Friday, January 29, 2010

Hydroseeding Native Grass Areas

As stated in previous updates one of the main projects on the golf course is the establishment of native grass areas to eliminate the need for unnecessary water, fertilizer, and chemical use, as well as enhance the golf course from an architectural standpoint . We have made significant progress with this project in spite of inclement weather during the early portion of the week. Several areas on the golf course are very distinguishable where native areas are to be, these include: holes 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9. Applying the seed involves a blue/green material called hydro-seed which is a mixture that includes water, wood fiber mulch and our native grass seed mix. Our major request at this point is that you help by not entering the newly hydro-seeded areas which are all marked by stakes and ropes. There are stakes and ropes in place around most of the areas that we have sprayed out to prepare for hydro-seed. These areas are extremely wet and muddy due to the nine inches of rain that we have gotten over the past two weeks, and consequently very slippery. We also ask for your cooperation in staying out of these areas to avoid any possible injury that may occur if you were to fall due to the wet conditions. These areas ARE NOT out-of-bounds and can be played out of if necessary. However, to enhance the success of establishment, any unnecessary walking or cart traffic should be avoided.

The installation of the irrigation system continues to make headway throughout the course. The irrigation contractor has experienced a long two weeks with poor weather conditions; however they have managed to make progress on installation of the sub-surface (drip system) around the bunkers along with tying in all the pipes that go under roads and cart paths. The subsurface irrigation on the bunkers is complete on holes 2 through 7, and they should be close to having the rest of the front nine completed by the first week of February. The next hole that they will be installing larger pipe and sprinklers on will be number 2, so we ask for your continued patience with the extra people and equipment on the golf course. Thank you all for your continued interest, understanding and support with regards to our many golf course improvement projects.

Friday, January 22, 2010

El Nino Has Arrived

Looking over the past several years of below average rainfall data, this season was shaping up to be similarly just as dry. Given the hype of “El Nino” we anticipated a wet and wild winter with plenty of rain and numerous after-storm cleanups. With the exception of the significant, yet very rare October storm that dumped nearly 6-inches of rain on the course in one day, the rainy season has not lived up to expectation…until this past week. Since Sunday afternoon, the golf course has received 5.75-inches of rainfall, with more expected throughout the early part of the weekend. While the conditions are soggy and this may seem like a lot of rain, we are still well below normal due to a drier-than-normal November and early December. We need several more inches just to break even for a normal year. Then we would need more rain on top of that, just to put a dent into the drought that has been experienced over the last three years. The course has not been playable during the majority of the week with high winds and occasional bursts of thunder and lightning and the maintenance crew has focused on removing debris from the course and cutting up large branches that fell from trees. No significant damage occurred from the onslaught of storms and no trees were lost. Several bunkers throughout the golf course washed out during the first round of heavy downpours and with more rain expected early next week, the crew will focus on mowing areas where equipment can safely access. Bunker work will begin following next week’s rain as the replacement sand will be loose and not compacted enough to withstand another shot of heavy rain. We appreciate your patience as the crew prepares the course for the best possible playing conditions and while it may be frustrating not being able to play this past week, the rain is a tremendous benefit that we need more of in the coming months.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

One of the most frequently asked questions’ concerning golf course etiquette is what to do with fairway and rough divots… Are we better off replacing the divot or just filling the scar with the sand/seed mix that's provided?

If the divot has some soil attached and hasn't been blown into a hundred pieces, it will heal quickly if it is replaced immediately. Be sure to replace the divot and step on it to establish contact with the soil below. If the divot cannot be replaced, then the sand/seed mixture should be used in the scarred area. Golfers who take the time to replace a divot properly or repair divot areas help keep the fairways in good condition for their fellow golfers.

As we head into the winter months, the divots will hold together better because of the wetter conditions. Therefore, replacing the grass divot is preferred over using the sand/seed mixture. The grass divot will not dry out as easily this time of year and will heal quicker than trying to get the seed to germinate.

It is also important to recognize how much sand/seed mix is placed in a divot area. The “more is better” approach does not work when filling divots. Divots that are over-filled become mounded then compacted. When the mowers run over the mounded divots, they become increasingly larger bare patches due to the scalping. This is more common on teeing areas and can easily be avoided by not using as much divot mix.

Overfilling divots leads to scalping

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sub-Surface Bunker Irrigation

As part of the new irrigation system we are installing subsurface irrigation to all bunkers on the golf course. This technology allows the bunker edges, noses, and surrounds to be watered more efficiently.

    Numerous features include:

1) Keeping the sand dry and thus improving playability
2) No wash outs caused from excessive overhead watering
3) Can water at any time of the day with no disruption
4) More efficient use of water as it directly impacts the root zone
5) Reduction and possible elimination of labor needed to hand water noses
6) Significant reduction in costly surfactants and chemicals applied to “hold” water in the soil
7) Eliminates the use of maintenance-intensive pop-up sprinklers around all the bunkers

This new technology will benefit the property and significantly improve bunker edges and surrounds.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Winter Golf Course Conditioning


One of the greatest challenges in golf course maintenance is creating consistent playing conditions on a daily basis. The goal of the maintenance team is to create consistent conditioning year-round and keep in mind there is much more that goes into the science of maintaining quality turfgrass other than just watering, mowing, and fertilizing. Factor in the curve balls that Mother Nature throws our way (rain in the winter, hot spells during the summer) and conditioning can change significantly from one day to the next. The winter months can be the most challenging as one might come to play on a 70-degree day only to find carts restricted to path, fairways soggy in spots, and greens that putt slower than normal. The golf course consists of a living plant and weather plays a major factor in the conditioning of the golf course. While we are mowing the greens at the same height of cut as we did during the summer, they play differently due to fluctuating weather events. You may remember that several weeks back the greens were too fast due to consecutive days of frost and afternoon wind. Those two extremes inhibit growth, dry out the putting surface and create lightening fast greens…again even if we are cutting at the same height as the summer. During the past two weeks the golf course has benefited from favorable weather conditions, causing a growth spurt especially in the grass around the greens and bunkers. There is a lot of grass out there right now, but that indicates the health of the course is optimal and the maintenance team has been working diligently to ensure the course is kept playable throughout the winter months.

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