Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lighting it Up!

The 6th-7th-8th corridor of Pasatiempo is a stretch of the golf course that is nothing to brag about.  From an architectural standpoint, the trees that line this area of the golf course completely ruin the intended architecture.  The 7th hole is a short par-4 but the tee shot is visually intimidating as a long line of massive cypress trees create a tunnel vision effect in ones mind.  For several years, most tree work in this area has been delayed or pushed back.  However, the aging trees have created a significant shade issue and a potential safety issue with many broken limbs.  From a playability standpoint, the low hanging limbs were impacting golf shots and making the short par-4 play much more difficult.  During the week of November 14th, the golf course was closed due to aeration of greens, tees, and fairways.  It also was an opportune time to complete a massive trimming project in this area without having players to work around.  24-cypress trees were limb up 50-feet and the lateral growth was removed.  This has dramatically changed the view from the tee, the overall playability of the 6th and 7th holes, and has substantially increased the amount of sunlight affecting the 8th green along with the fairways in this area.  No trees were removed during this phase of the project, but there is the possibility of taking some trees out in the future to really improve this area of the golf course.
View from the 7th tee prior to the beginning of the tree work.  Notice the amount of the shade impacting this area along with the "tunnel vision" effect.

The 8th green complex with shade covering the green.  Once the tree work is done, the goal is to dramatically increase the amount of sunlight affecting this green.

Late afternoon view of the tree work that has eliminated a "wall" of green and will allow much needed sunlight to hit the 8th green during the winter months. 

Day two of the thinning and trimming process.  Notice the two trees on the right side that were not done.  More sunlight...more air movement...better turfgrass and better playability.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

They're Baaaaack !!

Hard to believe that it was over a year ago that a herd of goats arrived at Pasatiempo.  Their goal was to restore the rugged look among the canyons traversing throughout the golf course.  Throughout the past year, we had an extended rain period that saw more rain fall in June than in January.  This allowed substantial regrowth in the 10th tee canyon along with the 18th canyon.  Beginning on October 25th, this 5-acre area will be hit again with half the crew we used last year - about 75 goats and the timeframe will consist of about two weeks.  The other barancas that the goats wandered through last year did not experience such strong regrowth and we will evaluate following the rainy season if they will need to be brought back again during the fall of 2012.

View from the 10th Tee prior to the Goats in September 2010

View from the 10th Tee following 2-weeks of having the goats eradicate the non-native species

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

5 Years in the Making

View of the 9th Green Complex during Spring 2009 with landscaping behind MacKenzie Clubhouse

View of the 9th Green prior to installation of new bunker

An original pair of bunkers rested behind the 9th green when MacKenzie designed the golf course back in the 1920's.  Over the years these bunkers were filled in and the area was landscaped.  Additionally, a cartpath directing players to the 10th tee eliminated the furthest left side bunker.  During the renovation of the golf course in the 2000s, these original bunkers were supposed to be put back to match the original design.  There was no way to eliminate the cartpath to add a bunker and the club elected not to remove the necessary landscaping for the other bunker to be built.  In the winter of 2009 the maintenance staff took out all the overgrown landscaping below the clubhouse and converted this area to native grasses.  Jim Urbina, who has been instrumental throughout the restoration process came on-site on September 12th and carved out a new bunker on the back left side of the green complex.  MacKenzie's vision was to alter the depth perception from a player's approach shot from the 9th fairway.

Current view of 9th Green Complex with the addition of new bunker

Friday, August 19, 2011

Venting Greens

Wednesday we "vented" the greens, which is another way of saying we used a small solid tine aerification to give the greens a little mid-summer breather. At this point in the season our native soil push-up greens tend to get a little "tired" and stressed with the drought season in combination with all of the traffic they receive. By venting the greens we are able to provide much needed oxygen to the root zone which makes the grass plant healthier, while minimizing the impact on the putting conditions. The process included sand top dressing, solid tine arefication with 1/4" tines, brushing, rolling, and watering in that order. When we were finished with a green you could barely tell anything had been done.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Irrigation Adjustments

We are now just over a year removed from the completion of a completely new irrigation system. We've made it through most of the major "tweaking" that goes along with the installation of a new system, which allows us to get much more detailed in the adjustments that we are making. Starting tomorrow we will be taking the makeshift tool shown in the picture above and begin measuring the degree arc of every part circle sprinkler head on the golf course, and then inputting those numbers into our central irrigation database.

Having more accurate data in the computer instead of just labeling every head as 180 degrees will give us the ability to know to a much greater extent how much water is actually going out on the course. It will also help us maintain much better irrigation uniformity, especially on and around the greens, creating more consistency throughout the course.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Rain and drizzle during a very rare early June storm

June has been a very odd month in terms of weather.  We are accustomed to the extraordinary micro-climates in the Bay Area where it is 58-degrees at the coast and scorching to well over 100-degrees a few miles inland.  Typically, the golf course falls in the middle of the two extremes, making it one of the most desirable climates in the world with 70-degree weather dominating the forecast.  However, turfgrass likes consistency and when it goes from rainy at the beginning of hot...back to cool and foggy, the grass doesn't know if summer is coming or going.  It is rare to receive rain during the month of June.  You have to go back to 1964 to see the last significant rain event for June...after that the last time this area recorded over 2-inches of rain in June was back in 1884!

This random, inconsistent weather can create undesirable response in turfgrass.  For instance, earlier in June the green surfaces were eliciting extreme seedhead production.  As we approach the end of June, the greens are fairly "clean" following the application of a product that stops seedhead production.  The annual poa will develop seedheads as a stress response, especially if it has been cool, then a spike in heat.  The seedheads most often affects the late-afternoon players as the "puffing up" of the poa can create bumpy greens and green speeds that are slower than desired.

While we do not experience many of the summer weather extremes as other parts of the country, we still have issues and the most recent forecast has rain expected on the 28th or 29th of June, officially allowing us to rename this month as Junuary.    

Intense seedhead production on the 18th green in early June prior to an application of Proxy / Primo

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