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