Friday, May 27, 2011

Spooky Reminders

Several pieces of debris from last Sunday's tornado were found scattered about the course.  Splinters of wood had to be removed from greens before mowing.  The twisters path was a mere 6.3 miles south of the course.  Thankfully the golf course was spared 60-70 mph winds this time around.

Speaking of reminders, greens will be aerified on Monday June 5th and Tuesday June 6th weather permitting.  Wednesday June 8th will serve as a rain date.  Although we plan on keeping nine holes open for play each day, you might consider using the several reciprocal courses available to you.  _Mk

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saving $$$$$

This year we've turned to "contour mowing" of fairways to save on fuel costs.  (Not my favorite pattern.  See blog background photo.)  Your greens and grounds staff talked me out the "shadow cut"  (half light/half dark) do to the stress it places on approaches and fairway starts.  (Too much wheel damage caused when turning.)  Also, there was too much travel time spent traveling long distances just to pick up a five foot section here and there when completing a fairway section.

In watching your dues dollar, we are saving three hours per week in fuel costs.  While not a great sum, a hundred dollars here and a hundred dollars there adds up over time.

And speaking of saving budget dollars, we've held rough mowing to once per week during this golf season.   (Of course our cold spring temperatures have depressed turfgrass growth year to date.) We've set out intent on accomplishing this feat since 2007 but have buckled under golfers complaint of slow play, lost balls and difficulty hitting from this turf condition.  Savings here adds up into the thousands.  We'll see how long this lasts.

Finally, speaking of savings, your equipment manager Tim Johnson decided against replacing an air cushioned seat compressor, the size of two "D" cell batteries costing over $1,000 with that of a manual air induction air valve system that we'll have to monitor manually.   Trust me, if you didn't have back troubles before, come out and try mowing for eight hours seated on this unforgiving brick and tell me if you think that this seat wasn't a good idea in the first place. (If turf equipment manufacturers cannot sell their new products, they make up margins through selling parts to captive markets of loyal owners needing those parts to keep their aging turfgrass fleet alive.)  With fuel prices over $4/ gallon, we will be saving the "Green Section budget 14.6 hours per week in mowing cost. _Mk

Old New's

By now you have noticed that fairway aerification has been completed.  Just for the record, we managed to knock off 20 Acres of fairway turf in just two days.  We barrowed two GA-60's from Lake Arrowhead that allowed us to pull off this feat.  In the past with fewer machines we would have been luck to do this work in four days.  I swear if I had one or two more dragmats, workman to pull them and operators to drive them AND if it wasn't Friday, I believe I could have knocked off the 20 acres in one day. The only downfall was the soggy seventeenth fairway and rainfall that prevented complete core cleanup there.  This fairway needs to be rebuilt at a considerable capital cost.

Speaking of drainage, I called in a contractor to "Hydroblast" the drainage line that connects the drainage from little lake on #11.  What we found was a break in the drain tile on #16.  This line was "cut" in 1994 during the irrigation system istallation!  It took several rainy months for the problem to literally surface.  I'll write more about this when the area finally dries up and allows us to move in to correct and repair the drain line.

I spent Monday and Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada assisting the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) planning the 2012 Golf Industry Show by serving on the Conference Logistics Committee.  I know, I know, it was a dirty thankless job, but someone had to do it.  BTW, didn't gamble so I didn't lose any money either, but did drop significant money on a fancy night out on the town.  Took in the show "The Blue Man Group" which was awesome.  I'll never be able to look at white PVC irrigation pipe the same way again with out the urge to "beat on it" with a stick! _Mk

Happy Birthday!

In a good news announcement from the green section, Assistant Golf Course Superintendent Steven Crubel's wife Bri' gave birth to a healthy baby boy early morning Friday May 20th. Mason Crubel will be joining his big sister Lily at home in the days to come.  Steve was given both Friday and Saturday off so I don't have statistics to share.  Both mom and baby are doing well.  It's funny but Steve told me that Bri' informed her boss that Friday would be her last day at work as she intended to start her maternity leave.  Talk about mothers intuition!

Please congratulate Steve when you see him about the golf course. _Mk

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Get your Crabgrass Controls down NOW!

Forsythia flowers haven't faded yet from the plant and our soil temperatures finally reached the 50 degree mark.  Take advantage of this weeks thunderstorms and rains to activate the product to form the weed barrier you need to prevent crabgrass germination.  Read the label and only apply the product to the areas that you noted crabgrass in the past.  _Mk

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Coyote Ugly?

Due to cold temperatures and a lack of play (Human intervention) we discovered two fresh dens under construction on the golf course.  At first glance we felt we had a Red Fox on our hands, but to see the size of the paw prints this varmint could very well be a Coyote.

We first back filled the entrance and placed a pallet to see if anyone was still living inside.

We placed a large pallet over the den's entrance in an attempt to frustrate and aggravate the animal into seeking new shelter.

This is one of two bunkers burrowed into on the course.

It's a good thing the irrigation system wasn't up an running!  Now go bay at the moon.....where you have more privacy than our golf course.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fairway Aerification Notification:

The fairway aerifier is scheduled to be delivered on Tuesday May 3rd. Delivery time and weather is uncertain as of today so I cannot predict when we’ll start the process. As this machine is not ours and is shared with other courses in Wisconsin and Illinois our time using it is very limited. The upside is we get to use on of the best aerifiers on the market. With that said the downside is we have to “use it” when it is here in our hands.

It typically takes about thirty six hours to complete both aerification and clean up. We will limit the amount of work completed on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of each week, but anticipate a massive assault starting Monday May 9th.

Aerification is highly weather dependant and will not be initiated if there is rain on the horizon. (Clean up turns the cores to mud.) I once had a member why we only aerify on “nice” days? Flabbergasted my only reply was a question, “would you paint a house in the rain?”

We’ll make it as quick and complete as possible weather permitting. Please plan your play accordingly and take advantage of reciprocal courses if need be. Holes will be taken out of play where the aerification machines are working but I would ask that you keep power carts off aerification cores.  Please keep carts in the rough only on the holes budding aerification cores.  Please employ the 90 degree rule if needed.

Why do we aerify? Primarily for two reasons both compaction relief and thatch removal. The list of primary benefits is well over a dozen long and much more technical in nature than what you care to read in this blog. 

With that said, we will be taking advantage of the open pores to interseed winter damage area's were ponded snow melt water stood.

Winter injury Update-Putting Surfaces

Putting surfaces of greens injured this past winter were "interseeded" on Monday May 2nd; a date that seems particularly late by my calendar.  This was created by the persistent winter weather pattern we have been locked into.  (La Nina.)

Small tined aerifiers set a close spacings and a shallow depth were used to create a warm moist chamber for the seedlings to grow.

Recovery has been slowed greatly by the cold soil temperatures consistently in the low to mid 40's.  Some area looked poised for full recovery soon faded as energy reserves found above the severed crown were used up.  Once these area's were identified our interseeding plans were put into action.

Hopefully things will "pop" with warmer temperatures and warm rains.  Not the cold icy stuff we received most of April.  Greens heights of cut will remain slightly higher to give the new growth a chance to establish.
Also, the closer we get to summer, the less invasive we will be in our interseeding as we move to spikers to create our seed bed slits.

A former greens chairman reminded me that most Bentgrass doesn't really grow until June, I'd like to see a lot of recovery long before then.