Sunday, December 21, 2014

Course Update

We have wrapped up our drainage project on #3 fairway and all that is left is to remove part of the cart path, where we will pour a new concrete piece and set our drain basin.  The new approach extension on #4 is complete as well as the new top fairway extension on #16.  Our fairway top dressing efforts were slowed because of a seal that we have to replace. We hope to have that up and running very soon. Next we we plan on adding drainage near the bridge on #16 in the rough and get the pig bath draining next to #11 green where you park your cart.

#4 new approach addition

#16 Fairway extension

Now, the 100 yardage marker is in the fairway and not in the rough.

#16 New Drainage ready to be trenched.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Number 4 Approach Addition

Monday, December 15, 2014

Golf Course Update

Things are moving along very well and we just keep knocking out and adding to our winter list of projects before the next season. Lately it has been a very wet winter season and mix that with our fairway top dressing program equals basically sand patties that take a while to dry out and drag into the fairway. We have knocked out a few fairways that have already been top dressed so they will look a little cleaner next time your out.

We have started our next drainage project on #3 fairway. This will alleviate the puddling of water on the cart path edge and the water that settles in the middle of the fairway, Once complete we will be onto the next drainage project located on #16 where the carts exit, stay tuned on that.

And finally we have some sod that will be delivered for the the top fairway on #16. We wanted to bring the fairway down a little bit and this will incorporate the 100 yard marker that was previously in the rough. The approach on #4 will be expanded on the right side of the green as you walk up. The reason for this is because we have done this on various other holes on the back and need to incorporate them on the front, it will be very subtle when complete and will look great.

#3 drainage install, prepping for the trencher

#3 drainage

Look closely and you can see the extension, or grass we cut
and will be replaced with bentgrass.

#16 side view

Cleaning up the sand in the fairways

We also top dressed greens before the chance of rain on Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Drainage projects

Over the past two weeks we have been working very hard on adding drainage to the golf course. Below is a great example of our next projects. Going out when it is raining is the best way to plot your new drain lines. The first photo is from #15 and the second is #3.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

First Day of the Syngenta Business Institute held at Wake ForestUniversity

Looking forward to learning the business side of our industry. Topics that will be discussed are financial management, leading across cultures and generations,effective negotiations as well as leading individuals and teams.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Course update

The spike in the weather has been very nice for some winter golf, much needed when you look back at how November shaped up. What's interesting is they all seem to fall on a Monday, glad we were able to open the course on those days because at some point it will be consistently cold.

Fairway top dressing has been going very well and will continue as the weather allows us, hence the sand in the parking lot. We also have started and just about finished our first drainage project for the winter on 14 approach.  If you remember over the summer this area was extremely wet and even lost a little grass. This fix will make it playable and remove the swamp that was once there. Our next drainage task will be at the bottom of the approach on 13. Yes, another constant wet area.  Drainage is an important part of the over all golf course playability and you will always have areas to work on, essentially it's never ending, especially when you have springs that could emerge creating a problem. As a golf course manager doing drainage on the golf course is one of my favorite projects because it's instant gratification.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Course Update

The past few days have been horrendously cold and it has been a challenge to get tasks completed on the golf course. During the arctic blast we were able to organize and clean the nooks and crannies of our shop. When we were able to get on the course, we spent most of our time cleaning up falling leaves and we began our winter top dressing program for the fairways and approaches.  The drainage projects we have slated for this year will start on December 1st after the Thanksgiving Holidays. It does take a few days to complete one of these projects and we did not want to interfere to much with the play ability of the golf course during that time.  The area that we will go to first is #14 approach then followed by #12.

The bunkers this time of year will be a little rough looking, unfortunately when we have temperatures this cold the sand is frozen therefore making it impossible to rake out. We will rake them once an opportunity presents itself.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Course Update

To keep the course as clean as possible the staff has been busy and working very hard on blowing and mulching up leaves. In a week or two most of them should be all down and then we can switch into our winter projects.

First up for the winter is our annual fairway top dressing program. We plan to start this on Monday working #18 going backwards through out the winter. Most recently we are close to finishing up the soil reliever in the approaches. This pokes a solid tine hole about 6-8 inches deep.

The gas company has just about finished their repair on the pipe on hole #3. We should start to see soil going back into the hole today or tomorrow morning and then we will place the sod back over.  

Lastly, we have removed the 5 gallon water coolers from the course, if we would leave them, they would crack under low temperatures. We will leave the bottle watered stations up until sometime in December which then we will take down for the winter.

Soil reliever or deep tine in action

Prepping for the gas line dig on #3

I hear this natural gas pipe comes from Houston and feeds the gas
 companies up north, 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Seasonal Changes

This time of year the weather really starts to change and so does staffing, its part of the business. That is letting the seasonal staff go for the year, leaves falling and work load increasing, We struggle just a little when it comes to maintaining the course to an acceptable level and continuing our leaf clean up. With our smaller staff for the winter things tend to get completed a little slower than normal. For example we are checking depths on bunkers and this is taking us two days to complete, where in the season we could complete it in 5 hours. This is not something we do on a regular basis and it needs to be completed. As I am typing this we are mowing greens today and requires all hands on deck. After that we will return to the bunkers and finish our depth check.

Once we get passed last day to post scores it will get easier, leaves should have mostly been down, grass growth is growing even slower and winter rules are in affect.  I am sharing this with you all so that you can understand if some thing looks a little out of place or unkempt.  So please bare with us, our main concerns at this point are leaf clean up and bunkers. 

Here a few things to consider when playing this time of year that would help me out tremendously:

  1. Please fix your ball mark plus another.
  2. Replace your divot if possible or if you cannot, please fill it with sand.
  3. This is a really big one, RAKE YOUR BUNKER, With a small staff bunkers will not be raked on a regular basis especially when we are battling leaves. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Recent Member Questions

Recently I had a member contact me about some concerns he had for the course and he developed a few questions for me. These were complied by some of his close friends as well and I thought they were excellent and wanted to share them.

  1.         Should I replace a divot with turf or fill it in with sand? The preferred way, is if the divot is still intact to place back into the hole where formed, if that is not possible because it is in many pieces then sand would be the second choice. Watch a PGA Tour event and see what the caddie does!
  2.     .   Can you explain why we don’t use seed in our sand mix to reduce the time for divots to repair? We actually do have seed in our mix at the present time, we are working out the logistics for the divot bottles on the carts. Because we do not fill them (bag staff does) we want to make sure that when we do roll that out we do not falter. So we will build a divot box for them this winter and create the mix for them to use.
  3.         Why is the sand at the bottom of the bunkers still wet after renovation? I can’t really comment on this other than it was wet before, some bunkers drain faster than others. Not every bunker will be consistent which is why we dig our heals in to test out the firmness before we hit our shot. It has been wet year and could be why we see this in a some areas.
  4.         Could you explain/demonstrate the correct method for repairing ball marks on the green? I can and I do have a video on the blog that explains this, in the blog it is located in the Labels section under ball mark repair.
  5.        Does being Audubon certified mean that we don’t use fertilizers on the course? No, we do use fertilizers and we use them appropriately for the turf grass that we have.
  6.         How often does your staff seed troubled areas (approach shots/tee boxes)? Because we just started to introduce seed into the our mix we have really just started. If I can take a moment to explain why we didn't seed it would make more sense. We did not use bent grass seed because the seed is very small and easily capable of contaminating our roughs. Some people fill divots in the rough and we couldn't keep that from happening. So we did not use seed until a friend of mine tried a different seed that works kind of like a cover crop until the bent grass can fill in. I have seen first hand what contaminated rough looks like and it can be extremely difficult to hit out of. By eliminating bent grass seed we can eliminate that avenue from happening. 
  7.        How do you decide what areas to focus resources on?

a.       It seems like we spend a lot of resources (time/money) replacing sod on the fringes of the course (off tee boxes, or cart paths that aren't necessarily in play) to enhance the look of the course, while areas of the course that get a lot of play (where approach shots are taken or par 3 tee boxes) are left unattended. Everything gets tended to but just in different ways, we receive a lot of traffic in the rough and we deal with this by sodding or seeding. Others areas like Tee boxes we utilize fertilizer to grow back in along with seed.  Approach shots that are heavily used will be remedied by the seeding protocol that we have implemented.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Spot Aerifying with Needle Tines and Greens Infiltration Rates

Due to the storms on the way we canceled the one day member-guest and utilized this opportunity to needle tine some greens before the storm hits. Using our infiltrometer this morning we tested and received a reading of 9 inches per hour on the practice putting green, more specifically where every one walks on and off. We then went to another green on the course and got a reading of 30 inches per hour. After that it was evident we needed more readings and immediately went to our smallest greens, #3 and #6.  With readings of 7-9 inches per hour we decided to do the entire green.  If we can measure more often we can stay on top of the compaction rate and be more aware of creating a needle tine schedule so that we can be more proactive for a healthier green. Also in time of heavy play or events we can utilize a spot aerification on the greens while not interrupting play like we did on the practice green.

Lets recap where we were a couple of weeks ago on infiltration rates:

          • September 29th Practice Greens reads 9 inches per hour
          • October 1st we utilized the needle tine and readings were 24 inches hour.
          • October 8th the practice green was reading 22 inches per hour
          • October 15th readings were back to 9 inches per hour on the practice green. In between the 29th and the 15th we had a lot of rain and events that compacted that area.   

#3 Green

More seed germinating in fairway divots!

Time of year where we switch out the summer annuals for
winter annuals. 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Doing our part to Save on Utilities

A few days ago I looked up in the shop and noticed a few lights that needed to be replaced, we swapped in a couple of bulbs and realized that the ballast had gone out as well. We then did some research and it turns out that its better to go ahead and convert these lights to LED rather than purchasing the lights and the ballast to get them working again. So all of the 8 foot shop lights will be changed over to LED's, they already seem brighter, will last around 8 years and will substantially reduce our lighting cost's here at the shop.  If all goes well, the entire shop lighting has and will be converted over very soon. We started this a few years ago with smaller bulbs in the restrooms and branched out to LED flood lights for the early mornings. This is just the last step!

LED lights have arrived

Old and nonworking lights

New LED lights installed

Wall timers added 3 years ago in restroom and locker room,
Yes, people think they have to press the button which is
why it is pushed in. But it still works!

Restroom lighting that was installed 3 years ago, 

1 of 5 LED flood lights installed about 2 years ago out side the
shop. These all have light sensors for automatic operation.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fertility and Sod

We just completed our last round of our fertility program for the rough.  This gives us the added bump in growth to continue to fill in thin areas for a more uniform rough. While the grass is slowing down a little bit in top growth the other benefit is continued root growth, preparing us for next year.

Our new divot filling program has been on going and diligent on a daily basis. We are seeing the seed already germinate in areas and very excited to start this process at the beginning of next year. One benefit using the darker material this time of year is that because it is dark it attracts heat and keeps the surrounding grass warmer at night for continued growth. This is an extreme benefit on our new bermuda practice tee.

Another rough sod truck was delivered this morning and ready to go out in the previous prepped areas. In the coming weeks we have been notified that one of the gas lines going through the golf course will need to have a little maintenance performed on a section of pipe. This section is located to the right of #3 fwy and will partially impact that hole. We are hoping to have them start the work at the beginning of November. Once I have a confirmed a date we will pass on this information to you.

A few reminders:
            1. Please replace your divot if possible, this time of year there is a high probability that it will survive. If its blown into pieces then that would constitute a using the sand divot bottle. Speaking of the cart divot mix, we plan on mixing seed for you to use also in the fight for our divot fairway recovery program.
            2. Continue to rake your bunkers
            3. Fix a ball mark plus another
            4. Be mindful where we park around Tee and Greens, keep all tires on the cart path.

Sprouting Seeds

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The value of opening up the greens surface

Yes, like the title reads there is a tremendous value opening the surface of the green. This promotes air and gas exchange along with water infiltration. Our greens are USGA greens that are designed to accept water and then let it go through drainage. As for a push-up green which is composed mostly of native soils, this is designed to shed water much like the turtle back greens you see at Pinehurst #2. In order to keep up with the physical properties of the sand we need to do routine aerifications such as pull a core to replace with clean fresh sand. This removes the organic material that can hold water at the surface creating many problems and soft playing conditions. After we do those things we need to regularly open them up through non aggressive techniques during the playing season and not interfere with the enjoyment of the game. One example that we like to do is the use of a needle tine that is less than the thickness of a pencil, approximately .200 of an inch. Although small, this is a great tool, to continue the drainage characteristics of our USGA greens.  So where am I going with all of this? We have a tool that can quantify our results to show you the benefits of doing this practice and its called an infiltrometer. This tool allows us to measure in inches per hour how fast the greens will drain. We took a measurement and received a whopping 9 inches per hour before we used the needle tines on the greens. The next day after the needle tine, we came back to the similar location and took another reading. Our results were 24 inches per hour and we almost tripled our infiltration rate by doing this practice. So you can see the benefits are great and will help our greens make the grade!

Needle tine in action

The infiltrometer we used
Fill both rings with water and then we start the timer

Friday, September 26, 2014

Course Update

Yesterday,  we welcomed the much needed slow rain for the golf course. We had one sod truck delivered and this quickly was laid out on holes 1 and 18. We were a little short but we new that and had planned for another truck to arrive on Friday. The rain put us behind and we will finish our current areas next week. All areas will be painted ground under repair and we ask you you avoid driving and walking in these areas.  We also started to top dress some areas with compost in the rough to help with traffic and drought tolerance, this also helps the new sod establish it self very quickly.

We are revamping our divot mix on the golf course. With the help from a friend of mind who has seen good results from incorporating a specific seed mix into the divot mix, this has helped fill in the areas quicker. What was interesting is that the grass seed that we are using will sprout up to give a cover then the bent grass will over take it. The mix is a 50/50 mix of sand and compost, sand for drainage and compost to hold moisture for the seed. We are still working out the fine details but this should help our divot recovery program on the fairways and tees.

Top dressing sod areas and rough with compost

Concrete mixer we rented to prepare the divot mix

Look carefully and you can see the seed in the divot mix

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sod Truck Season

The first day of  fall has begun and so has our sod truck schedule for various areas in the rough. We have a plan in place to go after worn out areas and bermuda spots. We will be making our way around the golf course very quickly and will have much of this done in a couple of weeks with new sod painted ground under repair.  Unfortunately, this is an every year process to keep the rough in good shape.

Also, we did a root check on our the 6th green (which is our worst on the golf course in years past) and we are pleasantly surprised to find that they are very long and healthy. Expanding that green to gain 1500 square feet has really helped spread out the traffic resulting in less congregated compaction.

6th green

Behind #1 green

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mowing Greens in the Dark

Just a small glimpse in the eyes of a greens mower operator mowing the green in the dark following the dew line.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Course Update

Small improvements have been started while trying to be mindful of our Member-Member event coming up. We are chomping at the bit to start sod cutting the rough areas for replacement, this is why you may notice some brown areas in the rough that contain bermuda grass. Our goal is to start this process September 22nd and continue into October, before that we do plan on seeding various areas of the rough this week to get that process rolling. There will be at times open areas that need to be completed with sod and rest assure that we will be completing sections at a time. These areas will be marked ground under repair and we would encourage you to drive around them until they have rooted in. We have started to sod some fairway areas that were thinning out because of the heavy rains and in partly do to the herbicide we used for the fight against the bermuda,

Yesterday we were able to apply our monthly potassium application and top dress the greens. Obviously this is a Monday Maintenance day but with the rain possibly coming Thursday night, we wanted to take advantage of that to help work the sand into the profile. 

Top Dressing being applied

Potassium application