Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Course Update

As of today we still have a substantial amount of snow on the ground as you can see in the picture. Currently we are doing a small drain line tie in that is located in area that the snow has already melted. It is very difficult at times to work but we are always looking for a clearing to accomplish some of our goals. With the lack of space in the shop for shovels and rakes we decided to build a few walls which will allow us to facilitate a better working design. Really what this means is making things a little easier to get to. One of my biggest concerns is not being able to access things on a more manageable level, by shifting things around we develop a better working environment for my staff as well as limiting the time it takes to retrieve there tools. We hope to be organized in the next week.  Also we have installed a high energy efficient radiant heater for the main shop. As of now we are awaiting a few key parts but should be up and running by the first of the year. One last thing, the new wall will have one important aspect, a safety center. I am actually really excited about this because my top concern is that we have a safe working environment. So please stay tuned!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Course Update

It looks like the snow season is arriving. Today we had a light covering but unfortunately stayed around and we were not able to open. This to hurts our productivity on the golf course. So we had to switch gears and do some shop improvements as well as preventative maintenance on our equipment. My shop mechanics were busy building an attachment to mount our small snow plow on one of our tractors. This past year we parted ways with a piece of equipment that the plow was mounted to. Rather than waist the plow they came up with the idea of mounting it to a tractor. The great thing about this is we had spare parts to fabricate this and cost very little, as you can see in the picture. The rest of the staff was busy this week creating an outdoor secure storage area so we can free up more space in the shop. We have a few more things to finish but it really turned out well, You may have notice the canopy structure actually was in the pool area this past summer. We rarely throw things away because there are instances such as this that we can re-use them.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Golf Course Update

It is official, Its cold outside! The top dressing program is moving along as planned we have completed the back 9 and we are currently on #9 fairway.  We are in the time frame now that it takes longer to get things done because of the extended frost delays.  In the photo to the right is a before picture. You can see the forced drain installed by using the pavers. This drain also dumped into the bunker drainage clogging the internal drainage. What we did was relocate the drain on the path and diverted it into a fairway drain properly. The second photo is the completed section and all that is left to do is tie in the rough with the new curb. A note on the bunker status for the winter. Because we are now experiencing temperatures below freezing the bunkers are
also freezing as well. This does not allow us to rake them
in the mornings, so they will play extremely hard until thawed out. I ordered another truck of bentgrass sod to continue removing the bermuda in the fairways. The fairways that we concentrated on were #3 and #11 and continuing on to #7 next week. But for now we want to get as much done before any kind of major snow storm hits delaying our winter projects.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fairway Top Dressing

Here are a few photos of the top dressing program that we do for the fairways. Once the sand is dry we drag in to fill the holes from the aerifier. Currently working backwards with 18 - 15 complete.

Monday, November 8, 2010

#6 Drain Relocation

In the photo to the right you can see that we have completed the tree installation on the drive way. As for our next project we are relocating a drain that was installed in the wrong manner. What has happened is the drain out fall some how was connected to the bunker drain line. We have always wondered why these bunkers continue to be slow drainers and this was our problem. Because the drain was on the path any kind of debris was passing through the grate and clogging the drain lines inside the bunker.  We have decided to by pass the bunker and take it all the way across the fairway and tie-in into a main drain.  This will keep any unwanted water and debris from compromising the bunker drainage. Once we have relocated the basin we also plan to install a rolled curb around the area. There by doing away with the paver's, this will make for a functional as well as aesthetically pleasing to the eye. As we move into the winter months our annual top dressing program for the fairways will commence tomorrow, starting on #18 and working our way backwards to one. Once complete we start again for the second application. If all goes well and we do not see 6 feet of snow, the goal is to have this done by March 1st. I will have photos of this process in a couple of days.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


The past week we have started to get into frost delays. When we have frost on the turf grass, this is giving us a sign that the water inside the cell tissues is frozen. Once frozen the ice crystals can  puncture the cell walls there fore destroying the plant tissue. Once penetrated the tissue can no longer function or repair itself.  There are a number of factors that can influence frost as well as decrease the chances, If the temperatures range in the high thirties and the skies are clears the odds are very good. But if we have those same conditions and there are clouds in the sky the odds are leaning towards no frost because the clouds tend to trap a little heat in. Just enough to keep it from frosting over. I wish I could be more exact on when play might be ready to go off but there are just to many variables that we need to evaluate. Not only is it frustrating for the golfer but for the maintenance staff as well, because we are not able to perform our work.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Greens Compaction Relief

Today we are needle tining the greens. Because we receive a high amount of play the rate of compaction is very high. By opening them up we allow for water and air exchange. Which in-turn allows oxygen into the profile helping us to grow deeper roots. They will be rolled out and will be hard to tell in a few days that we have lightly disrupted the surface.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Course Update

By now the leaves are falling and the weather is getting colder, a sign to a close of a good year.  Here is a small run down of the year;  The winter was a record setting event that never gave us a break with an accumulation of over six feet of snow. Once the snow melted we were forced to condense our work load at an unbelievable pace to reach some of our goals pertaining to projects. Though we did not achieve a lot of them we really tried our best. The spring was no surprise either as the warm temperatures quickly developed leading us to one of the hottest summers on record. With over fifty days above the 90's and a handful in the 100's the golf course should its weak spots. There were days that we just physically could not keep up. I can honestly say that in this job you learn something new every year and how to handle certain situations.  This was a year that we ( golf course's ) had some kind of issue, maybe it was not severe as others had but none the less there was always something going on. We really fared well and learned a lot of the strengths and weakness of our very own course. I plan on building the strengths as well as gaining on the weaknesses so when this does happen again we will be prepared. Really what it comes down to is not losing sight of your agronomic practices such as aerification for the greens. Ultimately this is a very good reason why we disrupt things temporarily so we can defend ourselves when the hot, wet  and humid weather arrives. I thank you for being patient with us as we always will and continue to make the golf course a special place to play. 

You may have noticed that we are changing somethings as you drive into the club. Near the tennis courts we had some cedar trees that were just not doing well in that environment.  What we plan to do next week is line that part of the drive way with Zelkova's that match the other side (parking lot side). Once mature the drive will be lined with trees that hang over kind of giving a since of magnolia lane.  Of course that will take time but will make for a great drive into the club.  

On number six green complex we brought out the covers for the rough that wraps around the bunker. As usual that area receives a lot of traffic. We have seeded this area and the covers provide a rapid germination process by keeping the ground moist and holding in the warmer temperatures as we get into some frosty nights. I anticipate it being covered for 10 days and should get a full stand of grass in the bare areas. 

Please bare with us on the leaves, we are constantly making our rounds, most trees still have 80% left to go. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Here is the New 16th Ladies Tee Complete

Here is the new ladies tee completed. It will not open until next year so that the sod will be rooted in and the surface becomes smoother. You may have noticed a lot of sand on the cart paths. The reason is we are top dressing the rough especially high traffic areas. We will blow the paths off once it becomes a little dryer. Another question I would like to answer is why do we have a cover on #8 rough. Since we are getting late into the seeding time frame we covered this area to keep the area moist and trap the heat in to further accelerate the germination process. Once we have a good stand we will remove this as soon as possible.  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

16 Tee

The new Tee on 16 is going very well. We have completed the drainage in side the tee and have started to add the sand. Adding sand is a tedious process, every time you add you need to tamp. We want to make sure that we will have no settling once completed. Once we have finished adding the sand we then work on getting the right pitch of the surface to shed access water and then we will be ready to sod hopefully by next week. We are officially getting in to project mode and soon will be chasing leaves on the golf course. Some projects that we have completed is the new sod around the greens in locations that was being over run by Bermuda such as #4, #11, #18. Also on #3 fairway we took an arc out of the clean-up pass in the fairway, actually widening in this area. The reason is because it was such a tight corner for our fairway mowers to make we were losing grass in this area. This should solve the problem. But as we have already received over an 1 
inch of rain some projects such as the Tee will be put on hold until 
we can dry out. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Course Update

These are the days that I really enjoy, no I am not talking about the weather but the amount of work that we can accomplish. It seems that for the past three weeks it has rained on Monday making my plans for the week turn upside down. But not today! The greens were verti-cut and top dressed. We do this so that they will put smooth as well as incorporate sand into the profile to make them firm. The sand should disappear in a few days.  The continuing saga of sod was also accomplished on number 1 cart path edge and will move on to other areas of concern. The next big task is fertilizing the rough, things are going really well and will have the front 9 completed today and will finish up the back nine tomorrow. We are seeding the intermediate! This makes for a good color transition as well as gain some grass in the areas that were contaminated with Bermuda. If the weather holds true this week we should see germination this weekend.  As for future immediate plans, install drainage and add sand on the new ladies tee on number 16, with the hopes of sodding this week and top dress the rough.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October Golf Course Update

The past few days we have seen large amounts of rain that total over 7 inches. The golf course faired well with excluding the bunkers. Currently we have a few more holes to go but will be done by Saturday Morning, if not Friday afternoon.  You may have noticed some construction activities going around the 18th green as well as near the pump house in the native area. The City of Rockville has permanently removed a valve off of our property and we have abandoned the club house water line that runs under the 18th green. It seems a few years back there was a rupture behind the green and by abandoning the line we will not risk another rupture which could jeopardize the green itself incurring thousands of dollars to fix. As shown below. The second picture is the relocation of our domestic water source and we hope to have this completed on Monday.

We have made little progress on the new red tee on the 16th hole, we plan to be complete by November 1st but rather will open starting opening day of next year. This morning we pushed to seed more of the rough i.e. #17 rough. Although unsightly this is what we want for a good seed to soil contact. With many projects coming our way we will work hard as to not impact your round of golf. So thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Golf Course Update

As I am writing this it seems that we are not done with the temperatures being in the 90's. The next few days will be hot and humid but by the weekend we should be getting back to average temperatures. Just a few things to update you on. The seeding process is going well we currently have seeded 11,18 and 1-5. We opted to suspend this until next week because of the high temperatures expected. Until then we are concentrating on keep the seed moist but not to wet. You may have noticed number 3 fairway, and ask your self what are we doing? We wanted to reshape the front to give a better look as well as use the sod for number one fairway. This area has been seeded and will be ready in a few weeks.
One project we have started has to do with the tee placement located on #16. Because the red tees are pushed back it makes it very hard for some of our golfers to actually reach the creek and then another challenge getting over the creek in a respectable amount of strokes. To combat this problem we are building a new tee located approximately 40 yards closer to the fairway. So please look for this to be completed in the next few weeks as well. One last thing I would like to comment on is how we enter and exit the bunker. There seems to be more of entering from the high sides lately which is causing a collapse of the bunker edge. The proper way to enter and exit  is at the lowest part of the bunker. We are repairing these this week and you will notice a support band that will hold the new sod in place until it roots properly.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Now the real work begins!

This week we are now cutting out the dead grass and will prepare to sod on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rough Seeding

We are now in the time of year when we start seeding the rough. With the loss of poa because of the heat and Bermuda that we have been spraying we will seed back into these areas to get a uniform and consistent rough. You also may have noticed the Bermuda on #1 has been sprayed as well as on #2. Shown in the top photo. Starting this Monday I plan on cutting out the dead grass and re-sodding next week. The seeding process is very time consuming but we will work as diligently as possible to complete the task. Concerning the intermediate around the fairways and greens we will use the month of September to clean them up and seed by October 1st.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mysterious Blue Pipe

What is the mysterious blue pipe? The City of Rockville is installing a transfer water line that will be laid across the short game and cross over the drive way where it will be connected to the nearest fire hydrant.Once connected there it will tie into our vault giving us a water source.

What is the reason behind all of this?
               The City will be performing work on the main transmission line that runs through the club property.  With the recent events (breaks) concerning the water main across the city they need to inspect the overall integrity of the line. When they do this the water will be off leaving us with no water. This is the reason for the transfer line so that we will still be connected just at a different location. There is not a time line for how long it will be here but if everything goes well then just a few weeks. While the line is dry the club will also be able to perform some modifications to our incoming water line that ties into our vault behind the 18th green.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What are all the brown spots in the Rough and Intermediate?

This is a question that I know will get asked so I here I will explain. When the course was built there was some Bermuda that was either left, uncovered or carried in and they have really made themselves evident because of the extreme heat that they do so love. It is a very vigorous weed here and can balloon into a bigger spot before you can realize what happened. There is no chemical on the market that has a 100% control but there is a way to selectively keep it at bay and in the best cases actually decrease the size over time. I do not think we will ever completely get rid of this but with do diligence we should have less and less each year. Unfortunately this year the Bermuda has been winning in some areas. But we will not give up with out a fight. So we are spraying these areas that will turn the foliage brown and eventually wither away. This by no means will eradicate it but will weaken it going into winter which it has to fight to stay alive. So you will notice these area in the rough and intermediate for a while until we are ready to seed back into with the grasses that we prefer. As for the areas in the fairways we are going to round-up, as soon as we feel there is decent control we will replace with bent grass sod. Once again you will notice these areas in the fairways but we feel over time this will be our best option. If we choose to not do anything we could eventually end up with Bermuda fairways. These picture were taken in the rough and intermediate.

Golfer Etiquette

I am always on the hunt for helpful articles explaining how we can improve our day to day conditions. In this article there are tips on taking care of the course. The Do's and Dont's of raking bunkers, filling divots and fixing ball marks. Please see the link:An Appeal for the Return of Golf Course Etiquette by JAMES FRANCIS MOORE

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Greens Update

The greens are healing very nicely and when the weekend rolls around they should be getting close to fully recovering from the Aerification.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Aerification Update:

Golf Course Update: August 18, 2010 9:30am

On Monday we successfully aerified all 21 greens and applied the required amendments. The rough and fairway aerification has also begun and is going according to plan. That afternoon we had an equipment failure on our deep tine machine for the fairways and will be waiting for the part to arrive. Till then that part of the program will be put on hold. Tuesday we started aerifing tees and ended for the day on number 11.  We are making good progress in the rough and have completed 1-7.  Because of the Extreme heat on Tuesday we were not able to top dress the greens as planned. By holding off we did not risk bruising the greens; this will be put on hold for Wednesday and also included finishing the tee aerification. The weather forecast for Wednesday was a 60% chance of rain and now has turned into 100% with an accumulation of 5.1 inches so far. Therefore I will not be able to accomplish our goals for the day. On Thursday there will be limitations on what I can accomplish, but the primary concern is draining and repairing bunkers. Hopefully by noon on Thursday we will be able to top dress greens, this will be determined on how well everything drains. Because of the ground being saturated we cannot pull a core and will have to wait on tees and continue when conditions improve. The golf course will still be open resuming regular hours on Thursday with a full cart path rule in effect. I would hope to have greens finished by Friday for the weekend and continue everything else on a trial run if the weather cooperates.

Thank you for your understanding as we are competing once again with Mother Nature.

Phil Desbrow, Golf Course Manager

Friday, August 13, 2010

Golf Course Update

The past few days we have experienced a tremendous amount of rain and winds gusting up to 60 mph. This time around we were very fortunate not to incur much damage to the golf course. There are some mulch beds washed out and a few limbs in the rough. The biggest problem we have is the severe damage the bunkers experienced. Bunkers are designed to drain well but when we receive almost 2 inches in one hour they just can not handle that amount of rain. So we have severe wash outs and sediment that collected at the bottoms. We are  working feverishly to repair them as soon as possible. So thank you for your patience. The total amount we have received in a 24 hour period is roughly 3 inches.

Aerification: A breath of fresh air

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cart and Foot Traffic

Also I have a very informative video on why the turf grass starts to decline in the extreme heat:
Please also see the link:Why does turf die in the summer?

And one last thing, this was published in the Wall Street Journal, explaining the extreme heat in the mid-atlantic area and across the nation.The Ugly Summer of 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Golf Course Course Update

First off I know that it has been a while since my last post but this summer has exhausted everyone on my staff when it comes to dealing with the weather. Wow, what a summer! We have been thrown every curve ball you can imagine and have for the most part dealt with each and every challenge head on. We have really discovered how bad the air flow is on a few greens and have been desperately trying to get air to these locations by either trimming trees or placing a blower on the green. It is all about water management in these locations and with the past thunderstorms we have not been able to dry the greens down as I would like them to be. Just a quick piece of information on why we keep them dry, when there is excessive moisture in the profile heat transfer is at a rapid pace which increases the soil temperature. I have gotten readings well in to the 90's and when that happens roots die back causing the plant to loose its over all health. There by leaving feeder roots at the surface where it can dry out quickly and the plant begins to wilt at a rapid pace. There fore we have been cooling off the greens on these hot days as well as treading lightly when it comes to mowing and rolling them. The more mechanical stress we put them under the faster they will decline. So speeds have been slower which  is a necessary thing we have to do.
 Here are a few pictures, note then one on the left, this is the same picture that is our website picture. The one on the left was taken today and the main picture above was taken in the spring.

This next week we will be embarking on our second aerification for the year. On August 16-18 the course will be closed. The Driving range will be closed on Monday August 16 and will re-open for normal operating hours on Tuesday August 17 at 1pm.

Also at this point in time we have been aggressively taking actions to control the Bermuda in the roughs and the intermediate. You will notice areas that will be slightly off color and thin. This is what we want so that we can seed into these areas. The Bermuda in the fairways will be sprayed with round-up and removed and be replaced with contaminate free bent grass. This process is by no means quick and there will be some unsightly areas but you may play these areas as ground under repair. Once we lay the sod they will be back to normal within a few weeks. As for the rough this will take even longer because of the amount of acres we are going to seed in to. We actually were able to take advantage of the heat allowing the poa to die. The object is to quickly get a stand of grass in these areas before the poa seed bank has a chance to germinate in the fall once the temperatures cool off. The intermediate around the fairways and greens has been lowered to help us in our transition from invasive grasses to the stand that we desire. This to will be seeded as well.

Please stay tuned for future plans in September. One of them will favor our women golfers!