Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer = Pond Problems

Ponds on and around the golf course receive a great deal of criticism each summer.  Water levels are typically very low from July until sometime in the fall.  In most cases the ponds receive little to no runoff, are used to irrigate adjacent home lawns, and have no adequate source of fill.  As a result of , the water level in most ponds is low when it gets hot and dry.  A good rainfall doesn't help much as most ponds are situated on high ground (not sure who's idea this was).  When it's dry we lose water to evaporation and seepage.  We also lose water from the many homeowners who pull water out of these ponds to irrigate their landscapes.  Some ponds are fed with wells, but none of the wells produce enough water to offset these losses (evaporation, seepage, irrigation).  Some ponds can be fed with the golf course irrigation system, but not if we are using the pumps to irrigate the course.  Voicemails and emails telling me to fill up the ponds are a waste of time.  We are well aware of the low water levels.  If it were as simple as flipping a switch, we'd do it.  We don't have adequate supply or pumping capacity to keep ponds full all the time.  When we get some rain and don't need to water grass, we'll spend a day adding water to a pond or two.  In the meantime, if you live on one of these ponds, you can help the situation by cutting back on your irrigation use.  That's really the only variable we can control to help the situation.  We obviously can't make it rain and force water to flow uphill.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fawn Lake "dome"

There was no way we were going to miss the rain last night.  However, the gauges were empty this morning and the course is still bone dry.  All the rain east of us in this picture was west of us late last night.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

100 Million Holes And Counting

Tim Murphy is the "Holey Man" on our staff and he's responsible for putting just over 100 million holes in the greens.  Not holes that you putt to, but holes you putt over.   Every two weeks, without fail, we have "vented" greens with 1/4" diameter tines.  If you are strictly a weekend golfer, then it's possible you haven't noticed.  It takes two full days and sometimes a little bit of a third day (usually Monday, Tuesday), but the effort has paid off big time.  So far we've vented greens 9 times and are doing it for the 10th time this week.  Just thought you'd find it interesting that every two weeks we poke millions of holes in the greens.  Visit this USGA explanation for why we do this.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Heat Is On

If the summer were a round of golf I'd say we just played the front nine in even par.  Course conditions were consistent throughout the first half of summer with no big set backs and lots of good weather. Now we are about to tee off on the very difficult back nine (second half of summer).  If we can hold it together through the next 5 holes (mid August), then we have a chance to shoot a good score.  We can't claim success until the round is over, but so far so good.  The round ends just before greens aeration on September 14th and 15th.  Aeration is to the greens what the 19th hole is to golfers....a much needed breather and a chance to recover.

Parts of the golf course are showing some typical summer stresses, but in general we are happy with our position at this point of the season.  We still need some assistance from golfers if we are going to finish the season on a high note.  Parking carts with all 4 tires on the path, following the cart traffic policy, sharing carts whenever possible, and of course repairing ball marks (as many as you can without holding up play).  

Here are a some strange pictures from the past few days....

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bunkers Take Another Hit

Heavy rain is the enemy of our bunkers and a blow to morale.  We received 2.5" of rain on Saturday and we're still shoveling mud and pushing sand in bunkers.  An event like that happens a few times each year and it can demoralize a staff.  It's tough to lie in bed at night listening to the downpour when you know you'll be holding a shovel for the next 4 days.  New guys show up to work the next morning and wonder why the veterans are slumped in their chairs.  They find out why in the first half hour.  We are going to log over 130 man hours this week doing nothing but repairing bunkers.  It's a tough 130 hours.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Steamy Week

We have been about 10 degrees above normal every day for the past week.  The forecast for the next few days, including Member/Guest is for more of the same.  That's great for the zoysia fairways, but the bentgrass and golfers would be better off with milder weather.  The storm we received yesterday only made greens more prone to summer decline.  Our regular venting with 1/4" solid tines will come in handy this week as the greens will likely remain very warm and damp.  A cool down soon would be super.  We'll break the aerator out again next week for our 5th trip around the course.