Saturday, March 31, 2012

Taking the FarmLinks Plunge.


Superintendent Program
Described by golf course superintendents as “the most beneficial three days of the year,” The Experience at FarmLinks is the nation’s premier source for “hands-on” course maintenance information, offering an unmatched opportunity to gain firsthand insight into the latest and greatest materials and methods available to the industry. The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) has approved The Experience at FarmLinks’ programs for continuing education units through their distinguished External Education Program."

I've been invited to attend this program no fewer than three times over the course of time and as my career enters its zenth, not knowing if I'll ever get this opportunity again, I bit and will be attending this unique educational program the week of April 2-5th of this year.  The golf course is a living laboratory featuring a unique relationships built on industry partnerships and real world golf course research.

I've listened to fellow golf course superintendents describe their experiences and now I will know first hand.  I'm looking forward to seeing you after the Masters.   Go Tiger?  (but hoping  Steve Stricker takes the green jacket winning his first major!) _Mk

Friday, March 30, 2012

Concerns of Winters Past.

Do you remember reading my blog post "Concerns going into Winter" when I posted the two following pictures?


For those interested, here's two follow up photo's from the same location respectively as those taken above.


Of particular note is the fact that the ice wasn't on the surfaces long enough and or the soil dried down well enough before it refroze to cause any damage to the plant.  As you can see in the photo immediately above, the plants adjacent to the ventilation holes are the healthiest.  _Mk

Notice of Gate Closure: Monday April 2, 2012.

The North entrance gate will be closed on Monday April 2, 2012 for several hours as we investigate and make repairs to an irrigation main break.  Weather permitting.  Please use the South gate to access the club. _Mk

Stump Be Gone

With close to forty stumps to grind.  A process that would take a few weeks to accomplish as a secondary job.  We decided to up the ante and the power of the equipment used.

Five hours later we were stump free.

One of the larger stumps completely filled the bottom of  the dump truck pictured.  As of today, the area has been graded, seeded and mulched.  All this in one weeks time.  BTW:  We have over 100 stumps remaining to be ground this summer.  (So we're not out of the woods just yet!)  _Mk

To Cover or Not, that is the question?

Many golf courses cover their greens each winter before permanent snow cover to protect putting surfaces from winter ills.  Some of the benefits to covers are (but not limited to) soil temperature modification, protection from wind dessication and mitigation of damage from water and ice during the spring melt.  The downside to covers are that they are costly, require a lot of storage space and have to be installed before the ground freezes shortening the golf season by a week or two.  The Pro's and Cons of covers are too numerous to mention for this post.

When I pulled the covers from our sixteenth green I got exact opposite of what I expected.  Normally I would have seen the grass beneath the cover to be greener and a head of the portion of the green left uncovered.  In the photo below, the cover actually retarded growth!

The turf in the foreground was left uncovered and the difference in plant health is very apparent. 
This is what I know. When the covers were removed the soil beneath the cover was completely saturated and still cold.  We had difficulty removing several staples from the ground due to a soil that was still frozen.  This was in spite of the fact its been in the 70's for a couple of weeks.  Due to the heavy winter shade that exists in this location, the plant never had a chance to emerge from winter dormancy and commence growing.

With this argument, covers might not offer the benefits expected on a heavily forested golf course such as ours.  The biggest issue we find coming out of winter is the annual damage to our putting greens from water and ice.  So if I would ever invest in covers for your course, they would be the type that were impermeable to water and offered some benefit of insulation to the turf.  They would have to be large enough to completely cover the green and surrounds to the point that zero water could migrate under the cover.  _Mk

What's Wrong With This Picture?

What's wrong with this picture?

First we had one of our college age students assisting us with opening the golf course during his Spring Break.  You can tell that times are tough and the Ramen Noodle diet worse when a college student takes a pass on a trip to Cancun and calls to see if we could use help.  Pictured above is Ryan King.  Now in Ryan's defense he is "Tying the Knot," this summer and will be moving after his wedding.

Second and probably the most notable problem I have with this photo is that Ryan is wearing "Shorts!"  Its March 19th for Pete's sake.  It's going to be 80 degrees today!  We normally have snow to contend with.  This is just insane.

Enjoy your early start to the new golf season.  _Mk

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tri-City Golf Course is open!

Tri-City golf course opened for the season at noon on Wednesday March 14th on a 75 degree day of record warmth.  This was not the earliest opening as I remember opening the course on March 4th, 2002!  (This was reconfirmed by Brian Matthews as he remembered sitting at home unable to play just days after his pace maker was installed.)

We are pushing to open Bull's Eye on Friday March 16th, front nine only, walkers only at noon.  There are only three of us on the staff to do the multitude of jobs necessary to open any earlier.  Besides, we find several greens, especially #1 too wet, too soft to support play or the equipment needed to clear putting surfaces.  (Several greens at Tri-City were too wet for opening in my opinion but the need to get the cash register ringing trumps agronomic considerations in this day and age.)

Some after thoughts:

I'm generally pleased with the condition of the golf course turf coming out of Winter, if you could call it winter this year.  (Fourth warmest and third driest on record!)  Of course I thought the same last year before the true toll was realized.  Experience has taught me that we will find dead spots in low lying fairways where melting snows ponded mid January and refroze.  Sod plug samples from couple of suspect greens were brought in our make shift green house to evaluate their viability.  But by and large we look a lot better this year than last.

Golf carts will be made available at Tri-City as soon as tomorrow and slowly over the next several days as we scramble to make up for time off (furlough) this past winter.

We have asked the staff to report to work Monday March 19th.  They weren't budgeted to report until the 1st of April.  The course should be dry enough to use blowers, sweepers for some serious course cleanup.  I too was pleased on the cleanliness of the course this spring and that is said after we experienced some heavy wet snow, freezing rains and high winds.  (Knock on wood.)  Break out the Ben-Gay!  Speaking of Ben-Gay, the driving range is open from the South end (Shop end.)

Enjoy your day!  _Mk

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

To walk or ride? That is the question!

Now that the new year is here and those resolutions long forgotten, I thought you might enjoy this. It is a little exercise tittled is walking faster than riding. A test. Enjoy. Mk

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Many Thanks to the Maestro!

I want to publicly thank Peter McCormick, founder of TurfNet, a golf course superintendent based website and publication, for his redesign and upgrade of my web blog.  I think you will agree with me that it looks much better from a professional stand point.  I like the fact that it puts a name with a face as author of this blog.
  Speaking of pictures here's a picture of Peter, a friend to many superintendents from around the world!

The Maestro

Sorry Peter, I swiped your likeness from your LinkedIn page.  Hope you don't mind.  Thanks.  _Mk

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2012 Golf Industry Show

What a week, what a show!

The 2012 "Golf Industry Show" kicked off with professional golfer Peter Jacobsen receiving our association highest award, The Old Tom Morris award.  His acceptance speech was one for the ages.  And not to be out done, our conference's keynote speaker was the irascible Irishman David Feherty.  I've posted some of his talk elsewhere in this blog.

I invested a days time taking a seminar titled "Advanced Stress Management of Cool Season Turfgrasses" to see if I could gain a better understanding and handle on the severe stresses placed on our turfs the past two seasons and to see if there was anything I could do differently or missed in trying to keep your golf course alive.

This seminar ranks right up there with the best seminars I've ever taken. BTW: As the golf course is a living organism, our answer is a no brainer, we must foster growing healthy plants.  It goes without saying that healthy plants are in a better position to withstand both heat and cold stress.  It did make me feel better when I overheard another golf course superintendent telling another that he lost more golf turf this past year than he had in his entire career!  Count me in on that group.  Misery loves company, but that's not the company I care to keep.

The show was very well attended and I was able to kick and have my questions answered if I had an issue with a particular product.
I like the smaller show floor as I'm able to navigate all aisles in a single day.  One benefit to a smaller show is to find the new and unusual products.  I didn't have to go far to find our very own Dean Rasmussen, DVM hawking his latest invention on the trade show floor.
The mad scientist didn't disappoint as he debuted his green inter seeder to the world.
When I tired of being on my feet, I would stop by the Answers on the Hour booth to listen to various presentations germane to our golf course.  Here the University of Wisconsin's Turfgrass Plant Pathologist, Dr. Jim Kerns addresses the assembly on Pythium Root Rot/Dysfunction, a problem we had on putting greens last summer.
One a personal highlight of the show was my participation in a mock employment interview of an assistant golf course superintendent looking for his first golf course superintendents job to offer constructive critisim.  Akoni Ganir hails from a private club I've never heard of (tongue firmly in cheek)before....Cypress Point!  I think it's only right to head out to the Monterrey Peninsula for a personal course tour with clubs in hand to personally evaluate his work up close first hand.

The show wasn't without the unusual as vendors pave the way to bring more women and families to the game.
I think this would look good on our first tee.  _Mk

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

David Feherty at the 2012 Golf Industry Show.

If you like the color commentary of Mr. David Feherty then you'll enjoy his address to a standing room audience of Golf Course Superintendents, Golf Course Owners, Golf Course Builders and Architect's at the 2012 Golf Industry Show.

David Feherty from GCSAA TV on Vimeo.

The Golf Course Superintendent

I stumbled across this photo on Facebook and thought it was a hoot. I cannot give credit its creator, but will when I locate the source. I know it has gone viral in my circles and thought I would share it with you. Please enjoy. Mk

What do I do in the Winter. Please enjoy.

Many thanks to GCSAA TV, Epic of Wisconsin and my friend Mike Lees for sharing this video clip with you. Mk