Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Another beautification project in progress! The island at the end of the parking lot before the condos is getting a new look. We are working with the POA on this venture. The trees in the island were removed and rock curbing is being installed. When we are finished, we will re-landscape the area.
As a community service project, we have maintained agronomic programs on the Highlands School soccer field for the last 5-6 years. Today we aerified the field. With limited state and county funding, we are doing the athletic program at HHS a huge favor. There isn't anything more important than supporting the kids and students in this community.
Each year as you know, we spend a substantial amount of time with tree work. One of my challenges is deciding which trees to focus on. There are numerous old trees on the golf course, like the white pine above, that need to come down. However, they are in non visible areas. Also, we have numerous dead hemlocks that need removed. On top of that, there are trees that impact turf quality that need to be removed. It is my job to find the balance of these 3 given a fixed budget. Of course, I tend to lean towards removing those trees that impact turf quality by blocking sunlight. This year however, we are focusing more on dead hemlocks.
The staff put down a tractor trailer load of bluegrass on the 6th hole this morning.
Above, is the pile of aerification plugs removed from the greens yesterday. This is a lot of organic matter, impacting roughly 8% of the putting surface. Below, those holes will be filled with about 110 tons of new sand. It's a satisfying job!
Monday, November 24, 2014
The footprint of the teaching building is quite evident now that the foundation is dug. I am exciting to announce that from this point on, Head Golf Professional, Ken Mattis, PGA, will be giving you updates on the progress of the teaching center on the blog! Look for weekly detailed updates right here. Ken and I are looking at ways to expand our blogging to include the entire golf experience from the Golf Professional Staff to the Department of Agronomy. I like the sound of that...Department of Agronomy! It sounds like an official branch of the US government!
Speaking of the range tee, check out the soil profile. You can see the native soil on the bottom followed by 6" of sand/peat mix. The dark brown area below the grass is the organic matter layer, also known as thatch. Some thatch is good. Too much thatch means the surface will hold water and will be soft. We have been working extra hard to eliminate or reduce this layer. The only way to get it done is through core aerification. This is the reason I have been so aggressive with aerification, verticutting and topdressing on the range tee. I have been quite effective but unfortunately at some point, we will need to strip the sod, get all these organics out of there, add additional new sand, laser level and resod. Organic matter accumulates from old grass, dead roots etc, clogging up the valuable air space around sand particles.
On the 17th hole, we've been dealing with this perennial wet area. Rather than adding additional drain pipe, we excavated the area to a 10" depth. We will re-install our drain pipe and then cap the area with 10" of sand. this will ensure good water movement and drainage. In our climate, it is amazing the lengths we go to repair poor drainage. We do things in the mountains that most golf courses wouldn't think of!
This is a photo of the sand in the bunker on #1...the new sand we are trying. After 3" of rain on Sunday, I walked through the bunker and still sank down an inch. Our other bunkers are rock hard. This shows how well draining and playable this sand will be.
Given the current weather and the long range forecast, I pulled the trigger today on our greens aerification. Our original plan was December 1; next Monday. However, cooler weather is on the way and it looks like the greens may be frozen again next week. I can't stress the importance of these cultural practices and they simply can't be put off due to weather or our desire to wait until we are officially closed. Greens aerification will directly affect the success we have next season. With play minimal, not many are even affected by this. Topdressing will occur next Monday, keeping the greens playable for the few golfers we expect over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The final product really isn't too bad to putt on. Of course, the aren't rolling a smooth 11 feet!
Today's forecast is calling for unseasonably warm temperatures with highs potentially reaching into the 60's! After 3" of rain yesterday it does appear that the storm is finally past us. Tuesday's forecast is another warmer day, while things will begin to cool back down Wednesday. It looks like the weather will be clear, but colder for Thanksgiving and into the weekend.
On the golf course this week we have a very busy but short week given the Thanksgiving holiday. This morning we will be out first thing aerifying greens. With warmer temperatures the past three days it has given the ground a chance to thaw, which can be very rare this time of year. Temperatures are forecast to cool back down throughout the weekend which could potentially freeze the ground again, keeping us from aerifying greens until a later date. All the greens will be aerifyied, cleaned and rolled to ensure they are still playable. Also this week, we have 2 truck loads of sod being delivered for the rough on #6. Please continue to check back with us for updates on your golf course!