thousands of 1/2" diameter holes in each green.  About 1/3 of those holes were 9" deep and the others were 3" deep.  Good clean coarse sand was used to fill the holes.  The drain outlets are clear and water moves freely through the drain lines, but it takes too long to get to those lines.

Cross section of a USGA green. 
12" sand based root zone over 4" gravel layer over 4" drain pipes
Greens are built on 12" of sand over 4" of pea gravel over a maze of drainage pipes.  To greens age, the 12" rootzone becomes "clogged" and the rate of water infiltration slows.  Air porosity in the profile decreases while water porosity increases.  This can be amended with cultivation such as aeration.  However, the benefits of a single aeration don't last long and the process must be repeated.  If the aeration schedule isn't aggressive enough to "catch up", the greens will continue to decline.  We need to give serious thought to doing more than we currently do in order to "flatten the curve" as we hear daily now.  
Visible old aeration holes are underlined.  You can see that they no longer reach the surface. 
They have become "clogged" with organic matter.
This is a new aeration hole filled with sand.  In a few months it
will become "clogged" and resemble the old holes in the picture above.

Greens that hold too much moisture have disease issues, shallow rooting, poor durability in extreme conditions, and are obviously very soft when wet.  Weakened bentgrass from poor soil is replaced with poa annua (annual bluegrass).  Then we have more disease and insect pressure specific to that variety of turf.  It's a vicious cycle. We've suffered for the past several years as the greens profile has deteriorated at an increasing rate.  Looking back through this blog you'll find summer articles that reference this issue.  With all the recent rains and a long range forecast of record heat, we expect to have some challenging times ahead this summer.  

For the next 3-4 months we will be using small solid tines frequently to "vent" the top few inches of soil.  This is a "band aid" to help get us to the next aeration in late August.  We will be lightly topdressing greens regularly to "dilute" the organic matter at the surface.  Wetting agents that help to promote water movement through the profile will also be used.  Hand watering with hoses will be the primary source of supplement to rain in order to ensure that water goes exactly where it is needed.  These are things we do every summer, but we will increase the frequency this year.  Thankfully these practices do little, if anything, to disrupt play.  

Thanks as always for your patience with our efforts.