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Friday, March 30, 2012

A little slow release moisture (snow) fell this morning. It is melting off fast so we will cut the cups in the morning and the Heritage will officially be open tomorrow.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Our plan is to open the Heritage at noon on Friday (tomorrow) but the weather does not look nice. The complete lack of consistency in the weather this time of year is what makes successful golf course business operations in March/April very difficult to achieve.
The weekend weather does look nice (for this time of the year) so I am sure there are many who will want to come out and enjoy the course for the first time of the year.
We have been working very hard to get it ready only to be slowed down by 8 downed trees from the wind storm on Tuesday (At least 8 more trees came down on Greywalls also).
Starting tomorrow, Game On!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Marc is back and the range will officially be open today!! Come out and hit some balls to warm up because the Heritage opening is not going to be far behind!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Big windstorm today, chainsaws will get a workout in the am.

Monday, March 26, 2012

We Brushed and Mowed the Heritage Greens for the first time yesterday. We will be mowing the Heritage Fairways and approaches today. The warm weather created a flush of growth that we must start to manage.

Greywalls will start to get cleaned up this week.

Both Courses over-wintered very well and look fantastic!!
This early green-up will have us up and going sooner than ever.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Many are wondering why the golf course is not open when it has been so nice.
I am here to offer an explanation.

First and foremost this weather has been unreal, some may say nothing short of a miracle while others are upset that it eliminated the spring skiing season. Regardless of your opinion one thing is for certain, this has never happened before. The old ‘record’ highs for this time of year were around 49 degrees, we just had a stretch of 5 days above 80 and that followed a week of 60 to 70 degree temperatures. The snow is gone.
With that being said this early summer weather (which started before actual winter was over) was not in our plans.

When we create a yearly budget for the golf course we set start dates for all of our employees. Those dates are based on historical timeframes of when the snow melts and when we need to begin work in the field. This early melt down has us a month ahead of our budgeted plan. Bringing back a full crew of employees this time of year would cripple our budgeted plan and be a financial setback for the entire year. History has proven to us that we loose money when we open early as our expenses exceed our additional income this time of year.
Your dues structure is based off these annual expenses so we like to keep them under control to keep your dues as low as they are.

The Proshop is not open and our professional staff is not even on payroll yet. Marc is on his most deserved vacation before the crazy season starts and will be back next week. When the Proshop is not open the golf course is not open, that is our control center.
On Marc’s return from vacation he will be picking up our used yearly supply of range balls (to eliminate shipping costs) from Crystal Downs. We only have a few hours worth of balls right now because so many balls are lost or taken over the season.
The good news is our mats are in and the range will be open next Wednesday. I think you will all really like out new mats - they are so dense, a regular tee can be held up in the mat surface.

Being the only grounds employee in the winter I must carefully schedule out all of the equipment prep work. I do this to ensure I can get to all of it. I prioritize based on what we need first in the spring. All of our equipment must have yearly preventative maintenance performed to it over the fall, winter or early spring. This month is when I put all of our mowing reels back onto the machinery because they were removed for grinding and rebuilding. It is also when I start to charge all of the batteries, clean terminals and start the equipment. All of this is still being completed. I have to work fast because the weather has jump started the turf and we need to start mowing very soon.

My new Assistant Andy is being thrown into the fire. It was my plan to do some proper training with him this month before the crew comes back but instead we are working our tails off together to get things ready. I had to call long time employee Clayton back several weeks early to help us along. Greywalls Assistant Mike is scheduled to begin next week so that should help also.

The course will open earlier than usual; it is our job to be fiscally responsible about it.
We will all be golfing soon!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lol, the bluebirds are back already! This weather is crazy.
I started to de-winterize the equipment yesterday that was stored in the lower lot cart barns. The batteries all needed to be charged or replaced and hooked back up. Many battery terminals also are replaced at that time. After the tires are aired up I attempt to start them and move them out to do further prep at the shop.

The Heritage Greens were blown off yesterday and the Tees are going to be finished today. Once we get some additional moisture and there is evidence of growth on all greens we can then drag them, mow with brush reels and follow that with a regular mowing.

Mowing by itself will stimulate growth so we need to be very careful not to get ahead of ourselves as the weather could still change drastically - keeping an eye on weather.com!

Once the Proshop opens up next week the driving range will also be ready to go!

If the weather continues in our favor the three of us we will try to get the Heritage course open as soon as physically possible.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Great weather continues

The last small pile of snow melted off theWest side of the Driving range tee last night. It should dry up in the next day or two then we can prep that area for an early practice season.
New Driving range mats are on order, I hope they come in by the end of the week. The driving range should be open by next week if all goes well.
If this weather continues we will be looking at a record opening date for the Heritage.

Greywalls green #4 looks to be the last green covered in snow and ice, but by the end of today even that surface should be melted off. Valley snow still remains on Greywalls from winter drifting but by the end of this week that should be gone as well.

Two more staff members are starting on the Greywalls course on monday. We will then operate with two guys on each side while keeping an eye on the long term weather forecast. I dont like getting real excited yet, after all it is only March in Mqt.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why we apply Fungicides in the Late Fall

This is a picture of #16 on the Heritage Course today (3/16).
I am sure you notice that the Tees and Fairways look very green yet the rough looks Brown. The entire rough is infected and over taken by snow-mold. This is a wonderful example of why a fungicide application has to be made on all of our Greens, Tees and Fairways before the winter. In order to make these critical applications we have to close earlier than 'the day before snow arrives for good' in the fall.
I always smile at the effectivness of these applications this time of year, one can see exactly where a boom was turned on and off.
The rough, which is maintained at a higher height of cut will recover and green up within a month. The much shorter cut Fairways, Tees and Greens would take all season to recover from major snow-mold damage as seen in the rough.
Another wonderful day of snow melt, at this rate the Heritage greens might all be melted off by Monday. We took down the snow fence today and we are really impressed with what we see on the Heritage course, it looks very good.
There is still to much snow over at Greywalls to get out and around with any utility vehicles. By the end of next week we should be able to get some tools out and start work on GW also.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Warming up

This early spring has everyone giddy with excitement. The snow is melting off very fast, the 3 feet we received several weeks ago is now gone and all that is left is snow pack from earlier winter. The peaks and mounds are all emerging but the mega drifts and a good 1 ½ feet of harder packed snow still remains in most areas. Everything seem to be looking great from what I can see on the Heritage course, all of the areas treated for Snow-mold last fall look very clean. I know what the 10 day forecast says, but we may not be out of winter just yet and disease pressure for Pink Snow-mold is very high right now. I think we may have one more arctic blast left before it is all said and done.

This extended melt down may stick around long enough into next week to melt all of the snow and ice pockets off our greens early. That would be wonderful as it would eliminate my worry for the disastrous freeze thaw cycles that occur this time of year which creates plant crown hydration and winter kill.
I had a wonderful time at the (Golf Industry Show) GIS several weeks ago in Las Vegas. I attended all of the general session educational events then I walked the show room floor for 8 hours talking with vendors and exploring companies containing new innovative products. I ran into many old friends on the show room floor, it was nice to catch up and talk a little turf and business. The last day there I made the drive out to PGA West in La Quinta, CA to see my former Assistant Scot. He is doing well at his new post and his desert course played great.
I landed back in Marquette just in time to deal with three days of snow.

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