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Friday, December 21, 2012

                                          Milorganite in the ice on the edges creating air pockets
                                          Ice on #15 Green Greywalls
                                          View of the Ice on #15 Green in the low areas

I was able to get out and check the golf course on Wednesday before the snow storm arrived.  The melt down last weekend did create some solid black ice pockets in the low areas on some of the Greywalls greens.  The Heritage greens looked good as the ice on those greens was very porous and was more of a hard crunchy snow type.  I always worry more about solid black ice cover on the Heritage course because the amount of poa annua growing within that canopy.  In previous years I have seen the bentgrass on the Greywalls greens survive almost 4 months of solid black ice cover.
It is always good to know the ice covered areas so I can determine the type of winter damage or winter kill when the snow melts away in the spring.
I did not see any fungal damage on the surfaces that were treated in October/November.  Once again our spraying worked very well eliminating that early round of snow mold growth.  The big kicker will be that fungal growth spike during the last month of winter during snow melt.  I am worried that the lack of early snow and open canopy caused some photo-degradation of our product reducing its length of protection.
Time will tell but for now lets enjoy the WINTER!!!!!!
                                         Ski tracks left on #14
                                         Ski tracks on #8 Green
                                         Ski pole damage on #5 Green
                                         Ice left on the Green from ski tracks
                                         Ski tracks on #5 Green
                                         Ski tracks around #5 Green
                                         Ski tracks right across #4 Green

Well we finally got enough snow to start enjoying some outdoor winter activities!
For an unknown reason someone decided we had enough last week to cross country ski on the Greywalls course.  This disrespectful individual also skied across the roped off greens damaging the turf below because there was not even close to enough snow for that kind of activity on a golf course.
The Greens are roped off for a reason please keep your winter traffic as far away from these areas as you can plus please be patient and wait for enough snow cover before enjoying the MGC property.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I repainted the parking lines in both shops this week.
This is a critical step completed every winter to assure our equipment is parked properly during the season every day.
Proper parking creates structure in the building and allows access around every mower to perform daily maintenance checks.  Equipment parked properly is safer (no climbing over) and saves time because there is no longer a need to move everything in order to perform routine daily checks on a unit that is parked in the middle or back.

Friday, December 14, 2012

I took my assistant Andy and our Greywalls mechanic Bob down to a Grinding seminar in Milwaukee yesterday.  The focus was on reel science and optimum cut technology.  It was a great class and we were able to gain valuable knowledge from the 'pros'.  The technology and saftey in this area has increased dramatically over the last 10 years.  It was a long day that started at 2:30 am but it was worth every mile of the drive.
The staining/sealing/painting and refurbishing of our signage and other course supplies is underway.  Andy finished most of it the last few weeks.  I hope to get the rest of it completed before the holidays so I can move my focus to the mechanical work and reel grinding at the start of 2013.

I completed soil sampling on both golf courses before the snow settled in.  I took samples from all 36 holes and divided them into sections.  Front 9 - Back 9 Greens, Front 9 - Back 9 Fairways and then Tees on both courses.  This gave me 10 sample bags that I sent to a lab to be analyzed.  
These comprehensive results will be my new baselines for comparision.
I will be able to compare the results to previous tests completed on our soil and see how things have changed plus I will also have the ability to test potential problem areas on a micro level by sampling and comparing.  This is just another way to better manage the growth of our turfgrass.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Many of you do not get to see our incredible white sea of birds but Seagulls take over the Heritage course during the night time hours in the spring, summer and fall.  They occupy the property to feast on earthworms within the fairway soil profile.  When we enter the course on our maintenance equipment before day-break they fly off towards the lake shore.  Seagulls are a biological control of a potential pest, the earthworm. 

As stated above earthworms can be a ‘potential pest’ yet I view worms as a desirable addition.  Worms aerify the soil plus reduce our thatch levels by feeding on it and mixing soil with micro-organisms into that layer providing further breakdown and dilution of fairway thatch levels.  A negative aspect of worm activity is the fact that excessive worm castings on the turf surface will cause our mower reels to dull quickly and can even clog a reel or stop it from turning; further damaging the mowing unit.  This problem only seems to be an issue in late-winter/early-spring as earthworm activity is completed un-checked.  Worm castings accumulate in excess after and under the melting snow on the fairway surface.  Dragging that fairway surface with steel drag mats on dry days after snow melt (prior to our first mowing of the season) knocks down the castings and mowing the fairway turf can then be accomplished.  The return of the Seagulls at that time puts the earthworm population in check or within our threshold levels and beneficial activity continues. 

Crows and ravens are also biological control partners of ours.  These winged friends probe the ground all summer long feasting on cutworms.  Cutworms are a caterpillar species that feeds on the turf surface at night then burrow down during the daytime hours.  Cutworm feeding activity becomes a problem on the closely cut putting green surface.  Channels and frass piles left behind by night feeding will disrupt smooth ball roll. 
Vertical mowing on the greens during peak cutworm activity will also control the cutworm population.  This additional mechanical control has worked for us and reduces the need for a chemical application. 

Now if there were only a biological value to the Canadian Geese (we need our coyotes back) 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

USGA states it well

Two really good short reads below.
I encourage everyone click on the links and read.

This one is about golf cart use on a golf course
http://gsr.lib.msu.edu/article/white-buddy-11-30-12.pdf


This one is about an irrigation issue called the donut effect.  We currently have this issue on the Heritage course.  We are going to replace all of our fairway head nozzles next season to help provide a more uniform irrigation distribution of our already limited water supply.  The current nozzles in the fairway heads are original to the heads when installed in the 80's.
http://www.usga.org/course_care/regional_updates/regional_reports/northcentral/The-Dreaded-Donut---November-2012/

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

This early December warm up has lasted long enough to melt all of the snow off the greens for us.
The worst thing for our greens is an early winter a warm up that only partially melts the snow and leaves freestanding water on the surface which freezes solid.  Ice on the turf surface for extended periods (greater than 60 days) is our leading form of winter kill at MGC.

I made round four of snow fence repairs today.  This time only #4 Heritage had to be fixed and after the extreme high winds yesterday, I would say the other areas are good to go.

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