Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Slight Oversight

Lately the greens have been drying down and the staff having to apply water to the surface via hoses constantly. This can be sustainable for only so long until we need to bring the entire sand profile back up to the moisture levels we desire more uniformly. What I mean by this is the surface can be wetter than the bottom of the 12 inch profile and we generally have roots into the 5-6 inch range. This creates soft conditions on the surface and eventually causes the grass roots to shrink up. Since the weather is cooler than normal we opted to do a flush of the greens. What this means is we water the greens so that the sand profile will reach field capacity, and once that level is exceeded the drainage system begins to operate like a toilet pulling the water through the drainage system at an alarming rate. A big advantage to this is the ability to remove sodium in the profile, to mulch salt from irrigation is harmful to the health of the plant. Some other advantages is it does wet everything uniformly and while the "flush" is happening it is also pulling the old and musty air out and trading that with fresh air. This is another technique in getting more oxygen to the root systems!

Where am I going with all of this? When we flushed the greens we noticed a a lot of water bubbling out of the ground at the short game chipping green. At was a large amount and our first instinct was that we have an irrigation leak. That was quickly not the case, it actually was the greens drainage that came off the chipping green and went into the old bunker we took out, there was so much force that the water made its way to the surface being buried about 2 feet down, as you can see the power of flushing the greens. When we removed that bunker we removed the drainage not thinking that the two were tied together. Sure enough the drainage line was cut and we now are busy extending this out towards the parking lot. At some point we would have figured this out because the green would be talking to us, we are glad we caught the problem early on.

cut pipe

new extension to dump into the parking lot

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fairway Solid Tine Program

We are currently undergoing the process of using a solid tine to poke a hole into the fairways. As I have mentioned before this is very similar to the greens venting program but on a bigger scale. We use 3/4 inch tines on a 1 inch spacing to allow the fairways to breath and dry out and is very beneficial in low lying areas. In these areas we have developed thinning turf do in large part by the wet conditions from all of the previous rain we have received during the latest tournaments. This process is simply getting air to the roots for a healthier plant which reverses the compacted and oxygen deprived root zone and is most importantly golfer friendly.

An example of thinning low lying areas. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Greens Preventative Maintenance

Last Thursday we started the beginnings of our gauntlet week with Member Guest preparations for the event last Friday and Saturday with a day break and into the Maryland State Open Championship which was held Monday through Wednesday.  For those past six days the staff arrived to start prepping the golf course at 4 am. It was a challenging time for everyone and I am very appreciative of the management staff and the greens staff for their tremendous efforts in making these two events a success. The weather was not the greatest and our total rainfall in these 6 days was a staggering 2.6 inches. The bunkers were a dream to have with minimal work to keep them looking the greatest during the events. With that being said we were very hard on the greens during this wet and hot time, we developed a few thin spots from traffic but over all they held up very well. To give them a breather we decided to vent them this morning. This is a very subtle way to open them up to help dry them down and promote gas exchange, remember we want oxygen in the root zone for a healthier plant. With the cooler weather coming we anticipate this being gone in a few days.

We also will be doing something similar to the fairways by poking a solid tine in various areas to alleviate the wet and soggy conditions and like before to promote drying and gas exchange.

This is called a Bayonet tine, very helpful in our greens
program and to utilize on a monthly basis. Its 3/4 wide and
we go down 3-4 inches.

Rolling after the venting process to smooth the surface out.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Equipment Update

Recently we have just taken ownership of some new greens mowers and a shop lift table for maintaining the equipment. Our previous greens mowers prove to be unreliable with constant break downs such as wiring harnesses or even electric drive motors. This became to much of a burden and to costly for us to keep running, so we decided to replace these right away. This lease replacement schedule was going to happen anyway we just were able to move this up sooner because of the situation that we were encountering.

To service our equipment in the past the mechanics literally had to work on their hands and knees, obviously something that can not go on for ever because of how uncomfortable this was. To help the efficiency of the operation we took ownership of a shop lift table to move the work area higher for a more ergonomic setting. I can say that these new additions to the shop and fleet have really boosted the moral here and has excited everyone.
New fleet of greens mowers.

How we would work before a lift table.

Greens mower on new lift table. 

Greens aerifier on the lift table getting serviced.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Course Update

The staff has been very busy prepping the golf course for the Member-Guest and the Maryland State Open.  Mainly this entails just hurrying up our course details with edging beds and pulling weeds.  The hot summer has been taking its toll on the golf course with numerous areas becoming dry requiring the staff to hand water. Although a little brown the fairways are playing great and the firmness meter is through the roof.

As we rely on the irrigation the typical problems arise, heads need to be checked for proper rotation or making sure that they actually work. With the recent storms, we have had to do a little more investigative work and physically test every head. These storms bring much needed rain but also large amounts of lightning. Lighting is our biggest enemy because it can ruin the electronics of an irrigation box. This happened most recently, we had to replace a few solid state boards on the golf course with #14 requiring the most work. This box had to have its entire station boards replaced. Not an easy feat with close to 100 hundred wires that had to be separated and reattached to the new board.  With over 14 irrigation boxes and over 1500 heads there is a lot to do to maintain the system.

We not only manage the turf but we also manage the IT out in the field.

Getting ready to tackle the problem

New board on top

Everything has been replaced and now in working order.