Friday, August 26, 2011

Course Update 8/26/11

North Course: We are almost ready to re-open! The greens are healthy enough to support play and putting quality is improving daily. We look forward to re-opening the course for Labor Day weekend. Please keep in mind a few things as you return to the course:
  1. The greens are healthy enough to support play
  2. The greens will not be perfect when we open
  3. Putting quality will continue to improve into October
  4. We will be CART PATH ONLY when the course opens
  5. The course will be closed during the week.
I have been asked by several members how well the greens will be putting next weekend. We feel that the greens are definitely playable, however they will be significantly slower and bumpier than the South. Putting quality will continue to improve throughout September and into October. We have an aggressive plan that will not only improve the greens, but also prepare them for their first Winter. Due to the drought, we have been forced to drastically reduce our water use in the roughs. It is absolutely necessary that we open the North as cart path only. Please help us protect the course by following all of the cart restrictions.

The entire crew has done an excellent job preparing the North greens for play. The list below give you a glimpse at some the practices that were completed last week.

Monday - Mow greens at .150" with smooth roller, topdress, work sand in, hand water
Tuesday - Mow greens at .150" with smooth roller, aerate with solid tine, hand water, double roll, heavy water with overhead sprinklers
Wednesday - Mow greens at .150" with smooth roller, finish aerating, finish rolling, hand water, begin spraying fungicide
Thursday - Mow greens at .150" with smooth roller, roll greens, hand water, complete fungicide app, edge greens, pull runners, adjust mowers
Friday - Mow greens at 145" with grooved rollers, roll greens, hand water, fertilize, pull runners

Isidro fertilizing #6 Green

#14 Green on 8/26
 South Course: We are getting closer and closer to going cart path only. If we do not get a break in the weather very soon then it will be necessary to restrict carts to paths on both courses. Please continue to stay on the paths as much as possible, and avoid driving through areas that look to be stressed.

We have taken several precautions to protect the greens on both courses from this weekends expected record high temperatures. Crew members will be hand watering greens throughout the day Saturday and Sunday in order to help cool the grass. This can be a difficult task during heavy play, and we are often forced to water in between groups. Please be patient and allow our staff perform this important task. In addition to hand watering, we applied a preventative fungicide and will be limiting practices such as double cutting and rolling. As a result, I expect the greens to be putting slightly slower this weekend.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Course Update 8/19

Drought: We are getting closer and closer to Stage 3 restrictions. As of the this morning the 10-day average of the J-17 monitoring well is at 642.0. Once this average dips below 640 we will be Stage 3 for a minimum of 30 days. This will change our overall reduction in irrigation from 30% to 35%. For more information on the drought restrictions and aquifer level please visit: . Last week I participated in a nationwide web cast discussing the short and long term effects of the drought on golf courses. Please check out a quick summary of the meeting by clicking here The Green Section Record. I encourage you to subscribe to this free weekly update from the USGA.

The following link takes you to the USGA's website where you can view the web cast. It is about an hour long so please allow time for it to download. You will be required to enter your name but do not need to enter a recording key. The link:  Golf Drought Webcast .

North Course: The greens are filling in nicely. We estimate approximately 90% coverage at this point. Our goal now is to continue topdressing, mowing, and fertilizing in order to get the greens ready for a "soft opening" around Labor Day weekend. Over the last several weeks we have steadily been dropping the height of cut (HOC) from .250" to .150". We will continue to drop the height until over the next few weeks. Please keep in mind a few key points as we return to playing the North Course. 1) I can assure you that the greens will not be opened until they are healthy enough to support play. 2) The greens will certainly be playable; however will not provide optimum putting conditions when we first open. This is normal for new greens. They will continue to get better into October of this year, but will not fully mature until next season. 3) We will be cart path only on the North for quite some time. The extreme drought has taken its toll on the entire course. The fairways and particularly the roughs simply cannot support cart traffic at this time. Thank you for your understanding as this is absolutely necessary in order to protect playing conditions long-term.

Ramiro Valenciano hand watering 18 Green on 8/13

South Course: We completed our third aeration of the year on Monday. Many of the holes are still visible however the greens have almost returned to normal putting quality. We are planing to verticut and topdress following the ESPN Challenge on Monday. The mowing heights on the roughs have been raised from 1.5" to 2" as we are already starting to prepare for the fall and winter. HOC's on tees, greens, and fairways will also steadily be raised as we move into September.

Irrigation Technician - Mike Lang created this to help water the dry area in front of 4 Green

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Course Update 8/13

It's official - This is now the driest 10 month stretch on record! There are many short and long term problems associated with extended drought conditions on golf courses. I wanted to take a moment to list a few of them.

Short Term:
  1. Weak and thinning turf
  2. Increased damage from traffic
  3. Yellowing and inconsistent turf density
  4. Irrigation system damage from swelling and contracting of soil
  5. Increased utility cost from increased pumping for irrigation
  6. More labor used for hand watering - takes away from other areas of the course
  7. Extreme temperatures reduce plant growth - even on bermuda grass
  8. Higher mowing heights
  9. Reduced play = less revenue for clubs
  10. Increased damage to well pumps - the wells must work harder as the water table continues to drop
Long Term:
  1. Wear and tear on irrigation system from increased usage
  2. Long term damage to turfgrass - may not recover until next summer
  3. Increased number of weeds when rain returns
    1. Weed seeds will not germinate until rainfall
    2. Extreme heat limits the use of herbicides such as Fall pre-emergent
    3. Thin or weak turf will be very susceptible to invasion by weeds
  4. Practices such as overseeding may not be an option for many clubs because of water restrictions and agronomic implications
  5. If we have a hard winter then winter kill will be much more prominent than in years past
  6. It will take many months of rain to return water tables to normal levels
  7. Increased pressure from media outlets and public for golf courses to be limited on water
  8. Damage to cart paths as a result of swelling and compacting of soil

We have three main goals for both courses right now:
  1. Maintain South Course at a high level
  2. Prepare North Course for re-opening
  3. Limit the damage from the drought on both courses 
 North Course:

We are working around the clock to get the greens ready as soon as possible. Currently we are still hoping to open in early to mid September. Please keep in mind that the greens will not be perfect when we re-open. It takes a full year for the greens to mature and provide quality putting surfaces. I have listed a few notes about the greens below:
  • Mowing heights have been lowered to .200" and greens are mowed about 3 times a week
  • We have started spraying the greens - allows for soluble fertilizer and plant protectants to be applied
  • Greens will be heavily topdressed again on Monday
  • The extended 100+ degree temps slow down growth and may delay opening

#6 Green on 8/12

#6 Green on 8/12
South Course: We are planning another light aeration from Monday, August 15th. This will be the same small coring tines and process that has taken place twice this year already. This process is absolutely necessary to ensure that the greens will continue to put well long term. Thank you for patience with this matter. We expect the greens to return to normal putting by the end of the week.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Course Update 8/5

The drought continues.... Take a look at the map below showing the 90-Day compared to normal rainfall. Hopefully we will get some relief soon. Please continue to stay on the cart paths as much as possible. Thank you to all of you who have been pairing up. We are doing everything possible to avoid going cart path only, however it is certainly a possibility if we do not get some rain soon.

Currently we have three main objectives: 1) Get the North Greens ready as soon as possible. 2) Maintain the South at a high level. 3) Keep the grass alive through hand watering on both courses. On any given day we may have between 4 and 8 guys hand watering tees and greens on both courses. In addition, our Horticulturalist - Gary Tupa, and 2 more guys spend a good portion of their day hand watering all of the ornamentals and flower beds. The 100+ degree temperatures also affect the progress on the North Greens. The heat will not kill the greens but it will certainly slow down lateral growth. We are constantly "syringing" or misting the greens throughout the heat of the day to offset the heat as much as possible.

A lot has happened on both courses since my last post. Below is list of some of the things that have been going on:

North Course:
  1. Greens doing well - on schedule for Mid-September opening
  2. Greens are rolled, mowed, watered, and/or fertilized daily.
  3. Greens were topdressed Monday - and will recieve heavy topdressing weekly
  4. Tees, Fairways, some Rough - fertilized on 7/30
  5. Topdressed several fairways with the old greensmix
  6. #1 Tee landscaping project
  7. Hand Water everyday

#6 Green on 7/30

#6 Green on 7/30

Topdressing the Nursery greens

Topdressing 6 Fairway
South Course
  1. Greens aerated with needle tines on 8/1
  2. Greens fertilized with two times on 8/1
  3. Tees, Fairways, some Rough - fertilized on 8/1
  4. Currently developing an updated plan bunker improvements
  5. Hand Water everyday