Friday, February 24, 2012

Course Update 2/24/12

I would like to begin by thanking everyone for their support of Pasqual's family over the last couple of weeks. With help from Sergio, Guy, Chef Rafael, and Brenda we were able to provide a great meal for the family, as well as hold a memorial service in the main ballroom. In addition, our crew combined with Chef Rafael's staff to provide substantial monetary donations to help cover costs that the family has incurred. Pasqual's wife, Judy, asked me to offer her thanks and to let everyone know that Pasqual truly enjoyed being a part of our family here at Sonterra.

A lot has gone on since my last post, and I would like to spend a few moments updating everyone on several key areas.

A quick note about all the WEEDS :

The unseasonably warm winter and recent rains have definitely increased the weed pressure. The large number of weeds is also related to the drought. The lack of rain resulted in low seed germination of weeds for most of the year. Basically, there is a lot of weed seed in the ground and the recent rains and warm weather have caused much of the seed to germinate. Further complicating the issue - we have been unable to apply pre-emergent herbicides and limited post-emergent herbicides to areas that were severely drought stressed because of potential injury to the desired turf. There are two basic types of weeds - broadleaves and grasses. The broadleaf weeds are much easier and less expensive to kill, and we have been actively spraying over the last few weeks, primarily on the North. The grassy weeds are much more difficult and  expensive to kill. Therefore, we are fairly liberal with our broadleaf applications, but must restrict our grassy weed applications to priority areas such as fairways and green surrounds. We are definitely aware of the problem are trying to make the most of every opportunity to treat the weeds. In order to properly apply the herbicides we need little or no wind, proper soil moisture, and prefer warm temperatures. In addition, it can be a challenge at times to find a window under these conditions when the courses have relatively low play. In conclusion, we definitely have some issues with weeds right now, and we are dedicated to getting rid of them as soon as possible.

North Course:
  • Greens - The greens are now only about 7 months old. Overall they are very healthy and we look forward to great summer. There a few thin or weak areas in places that can be attributed to shade, traffic, maturity, or in most cases - a combination of all three. However, this is to be expected and most of these areas should recover as we move into warmer temperatures and longer days. Over the last two weeks we have topdressed, lightly aerated, fertilized, and applied various plant protect ants. 
  • Tees/Fwys - The recent rains and warm temperatures are helping improve turf conditions throughout the course. The tees and fairways are no exception. With no competition from overseed and little more rain we should be in good shape come Spring. We will be applying our Spring pre-emerge over the next few weeks.
  • Roughs - The roughs are still struggling in many places. The rains have been beneficial, but we still have a long ways to go in order to recover from last years drought damage. Please keep carts out of areas that look weak or thin.
  • Bunkers- We have now removed the liners on 1 through 12. We are continuing to work on the bunkers but have been forced to take a short break in order to catch up on routine maintenance of the course.
  • Irrigation- We have been busy making several improvements to the irrigation system. Currently we are replacing three to four isolation valves per week, making progress on our GPS mapping, and preparing for the replacement of our pump station. All of these improvements will help us better manage water this coming summer.
  • Other- We are currently planning to make changes beneath the power lines between 4 and 13. CPS is requiring us to lower the area between 4 and 13 tee complexes in order to be in compliance with federal power line safety guidelines. The work will not effect the tee boxes and should take place sometime in April. I will post more at a later date.

Bernardo Rameriz compacts the new sand in #3 bunkers

South Course:
  • Greens- All of the greens are doing very well, with the exception of the practice putting green. The putting green is simply worn out from traffic. I expect it to be fine as we get into warmer weather.
  • Tees/Fwys- Conditions are similar to that on the North. The recent rains and unseasonable warm weather have definitely helped. Currently we are mowing tees and fairways on both courses about one time per week.
  • Bunkers - We have been constantly working on bunkers on the South. We have added sand to numerous holes, and recently completely re-constructed the drainage on the greenside bunker right of 5 green.
  • Native Areas- Earlier this week began cutting the native areas. This is annual process that helps the native grasses look better throughout the summer.
  • Other- We have started leveling sunken irrigation and drainage ditches in fairways and approaches. This week we leveled the grass atop two drain lines in 4 fairway. In addition, we modifeid the drainage on 12  to eliminate the wet spot left of the green.
The new drain on 12G
Mike, Roger, Beto, and Nacho install new drainage on #5
Landscape: Horticulturalist, Gary Tupa, and his team have been very busy working to improve the landscaping around the tennis courts and fitness facility. The have removed large areas of Asiatic Jasmine, re-designed the irrigation, and added mulched beds with numerous new plantings.
One of the finished beds at court #1

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pascual Solis

Today is a sad day for our family at Sonterra. Pascual Solis, one of our crewmembers, passed away last night at Baptist Hospital surrounded by his family and friends. He suffered from cardiac arrest at his home last Saturday morning and ultimately was not able to recover. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. He is survived by his wife, two grown daughters, several grand children, and many other relatives, including two of our current crewmembers – Juan Castillo and Candelario “Benny” Gonzales. Pascual will be missed by all who knew him. 

A memorial service will be held on Monday at 3:00pm in the Main Ballroom at The Club at Sonterra. Please feel free to attend. The Club will also be providing a meal for the family today and monetary donations from employees throughout the club. Please check the blog in the next few days for more information on Pascual.

Course Update 2/3/12

We received .75" of an inch of rain this week, and there is more in the forecast for this weekend. Every bit of rain helps, however we are still a long ways from being out of the drought. The good news is that aquifer has come up quite a bit - keeping us in Stage 1 for the near future.

North Course: This week we continued to work on the bunker liners. The greenside bunkers on 1,2,4,5,6,7,8 and 11 are now complete. We will be moving to 3 and 10 next. The greens were sprayed on Monday with a combination of fertilizer and herbicide (to remove poa annua). We will be lightly aerating and topdressing the greens this coming Monday. This light aeration will be the same process completed on the South earlier this week, and should help the greens be more receptive. We made herbicide applications to several areas of the course to help control the broad leaf and grassy weeds.

South Course: The crew continued to clear brush and remove tree limbs along the perimeters of the course. In addition, the greens were aerated, topdressed, and sprayed. The extended warm conditions have actually created some growth on the greens. While they are far from actively growing, we actually had a significant amount of clippings this morning. See picture below. Sand was also added to several bunkers including 15,4,6, 11, and 18.
Mike McCarty and Israel Garcia inspect clippings early this morning