Thursday, June 14, 2018
Tees like this are now looking mid-season form.
Quick coupler on Greywalls #5 green releasing air/water as we fill the lines.
A main line pipe failure discovered on the Heritage course. The cause is a tent stake from an outing we hosted last season. A clamp is on order to make the repair..... never wise to cut asbestos pipes if you don’t have to.
The new bathrooms on Greywalls and the clubhouse deck were given a fresh coat of stain/sealer to extend the life of the wood and enhance the look of the structures.
Irrigation audits are in place to check the performance of the irrigation heads.
We are now into our summer grooming season. Putting surface management is our top priority as we complete vertical mowing and sand Topdressing every 3-weeks to keep the surfaces smooth and true.
Sand Topdressing on Greywalls before a spike unit is run over the surface and we drag the sand into the canopy.
After we drag the sand into the canopy new cups are cut and brush reels are run over the turf to collect any large sand particles.
Sand on the Heritage greens awaiting further work.
7 green on the Heritage course with perfect sand coverage.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Digging out to the Greywalls shop Door after the Mid-April snow storm.
Snow pack up to the lean-to roof line
The Mid-April storm event even filled the buildings with snow.
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Monday, January 22, 2018
One trend in particular that I am very interested in is the relationship between Sand Topdressing the putting surfaces and Nitrogen fertilization. Sand topdressing the putting greens is a process we complete every 3-week throughout the golf season. The goal of topdressing is to match the sand rate with turf growth so we can maintain a smooth firm putting surface for all to enjoy; establishing that rate is the art behind the science. Daily turf growth is heavily influenced by our Nitrogen applications but is also dependent on climatic conditions (drought/rain/humidity/temperature), turf health and the use of Plant Growth Regulators (PGR’s).
I feel playing golf on your turf surfaces is the most important way to get an actual feel for how the ball reacts and rolls; we call that the playability. Monitoring and recording clipping yield on the putting greens everyday is the next most important aspect to managing the surfaces properly. Those data recordings coupled with playabilty help us dictate how much sand needs to be applied; it also helps make decisions on vertical mowing, depth of vertical mowing and if we need to brush the greens.
Our goal is always consistency with our turf growth so we try to eliminate any flushes by applying Nitrogen only when needed and only for normal plant growth so recovery from traffic can always be taking place. We also apply PGR's based on growing degree models and we manage moisture on the dry side. We triplex our putting surfaces; the goal is to maintain clipping yield at a rate that the operator is only emptying the baskets 1-2 times per 18 holes. If the yield falls below 1 we typically roll or skip mowing the following day. Growth rates higher than that level occurs during the spring growth flush (and explains slower green speeds at that time) but is avoided during the rest of the season by our management techniques.
In these numbers you can easily see the reduction in Granular fertilization over the years. Purchasing a large area sprayer in 2015 was a game changer as it allowed us to extend our foliar Nitrogen applications from the greens to all fine turf surfaces; fairways, approaches, tees. Nitrogen can now be applied at a much lower rate giving us better growth control.
Our total Nitrogen use has reduced over the years but our turfgrass quality has increased. More effective and efficient use with less waste and virtually no flushes like we experienced 10 years ago.
**For the last 3 seasons our only complete granular application on the greens has been our dormant Milorganite application. High applications rates of Milorganite at this time decreases the time it takes for snow/ice to melt in the spring and jumps starts the turf immediately when exposed. I do estimate that 1/2 of that Milorganite application is removed in the spring when we brush reel, vertically mow and mow for the first time in the spring. The collection baskets are full of Milorganite so we recycle that fertilizer by spreading it on cart path wear areas around the two courses.**
A chart/graph again showing our change in application methods over the years and our reduction in overall use of fertilizer.
Looking at this graph helps summarize why we had more flushes of growth from 2006-2012. Granular fertilization can give very unpredictable results with varying climatic conditions.
How does Nitrogen relate to Sand Topdressing?
In-season use is dependent on monitored clipping yield and playability so it truly reflects our ability to control flushes of growth. In 2008/09/10 we made our highest Nitrogen applications to the greens so we indeed had more growth; which is directly reflected with an increased in-season sand use over that time period on both golf courses. During those years we routinely set our topdresser gate at setting C to get the proper amount of sand into the canopy. We now have such controlled growth we have no need to open the gate past the first A setting yet still get better results.
Along with reduced in-season sand use we have been able to reduce vertical mowing depth. 11 years ago (when we did not have as much control over growth rates) surfaces felt soft to me after 3 weeks so it was necessary to complete vertical mowing to a depth deeper than neutral to 'mine' out Organic Matter (OM) and add sand to the channels. With successful controlled growth rates in resent years, surfaces stay firmer and vertical mowing does not regularly need to be completed as deep.
Heritage and Greywalls In-season sand use has trended down and has stabilized the last two seasons. Sand use was a little low in 2012/2103/2014 but corrections were made.
I really like where we are with our putting surface management. We are more consistent than we have ever been.
Management improvements over the last 12 years have had a tremendous impact on our ability to consistently manage our most important turf surfaces. There is no text book telling you how much and how often; it is all site specific and based on experience, inputs, available equipment, time limitations and expectations. We are always focusing on getting better and providing a better product to play on.... our efforts are working.
Monday, December 11, 2017
Update on the grounds end.
We just went through the most difficult winterization I’ve ever had the pleasure of guiding. The season ended with a flip of a switch as Snow, Midwest hurricanes and freezing temperatures made it a very interesting finish.
Many challenges were overcome and I am glad to say all of the absolutely critical fieldwork was completed before the freezing temperatures and snow arrived for good.
-Storm damage was cleaned up in all critical areas but most of it was just cut up or left and will be removed in the spring.
-After closing for the season all greens were solid tine aerified to open channels for winter surface drainage.
-All fine turf surfaces (greens, apps, tees, fairways) were treated preventatively for snowmold. We followed a blower crew with our sprayers as they cleared leaves and goose droppings.
-Both Irrigation systems and components were winterized. It was very cold while blowing out the Greywalls system. An additional day of work was needed to finish up the process.
-Equipment was detail cleaned and winterized. The plow truck was repaired and prepared for a season of snow removal. Both shops were organized and equipment in need of winter overhaul work has been lined up in the shop for easy access.
-Greens and approaches were covered with sand for winter crown protection and they were all roped off. Snow fence is up in our strategic locations.
-Milorganite was applied to all putting surfaces to help spring ice/snow melt and green-up.
-All course supplies were hauled in and off the course for winter maintenance.
We are set up for a successful spring of 2018…… as long as mother nature is kind to us the next 4 months.
A Tree crushed the new bathroom on 3/4/7 of Greywalls during the 50-70 mph wind event we experienced that I like to call the Superior hurricane. The tree has been removed and we put a tarp on the roof to prevent any further damage to the interior.
The repairs to the bathroom will most likely be completed in the spring as winter weather has set in for good.
I received a call from the BLP last week. They are now offering us a seasonal shut off for our pumpstaion power supplies. No charge to shut it off and only $25 to turn it back on in the spring. This should save us around $3800 this winter in demand charges that we had to pay in the past.
I have placed most of the chemical and fertilizer orders already for the 2018 season to take advantage of free shipping and discount prices included in Early Order Programs.
The rest of our chemical/fert. Supply needs are out to bid with all of our different vendors. Once those quotes come back I can finalize the 2018 Agronomic Plan. Savings as much as I can for the club is always the goal.
We had a site visit with a logger this fall. We need to aggressively manage the trees in many locations on the golf courses. This work needs to be planned out well ahead of time so it can be completed over the winter months to reduce disruption during the playing months.
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