Thursday, May 14, 2015

Second Chance at Living

Not many here at the club probably new this, but my past Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, Brian Matthews underwent heart transplant surgery in February and is now home recuperating.  Brian checked himself into the Mayo Clinic sometime before Christmas with only two ways of coming home, with a new heart or the back of hearse.  There were several things I learned in the process, but the one thing I never thought of was that of a persons height.  Brian stands 6'7" tall.  His donor had to be a person taller than 6' in order to be strong enough to pump blood to that height.

The crew welcomed him back with small picnic lunch on May 6th.

Brian was presented generous check of $10,000, a gift from the Wee One Foundation to cover some of the unexpected expenses not covered by Medical Insurance.  Brian hopes to return mowing fairways in mid August.  _Mk

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

White Christmas?

Originally this blog post was meant to raise alarms about the potential for a truly devastating winter kill possibility.  Highs in the upper 40's melted a lot of snow in a very short period of time creating ponds of water in low lying areas over frozen soils just about everywhere I looked.  The typical Snow - thaw - refreeze is very hard on turf as we have witnessed over the years.  Add free standing water into the mix and you have a perfect receipt for a turf disaster come spring.  

This is what the golf course looked like on Monday December 22, 2014.  Gone are the frozen ponds of water that stood everywhere after the .65" inches of rain that melted the 8" of snow that fell in November.  (That rain would have yielded 13" of snow for the faint of heart.)

 This was the only patch of snow found on any putting surface.  I was temped to break it up and remove it but with 99.9% of the golf course free of snow it will serve as my test plot.  If this grass is the only grass alive next spring, we're in big trouble.  If that's the only grass damaged I will be a happy man if that is the only area I have to regrass next spring.  Pales in comparison to the acres of turf we've had to regrass in winters aftermath of years past.  Annual Bluegrass doesn't care that the calendar says it's the first day of winter, all it knows is the temperature is above forty, time to wake up and start growing.  If plants break dormancy then refreezes death is the likely outcome.

Snow mold is very active in unsprayed turfed areas around the course.  With all the moisture and open ground, chemical degradation of plant protectants is a real concern.  We used a three way blend of products to mitigate this possibility to some extent but Dr. Paul Koch's research at the OJ Noer Center at the University of Wisconsin has predicted half life's of several snow mold chemicals. He found chemicals degraded under snow cover but much faster when exposed to full sun.  Warm temperatures and moisture hastened the process.  Your annual donation to the Wisconsin Turfgrass Association helped Dr. Paul conduct his research.  We've always used his research as base for our snow mold control measures.

No sense losing your head in worry over winter, it's beyond our control as El Nino is in place.  But what I can do is to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope everyone enjoys a blessed and healthy "Happy New Year!" _Mk

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Thanks to your Equipment Manager Tim Johnson for sharing a "Pumpkin Feast" Original.  For those who don't know, Tim and his wife Ginny were co-founders of the Nekoosa Pumpkin Feast now in its seventeenth year.  _Mk

Tin Cup?

"I can make this shot, hand me another ball!"

C'mon Man!  Look at the size of those Pelts!  This scene was found on #16 fairway and no we did not have a scramble!  This not only looks bad, but the divots are hard on the reels!  _mk

Help Wanted-Part Two

This is getting ridiculous.  Almost three weeks in the making. Jockey pump constantly recycling and when it cannot keep up a large pump kicks on creating the spikes seen in the picture above.  Impatiently waiting for the water to show itself or wishing for major system "blow" out just so we could potentially get to the root of our problem is getting old.

The short bar graph seen on the left happened with a repair made to an obvious small leak for the club house feed just off in the ninth rough.  Frustrated, I knew our leak had yet to be found.

I had only one more card to play.  For the past couple of weeks, I noticed the water level in the pond was above the painted hazard lines in places.  This would be expected with all our recent rains but this was unusually full in my mind.  There was only on more thing to try, take the mothballed #8 pump house offline.  This also shuts off the water to the entire eight hole.  Eureka we found it! Notice the almost straight line with little pressure loss.  That's a normal graph of system irrigation water pressure.  Very few pump starts per hour.  Water is bypassing both the pump check valve and inlet pipe foot valve and slowly filling the pond.  This pump house was constructed in 1964 and hasn't been used since 1982.  That makes those fittings 50 years old!  Thank God!  Now I don't have to worry that the leak is under the parking lot! _Mk 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Help Wanted

Your help is needed.  There is a major irrigation leak on your course that hasn't surfaced.  We've been hunting for this break for over a week.  Please inform the golf shop or grounds crew personnel if you see water bubbling to the surface during your round.  Leaks of this magnitude are generally found in a matter of days.  Hampering our search is Mother Nature's 15 inches of rain over the past couple of weeks leaving puddles of standing water everywhere.  The large pressure surges to 140 PSI required turning the pumps off.  Our troubles began after power was lost during the thunderstorm that knocked out power to the community.  Without back pressure in the irrigation system when power returned all pumps fired creating a large water hammer situation.  To date we have repaired one six in main break and a broken tee on the Tri City course but have yet to discover the break here at Bull's Eye. Let us know if you see anything suspicious.  Thanks.  _Mk

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On Course Updates- August 2014.

The "Crows Nest" adjacent to the first tee has been rebuilt.  The patio surface and retaining wall had settled overtime due to the continued decay of the original pressure treated retaining wall buried beneath it. The "BECC" lettering, an adornment that few noticed, had cracked to the point it could no longer be used and was eliminated from this design.  It amazes me how the removal of a mere four letters required the purchase of many more blocks than four to fill in the lobes.  The twenty plus year old blocks used in the original design build were obsolete and could not be found to fill in the concentric rings of the design.  This is the third time we've rebuilt this feature and each time we've added a new twist to eliminate settling.  Time will tell.  I think it looks great!  Thanks men!

The shortest regulation length golf course in Wisconsin is about to get a little shorter. (Editors Note: I was once told of this fact from Gene Haas, retired Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Golf Association. I do not know if it is still valid.) Construction of the first of five forward tee boxes at Tri-City has started.  The work will be done in house using materials already stock piled.  Soils on site will be recycled to create the mounding.  Recycled and composted aerification cores will serve as top mix.  Tee boxes were located between sprinklers so no additional irrigation heads, piping or wire needs to be installed.  While not architecturally correct, tee boxes are being built directly in front of the original tee boxes to save on irrigation costs.  The only costs for construction will be for the seed and starter fertilizer and labor.  While not a planned part of PGA's "Tee it Forward" initiative, should the shorter tee's keep a graying population of players playing, it will be worth the work at any cost. _Mk.