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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Greywalls update

Snow piles and drifts remain on the Greywalls course in the bunkers, along rocks and north facing slopes.  I shoveled off the remaining snow on those putting surfaces last Thursday to allow the frost to finally melt from the soil.  
 
Number 9 Greywalls

 
Number 6 Greywalls
60 degree temperatures with rain this weekend will help melt off these snow piles but 38 with rain/snow mix to start the week will slow things down again.  

 
Friday afternoon we blew off the last remaining greens and we rolled them for the first time.  Rolling is a critical step in spring prep on the Greywalls greens.  A combination of our pre-winter solid tine aerification and winter frost loosens the sand surfaces and they must be rolled 3-4 times before we can start mowing them for the season.   
Our practice putting green has the highest % of poa growing on it.  It was transplanted here from golf shoes and then has started its spread around the course as it seeds.  The discoloration on the poa is from late season paclo applications; this plant growth regulator is now used on greens, fairway, approaches and tees to slow down the spread of poa on our bentgrass greens and our fine fescue/ bluegrass fairways.  

After we finalize cleanup on the Heritage course and get it open for the season my focus will move more towards the Greywalls course.  
The next few weeks as the snow/frost melt and the ground drains and firms we will be getting the Greywalls course cleaned up.  We will also perform some maintenance tasks that can not be accomplished when we are open for play.  
We are faced with a major cleanup on Greywalls due to the wind storm a month ago.  20 plus trees came down and many others had to be removed due to wind damage and hanging branches.  Two weeks of cutting and we now have the trees cut up; the hauling of lumber and chipping branches remain.  
Tree cleanup by number 2 green 
 
The view of 2 green after tree cleanup.  

We have a May 1st target date for opening the Greywalls course.  

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Heritage course opener

The Driving Range and the putting greens are officially opening today on the Heritage course 4/8/2017.  A quick turn around in one week especially considering the temperature was not high.  Full sun melted or softened the snow enough for us to shovel off and prepare the turf.  
 

When will the Heritage course open?
15 Red tee still has snow on it, the right side of 15 is still snow covered, 13 green just melted off 3 days ago but snow remains behind it with ground frost making cart traffic impossible plus 7 green still has a snow drift on its right side.  The 60 degree temperatures this weekend should melt it off enough allowing the remaining ground frost to melt out of the soil.  The ground will then drain and have an opportunity to firm up enough to tolerate traffic.  
Signs, ropes and traffic directional stakes will go out this week and the Heritage will be open by next weekend.  

After I shoveled the rest of the Heritage greens off on Thursday the sun melted the frost layer out.  We were then able to run the brush reels on the greens to clean off excess sand.  We followed that with a mow using our sacrificial sand reels at the higher than normal height of cut.  This process really cleans up the putting surfaces and stimulates spring growth when temperatures warm.  
 
 

We also mowed the approaches and tees on Friday, just skipping the surfaces still under snow.  
 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Exposed Turf

Exposed turf: 
March 7, 2017

 
March 23, 2017

The early exposed turf is taking a beating from a few late winter temperature drops.  These pictures show how the turf has desiccated a bit and is losing its vibrant green color visible right after snow melt.   
In our case one warm week will change the turf color back to vibrant green.  This type of winter damage is very common in the plains because the cold temperature exposure period is long; ours is usually short lived because we receive adequate snow fall insulating our turf from extreme low temperatures.  

Spring conditions

Spring conditions:
Three winter melts has left us with minimal snow pack and it will not take long (after the temperatures rise) for the course to be completely exposed.  I expect us to have an early opener this year.  
From what I can see Turf conditions are outstanding!  Every fall fungicide application has seemed to work very well.   
Several different products and combinations were used on the fairways and we are excited to see the complete results soon. 

 
The spray lines are very evident right after spring melt.  
Treated on left ---- untreated on right

 
14 green Heritage has never been drier in the spring.  The combination of the drains that we installed several years ago on the approach and an aggressive 3/4" core aeriation (back filling the holes with sand) has made a huge improvements.  

A look down 9 fairway Heritage shows excellent turf quality on the treated fairway and poor quality on the untreated rough.  I can not stress enough the importance of these fall spray applications.  The turf has a huge advantage in the spring when it comes out of winter disease free.  Overall Course quality increases dramatically as the turf is fuller thicker and has less weed encroachment.  

7 green on the Heritage is usually one of our last areas to melt off in the spring.  It will not take as long this year with the limited snow pack.  

 
Another Classic picture on number 2 Greywalls.  The ring around the green shows Fungal control that was near 100% 
Individual rings of snowmold are hard to even find in the spring on untreated turf because all of the plants seem to be infected with the disease.  


Putting Surfaces:
 
Putting green quality is also excellent from what we can see so far.  We will know more after all of the surfaces are exposed.  
Pictured above is a great example of poa annua suppression on the Greywalls greens.  We use a plant growth regulator call trimmit on the Greywalls greens: with the active ingredient paclobutrazol.  This PGR suppresses the poa plant more than the our desired bentgrass plants thus giving a competitive advantage to the bentgrass.  

 
Solid tine holes still visible from the fall.  Before our last mowing of the season we solid tine the greens to leave open channel that aid in water movement.  We do not want standing water on our putting surfaces that could freeze and create issues.  

 
The turf on 15 green Heritage is definitely survived the winter better than this deer.   

 
Close up view of the turf on 11 green Heritage.  Nothing but pure health coming out of winter.  
I am very proud of our turf management programs here at MGC; we continue to evolve and get better.  

New Signage

New signage:
 
Several holes had yardage adjustments on the Greywalls course plus a new tee was constructed on #11; new hole signs were needed.  We used 4x4 cedar posts and our routing kit to make the new signs.  
The post style signs are simple and will fit in beautifully on the Greywalls course.  

 
New directional sign were also created for the Heritage course.  These new signs now match the Greywalls signs and will replace the old green signs.  Our goal is to gain more consistency between the two courses.  

High Winds

High Winds!
We had a major wind event this winter that took down 18 trees in managed turf areas.  The wind was sustained at 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph for 6 straight hours.  These winds definitely added work to our spring cleanup duties.   
The wind was just to powerful for many of the exposed Hemlocks on the back 9 of Greywalls to handle.  The majority of the trees came down back here.  

 
This group of trees between 12/13 on Greywalls gets smaller and smaller every year.  

 
This majestic spruce at the enterence of the club was no match for the winds.  It's roots gave out and it smashed down on the club sign.  

 
Many trees along Grove Street came crashing down in the wind.  

 
The way these all snapped off proves the shear strength of the wind.  

 
Even Maple trees came down in the wind.  

 
I could hear these trees snap off as I worked in the shop with the doors open.  

 
Some of these trees not only snapped off but the tops flew a good distance away from their trunks.  

 
Another tree top laying 15 yards away from its base.  

Clean-up will take some extra time this spring; I will have to pick up an additional chain saw and bring staff back a bit early to complete the clean-up process.  

Winter Education

Winter months are a time we attend education  conferences.  It is very important for us to stay informed on all of the new advancements learned from University research and private product development.  


 

 Bob Vavrek from the USGA talking to at the Northern Great Lakes symposium in Northern Wisconsin. 


 

Two leading pathologists Dr. Vargas from Michigan State and Dr. Kerns from NC State talking at the Reinders Conference in Milwaukee 


 

It is always exciting to see New Equipment at the GCSAA trade room floor.   This is a massive show and was held in Orlando Florida this winter.  


 

Dr. Rossi from Cornell University talking golf live on GCSAA TV at the trade show


 

GCSAA constructs a live turf green complete with bunkers in the middle of the trade room; a very impressive display.  Mowers and rollers can be tested on the turf surfaces plus all of the different kinds of bunker liner options are shown in the bunkers around the green. It really gives the consumer hand on experience with the different product options. 


I always appreciate winter education conferences.  The people in our industry that put them on and the speakers that travel to share their knowledge are dedicated to golf. 

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