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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Grooming Greywalls

Greywalls course grooming:
After the first few years of play on Greywalls we began to establish a 'groom' list.  
This list is prioritized in the following order and outlines locations that:
1) effect pace of play and cause unwanded golfer frustration or has a high potential of golfer injury (hidden rocks)
2) have excessive weed/sapling growth and can not be sprayed with herbicides because of the extreme terrain.  
3) aesthetically need to be cleaned for visual appearance or has a site line issue.  

These areas typically are located on the perimeters just outside the turf areas that get maintain daily to weekly.  Over the years our list has evolved and grown.  

Some of our clients would like to see the course mowed wall to wall others would like more hazardous conditions everywhere; we are left with the task of creating that balance between the two ideas.  
I would like to share pictures outlining our thoughts on grooming Greywalls  

1-
This is the tree location to the left of 1 green.  This area was extremely thick with fescue and was a hot spot for ball hunting. A groom every 4-6 weeks has been very helpful.  
On the other side of 1 green we removed 8-12 trees and extended the maintained rough line about 15 yards.  
Other areas on 1 that we groom are along the rocks that boarder the fairway.  These areas get extra thick because of excess water and fertilizer from fairway maintenance.  Weed growth on the rocks will become overpowering if left alone.  

2-
The right side of 2 is a very popular location for all of the slices coming off the tee.  Mowing this area every 4-6 weeks at a height of 4" with an old rotary mower has really helped pace of play.  Before we started grooming this area a ball entering this jungle zone was next to impossible to find; yet everyone wanted to spend 5+ minutes doing so.  Now a ball hit in here can be identified easily and hit back into play.

The left side of 2 is another ball hotspot and it was slowly being taken over by broadleaf weeds making ball location difficult.  We decided to mow this area down this year so we could treat it with a herbicide.  
The rock dome before 2 green is groomed for safety and aesthetics.  Many miss hit balls end up here and it is nice to see how near the rock is to your ball.  

3-
We groom this area on 3 short of the approach for pace of play.  Excessive growth of many different plants makes it very thick in here yet people want to find their ball and spent a good amount of time looking.  Now it is an easier task.  
By 3 green we groom this thick area back left to help pace of play we also pushed the weekly maintained mow line 8-10 yards back on the right side of the green to fully open that ball collection area.  

4-
The left side of 4 is a very difficult area to groom, loose rock and extreme slope makes it a challenge.  I am exploring the option of a wide areas boomless nozzle for the old spray rig.  With the right set up I might be able to spray this area with a herbicide for weed control.  
For now We do what we can here with hand cutting to keep weed growth under control. 
The center fairway rock is groomed for safety and aesthetics.  
Many areas like behind 4 green are groomed to expose irrigation valves and controls.  
The right side of 4 fairway is groomed along the edge to expose the irrigation heads and to help balls release out and roll onto shorter cut turf.  

5-
We groom along the rock edges on 5 so balls do not get lost as often in these thick location.  
Grooming the turf in these areas also helps golfers see the rock below or behind a poorly struck ball.  

6-
The rocks on 6 are groomed for aesthetics and weed control.  We wish we had more time to focus on this hole.

7-
The center fairway rock on 7 is groomed for safety and aesthetics and pace of play.  If left unchecked the turf around it would gobble up golf balls.  
We extended the weekly mow line on the left side of 7 green.  This area was very long and thick; which because a pace of play issue.  We did the same to the right side and pushed the hazard stakes back 5-6' along the green.  

8-
We groom around the rock edges along 8 for safety and aesthetics.  
Behind 8 green is groomed for weed control.  If we can get these weeds cut down before they go to seed we can greatly reduce their numbers the following year.  

9-
The rocks on the fairway line are groomed for aesthetics and a visual aide for tee shots.  
All bunker banks are groomed every 4-6 weeks to minimize balls from hanging up on them.  
9 green surround is groomed for aesthetics and safety.  Many balls get chipped out of here and it is nice to see rock location around your resting ball. 

10-
The left side of 10 is groomed along the rock for pace of play.  
The left of 10 green and around 18 black tee is groomed for pace of play and weed control.  Many long hitter pull their balls into this areas and it was causing pace issues.  Now golf balls can be easily identified and hacked out.  I must note again these large areas are cut at 4" every 4-6 weeks so it is no walk in the park getting the ball out; we just want to eliminate the need to hunt for a ball for 5 minutes and never find it. 

11-
11 tee area is groomed for weed control.  This entire area is a topic of another blog post outlining its issues with stumps buried below.  
The amphitheater bank behind 11 green is groomed for pace of play and weed control.  Lots of balls go long into this hill behind the green.    
The collection area below and to the left of 11 green is groomed along the edge for pace of play.  If a ball misses left with a right to left ball flight it would usually find its way into the fescue edge which was excessively thick.  

12/13
The natural patch between 12/13 is groomed with our rotary grooming mower.  This area obviously created a pace of play issue with balls off 12 and 13 tees.  

14-
The valley on 14 and area between 14/16 is marked lateral hazard but is groomed 1-2 times a year for weed and sapling control.  

15-
The front hill on 15 and the rocks are groomed for weed control.  Pace of Play and Safety is also a factor along the rock areas.  

16-
The area off 16 tee is groomed as a site line issue.  When the natural area is left to grow to its full potential height the fairway can not be seen from the tee surface.  By just cutting the area to 4" a sliver of the fairway can be seen on the tee; which gives mental ease to a first time player.  

17-
The area by 17 tee is now being groomed with our old rotary for several reasons.  The weeds were out of control here and a single spring herbicide application would not control them all.  Mowing will allow turf to re-establish after spraying.  The second reason is we need to slide traffic coming off 18 tee over before the path edge there gets worn down to the fairway.  

18-
This middle right area on 18 is now being groomed at the request of our lady members.  It was pointed out that many of them hit into this very thick edge off of their tee and it was causing pace of play issues on many league nights.  
This location is Further proof that member Feedback has a positive effect on course playability.  
Hill left of 18 green pre-mow
Hill left of 18 green post mow
Grooming This areas is all about weed control.  There is a very high population of spotted Knapweed growing here.  Mowing it down before it goes to seed is key for keeping this noctious weed under control on the golf course.  

We do mow the entire course (natural areas) down starting in mid-September.  This complete mowing takes care of many sapling growth areas and keeps the grass under control and alive.  
These are low maintenance areas because we do not maintain them all on a weekly basis but they are not 'no' maintenance areas.  A balance must be reached because our number 1 overall priority on the grounds department is managing the playing surface for the game of golf.  

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