Saturday, March 28, 2015

Frost damage on turf

Cold clear nights can cause frost to form on the surface of grass.  Traffic on those areas with frost can cause major damage and even death to very short cut turf like on a putting surface.  The course can not be played on or maintained until the frost melts off.  
The fall of 2013, after closing the Greywalls course down for the winter, someone was out walking on the property in the morning.  They ignored our ropes on 6 green and walked across the surface.  Every single footprint killed the grass below and in the spring of 2014 we had to make the repairs.  It took two plugs for every step.  
Just a reminder as lead into another golfing season.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Green speed history

Here is a nice comparison to stimpmeter green speed readings at some of the countries best clubs over a 30 year span.  
Everyone talks about this topic especially during Masters weekend.  
I want to remind everyone that the real quality of a putting surface is in the quality of the ball roll or smoothness of the surface.  A firm true putting surface can only take place when proper and adequate vertical mowing and sand topdressing is the backbone of the cultural program.  
Another factor in ball roll quality; especially during evening rounds is proper Ballmark or pitch mark repair by the golfers.  Everyone must do their part.  

The new aggressive golf spikes are also not helping putting quality esp. on moist rainy days.  Does someone need so much traction that it destroys the quality for the golfers behind them?  I don't think so and the shoe manufactures must make changes.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Snow melt evaluation on the Heritage course

One of my favorite times of year is snowmelt; not just because golf season is right around the corner but because I can evaluate all of our Snowmold applications.  
I toured the Heritage course today and from what I see (so far) the greens, tees and approaches look fantastic.  The fairways are a bit puzzling at this point.  Some fairways look wonderful yet other had significant Snowmold damage even when sprayed with the same products.  Control is never 100% because we only use two active ingredients at lower rates on the fairways.  The economics and the difference in the recovery threshold on that higher cut fairway turf surface make it possible to allow some degree of injury; knowing the fairways will recover after a few short weeks.  
Pictures below will show results and some of the mystery so far.  
7 Green Heritage - A deep snow drift remains on the right side but the left side looks wonderful.  This is usually the last location on the Heritage to melt. 

12 Green Heritage 80% clear and looking outstanding

A close up of the exposed corner on putting green next to the Proshop.  Note the sand from the heavy fall application made right after the final fungicide spray. This sand protects the crown and insulates the green for the winter.  

Holes on the putting surface from our late fall solid tine aerification.  Having those open holes help move water off the surface and reduces the risk of ice build up at the crown level.  

The effects of our heavy Milorganite application on top of the heavy sand topdressing.  The black organic fertilizer floats into and surface water and aids in breaking up ice with the power of sunlight.  

The green Approach on number 2 Heritage with 95%+ Snowmold control and the brown fairway which is highly infected with Snowmold.  Note the two green tire track.  As I left the apporach last fall with the spray rig the tires picked up and tracked some of the approach mix out on the fairway.  

This picture is on 18 green bank.  It shows a slight drip of the nozzle while turning direction.  Snowmold control in a drip line.  

This is where things get very puzzling for me.  This is 9 fairway Heritage.  I had to refill the spray rig after spraying the left side.  The same mix was applied on the right side yet a much different control was achieved.  Only thing I can figure is the product did not mix properly in the tank?? I will be evaluating my detailed notes a little more after this result.  
The lower crowns are still green on the right side so it will recover; it will just take a few weeks after temperatures rise and moderate.  

17 approach right of red line and fairway left of red line.  Snowmold Disease pressure is always highest on 15-16-17-18  fairways so I use a mixture with more active ingredients.  The results look good once again.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Additions to our Equipment fleet

Our maintenance fleet got much stronger on Wednesday as we traded in our John Deere 5210 and took delivery of an updated John Deere 4066R.  The 5210 was only 2wd so it's use was limited to the Heritage course.  The 4066R is 4wd and has a climate controled cab making work during adverse conditions a non issue.  
We also purchased a Weidenmann Super 600.  This unit will be used to verticut the fairways; which must happen to manage our thatch levels on Greywalls because core aerification is limited due to the granite in the ground.  This unit will also flail mow native areas and complete leaf and stick cleanup with easy.  The Super 600 has a self contained hopper that collects the material and lifts 7 feet before dumping.  The collection box on this unit will reduce required man power for clean-up by 2-3.  Firmer and healthier turf is on the horizon at MGC.  
The Pronovost three way dump trailer was also added to haul away and dump material while vertical mowing fairways.  It will also be a huge time saver while competing tree work and sapling removal.  It will drastically reduce the travel time wasted to dump a load when using smaller cart beds.  
All three of these will create even more efficiencies within our operation at MGC.  
The New 4066R being pulled off the delivery trailer and touching MGC property for the first time.  

4066R backing up to hook up to the a Super 600.  

A fantastic tractor...I am very impressed!

Super 600 lifted in the dump position.  7 foot aerial lift before dumping.  

Pronovost 3-way dump trailer.  A huge time saver.  

We say good-bye to an old work horse...the 5210.  This unit has plenty of life left in it and will be a great addition to a course with easier terrain.  We wish it the best :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cart Barn reorganization

The original old Red maintenance barn at the Heritage course is no longer safe to even walk in and is coming down.  The loss of that leaky barn left us in need of some cold storage for some of our equipment.  
The club leased Proshop carts were also being forced in the corner of barn C.  That parking scenario was very inefficient and created a potential for cart damage when parked so tight.  
We did an inventory of the three lower parking lot cart barns and found out there was not even enough member carts to fill up two barns.  
The club owned equipment storage dilemma was discussed in our managers meetings.  We had two options 1.) build a new building, which is expensive and not an immediate solution to a current problem or 2.) efficiently utilize the current storage buildings owned by MGC.  The more effective and efficient manner of parking (option 2) was recommended at a board meeting and it was approved.  It was a quick decision because it costs no money and was immediate.  
We took advantage of last Sunday and Mondays warm weather to reorganize and clean the three barns.  Cart barn A and Cart barn C are now member cart storage barns and cart barn B is now used to store maintenance equipment on the left and Proshop carts to the right.  
A great solution and great result.  Marc and I are very happy to become more organized and efficiently utilizes our spaces.  

Poa control

It is no secret that bentgrass survives longer under winter ice than Poa annua and that turns out to be a nice advantage on our newer bentgrass greens on the Greywalls.   This is the only location that I found significant ice this winter under the 2-3 foot snowpack.  The ice accumulated after a December warmup and just happened to be on the first tee putting green.  This is also the location where Poa is highest on the Greywalks greens because it is planted there by golf shoes.  The spikes on golf shoes pick up Poa seed from the Heritage or other courses and then they are planted on the first few holes as golfer play.  This is a fine example of why it is so very important to clean your spikes at the Proshop after every round.  
Poa death from durational ice cover

A close up of a dead Poa clump.  Note the healthy bentgrass.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

traveled down to Milwaukee last week for the biannual Reinders Turf Conference.  This is the best two day educational seminar in the country put on by a distributor.  They attract many great speakers from around the country to give talks on an mulitude of subject relating to our industry.  Most of the companies that Reinders represents set up a booth and you have the opportunity to talk to them one on one.  
Always a must see/go to event especially since it is so economical.  
The main show room floor

Dr Vargas from MSU has presented at every Reinders show for 40+ years.  He is always entertaining and informative.  

The always engaging Dr. Kerns from NC State was also on hand to present data and discuss his resent findings.  
Dr. Kerns

This was a very valuable talk about wire tracking.  I was able to ask many questions and see up close demonstrations on how several different Tracking products work.  
The owner of Armada Tech. did a wonderful job fielding questions and explaining how to properly use the technology.  

Turf breeder Dr. Brilman from Seed Research gave a great lecture on the newest bentgrass varieties and how they compare in trials.  
A slide showing bentgrass Density

I took a shuttle over to the Reinders main facility on day 2 so I could learn more about wire and hydraulic troubleshooting.  A fantastic discussion with knowledge that I can apply immediately on the job.  

Thank you Reinders!  I look forward to your next show in 2017

Turf report

So far so good this early melt down season.  The turf that is exposed in the high spots looks wonderful if treated for Snowmold in the fall (Greens-Tees-Fwys).  The humidity was low last week during the warm up and there was a nice breeze so no big puddles formed that could refreze and cause other issues to our turf.
16 approach H looks great
Note the spray lines.  When turf is not treated up here Snowmold will dominate the surface and cause damage.  

High disease pressure on upper 16 fairway H is controlled well with a two a.i. Mixture

16 green H looks fantastic

Reel grinding

Reel rebuilding and grinding is coming to an end in the shop for me which is good because that means spring is just around the corner.  Our seasonal mechanical staff will be starting soon and relieving me of the bulk shop duties so I can begin to focus on the final hiring of grounds staff and begin work in the field as the snowpack recedes.  By the time we need a mower on the turf they should all be ready to provide the highest quality cut possible to our emerging grass plants.  
Here is a close up look at a modified roller and bracket I created with the help of our local machine shop.  I had an issue with the reels digging into some of our green edges in areas that the greens took a sharp upward swoop on the edge.    This is a groomer roller that we machined to fit our 15 blade greens reels.  Works perfectly.  Our great turf equipment manufacturers come out with wonderful products but because every property is unique, modifications are necessary to enhance the ability of the equipment.  

Another look at the roller and bracket positioning 

15 blade reels are wonderful and provide a glass surface to the putting greens but you really must pay attention and have perfect positioning when completing a relief grind.  

Complete and Ready to be put back on the machines.

Heavy Fairway reels ready to go.  It's always nice to have help lifting these as they are a back buster.  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

New course signage

New directional signs for Greywalls are in production right now at the shop.  
This need stems from listening to feedback from our playing guests.  Flush bathroom on the property is always the number one question followed by the direction signage.  We listen and try to act on positive feedback as time and monetary funds allow.  
The issue with our older wood signs is they became difficult to see as the weather faded the wood.  If it is your first time playing the course the signs were easy to pass up thus causing confusion in some locations and potentially leading to a wrong or missed turn. 
Stacks of cut and routed signs
The letter template gauge set up for perfect routing 
We use composite decking boards to build these signs, it is easy to cut, route and will be low maintenance.  These new signs will last for many many years.  
A close up view of a board reveals their true natural wood look.  We want the signs to blend in to the natural surrounding but not so much that you can not see them.  The older wood signs had to be sanded and resealed every year but over time they became to faded. 
We cut directional arrows on the ends to indicate the proper direction of travel.  
The letters are routed and the small frayed edges are trimmed off.  
Painting the lettering Black makes the signs Pop!!
The ends will be painted a darker brown to complete the finished look we are trying to achieve.
New 4x4 posts will be installed to mount the signs on.  
I am looking forward to enhancing the Greywalls experience with these unique customized signs.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

We took our first delivery two weeks ago.  Our hybrid Eclipse Greensmower and our GP400 returned to us after recieving several factory mandated updates.  These were completed at no cost to us and I thank Jacobsen for standing behind their products and keeping the customer happy. 
We also took delivery of our seed for the season and our drums of wetting agents.  Ordering early and in bulk saves money plus we then have the products that we utilizes on hand to use as needed.  The summer months are much to busy to worry about ordering everything, so I take the time in the winter to strategically plan bulk orders and delivery dates for the products we use every season.  

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