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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Natural/Native Area mowing

It is that time of year again when we mow down all of the Native/Natural areas on both golf courses.  We start the bulk of this work after the regular rough growth slows down and we can change the height on other mowers to cut the long areas.  We like to get this done before the leaves start to heavily fall so we can blow most of them into those areas and mulch them up.  
There are many areas that our mowers can not get to because of rock or steep terrain; those areas get managed using hand equipment- labor intensive but effective.  
We were able to purchase a used sidewinder this season to use strictly in the Native/Natural areas.  As these areas mature and age not only do the grasses get thick but the volunteer weed population grows.  After years of observation we developed a list of 'critical' areas that come into play often during a round of golf.  Allowing these 'critical' areas to stay thick and tall creates frustration and slows down play.  Our goal is to groom these locations so balls that enter can be found quickly and be hit back into play.  
A few native flowering weeds is desirable in our Natural/Native areas but when there population begins to choke out the planted fine fescues and bluestem grasses chemical management must take place.  In order to make these applications the area must be groomed first.  You will see more and more of this in the future as we continue our effort of keeping the grasses as the predominant species within these areas.   
Our new/used addition to the fleet pictured above.  We feel this unit will benefit all of our members and guests.  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hydraulic leak

We had a large hydraulic leak on number 1 green (Greywalls) this week.  The leak occurred on Monday when we were closed for maintenance.  Your crew was in the process of mowing after vertical mowing of the greens when the leak happened.  A failed bolt on the front reel drive on our old greensmower allowed hot oil to blow out covering the green in one pass.  Our experienced operator noticed the leak after only one pass and got the machine to the nearest native area -as instructed in such a situation.  
Unfortunately a path of oil followed him which will kill off the turf on the green and on the approach in due time.  We were closed until 1 which allowed us to complete cleanup of the pooling oil before we finished topdressing the rest of the greens.  

Today we had a back nine start so we could take cleanup and recovery to the next level on the first green.  

Aerification to remove oiled areas and prepare a seedbed.  

Quarter inch diameter quad tine blocks used on the green and 1/2" tines used on the approach.

Cores shoveled off and hauled away

A picture of the oil leak across the green
Oil even seen at night with the lights
Oil leak on the approach 

Mowing after core cleanup

Seeding the green with bentgrass and fescue and the approach with just fescue

Sand Topdressing the green after seeding damaged areas heavily

Seed and sand mix

Dragging the seed/sand mix into the aerification holes

Rolling the green surface to smooth it out

Watering the sand/seed mixture into the canopy along with an organic fertilizer applied to the surface after rolling.  

The spill area after our labor of effort to eliminate the need for sod.  
The green will have discoloration in the oil spilled areas but we hope to have new seedling growth soon.  

When operating any machinery -especially older equipment- leaks are a reality but we have had 5 leaks on the greens this year alone, this being the largest and most concentrated by far.  
It is time for us to invest in a new greensmower for next season.  Those plans are in the work now.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Greywalls Bathrooms

Progress is taking place on the Two flush bathrooms and shelters on the Greywalls course.  Several members came forward to offer their talents in constructing these buildings.  We are very fortunate to have such a supportive, diverse and knowledgable group of members to help us get these projects completed with minimal cost to the club.   
There are no utilities at these two sites because of there remote location; we will have a septic system and will utilize our irrigation system for water.  A variance was needed from the city to allow this set up within the city limits.  The variance was granted but we can not have wash sinks with the water source so hand sanitizers will be located in each restroom stall.  

Below are the stamped architectural drawings 
Plans page 1
Plans page 2
Plans page 3

Front nine location
This location is between 4 back tee and 7 green.  A gravel service road will be put in to allow access from two different holes.  

Back nine location
This location is between 15 and 13 tees. Servicing two holes again on the back 9. 

We dug 8 foot holes for the Perk testing.  Both tests were completed and we now have the septic permits.  
Next up is our building group getting the construction permit; then progress can continue with site prep and concrete work before the framing takes place.  
A meeting is scheduled with the septic company tomorrow to get that ball rolling as well.  

We looked at many factors when Choosing a location.  
1.) location free of bedrock to support a septic system - not easy on the front 9
2.) service two different holes
3.) accessible for construction and future maintenance
4.) out of all golf hole sight lines and potential future hole lengthening.  
5.) spread out enough to service properly  

I am putting a lot of thought and work into these buildings, which is never an easy task when trying to manage two 18 hole golf courses as busy as ours.  

Demo season

This time of year I schedule demo equipment deliveries so we can test current products and see if they will work for us on our extreme terrain.  
It is always exciting to see new technology and how it can work for us.  We always look for that edge to make us even more efficient.  

Mike gives the new Toro MD utility vehicle two thumbs up.  The suspension, brakes and tailgate were upgraded making them must safer to use on Greywalls.  

We took a demo run with these two different green brushes.  
Pulled by a utility cart and having electric lift cylinders these units make quick work of standing the grass up for a clean cut.

Native eliminator

We have been on a waiting list for 5 years now for a well used Toro Sidewinder.  We meeded this mower as a dedicated Native managment tool.  Our current machines are to busy maintaining the courses on a daily basis to do double duty in the Native.  
I got a call last week that our name was up and one was just traded it.  We purchased it as soon as it was delivered and after inspection/trial.  
We look forward to mowing down keys native areas with more efficiency and more regularity.  These groomings will help address lost ball issues and increase pace of play while reducing frustrations.  

The unit has 5000+ hours but is very mechanically sound.  Should run another 5000 for us.  

We received a screaming deal on this unit, here is a picture of it already out in the field going to work for us.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Summer disease

Summer months always present more disease pressure to our Turfgrass surfaces.  Hot humid weather is ideal for many biotic fungal pathogens to get the edge on plants that are under many abiotic stresses during these months.  Our grasses grow utilizing a C3 metabolism where 65-70 degree temperature are ideal; when the temperature and humidity levels rise the plant will weaken.  During this weakened period diseases begin to infect as the plant can not naturally fend off the attack and the fungus is very actively growing.  It is during these times that our daily scouting is very important to control excessive outbreaks.  

A very active fungus named dollar spot growing on the 17th tee on Greywalls.  Note the white mycelium on the surface.  

The same dollar spot a day later after treatment with a fungicide.  Note the lack of mycelium, the fungus was killed and the plants will begin to recover.  

Our number one disease management strategy on our fairways is the beautiful golden hue of plant dormancy.  We keep the fairways dry during these months for many reasons.
1.) reduced fungal growth 
2.) reduced water use and pumping costs
3.) eliminates fungicide applications which saves many thousands of dollars on large square footage areas like fairways.  
4.) makes the game much more enjoyable by allowing the ball to roll and bounce down the fairways.  
5.) reduced fuel/labor/maintenance costs which are associated with mowing.  
During the late summer and fall months when days get shorter and the temperatures moderate the turf will recover and green up.  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Greenkeeper Revenge

We held our annual Greenkeeper Revenge fundraiser event last week.  It was again a success as we were able to raise over $12k!  The money is going towards our 'Flush Fund' as we continue to gather money to construct flush bathrooms on Greywalls.  
The flush bathrooms will be built between 4 tee and 7 green and between 13 tee and 15 tee on Greywalls.  
Toilet seat obstacle on 14

Hole-in-one or Bowl-in-one on number 7

7 from the tee

Hole reducers were used on the flat greens to make that putt just a little more difficult 

Nothing was off limits.... Even a pin half on the green and half on the collar

15 green got a break as we put the pin in the bunker with a 'big cup' we left a tamp to smooth a putting path.... Maybe that was to nice 

Big cup in 15 bunker

Snow fence to work around on the long par 4 11th approach 

Old range cart parked in front of 13 green

Silent auction was filled with great items.... PGA Championship tickets to party certificates at the SportsPlex 

The score board.... Winning score was a 62!!
Fantastic score even if it was a 4 person scramble event!