Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Course Update 4/17/12

Good Afternoon,

This year I am serving on the 2012 Government Relations Committee for our professional organization – Golf Course Superintendent’s Association of America (GCSAA). Specifically this committee is charged with providing strategic input and guidance on public policy issues in the areas of advocacy and compliance on topics including, but not limited to: the environment, workplace safety, labor and immigration, the Americans with Disabilities Act, water, and pesticide laws and regulations. One way that we go about this is by attending National Golf Day in Washington, DC. I will be in Washington from the 16th through the 18th. As a committee member I will get the opportunity to discuss several key issues not only with fellow superintendents, but with different legislators including: Rep. Sam Graves, House Small Business Committee Chair, and staff from the offices of Kay Bailey Hutchison, John Cornyn, and Francisco Canseco. Thank you for allowing me to take part in this committee.

In order to provide a thourough update on course conditions I have decided to share my notes for this evening's board meeting the blog:

Notes for Board Meeting 4/17/12
  • Back in Stage 1
  • Greens improving on both courses
  • Tees struggling on the South
  • Other Issues
  • No waterfalls
  • Reductions in our annual allotment (10% per each day in Stage 1)
  • No watering during day
  • Please remind everyone to pair up and follow cart signs
  • Greens improving due to:
    • Warmer temperatures
    • Frequent topdressing
    • Steadily lowering mowing heights
    • Frequent light aeration, spiking, and hand topdressing
    • Dedicated spray program - including growth regulator (Primo)
  • Both North and South are ready to begin vertical mowing
    • Grain removal
    • Thatch removal
    • Encourages new growth
  • Possible light core aeration at the end of this month (same process as used on South last year)
  • Most likely going to sod small portions of 6 S, 7 S, and possible S Putting Green
  • Why do the South tees look so bad?
    • They are simply worn out – several of the tees are too small
    • Severely contaminated
      • Originally planted to Emerald, the same grass that is on the greens, which is very slow to recover from damage, and to begin growing in the Spring
      • Common bermuda and TifSport bermuda have taken advantage of the slow growing nature of Emerald, and green up much faster in the spring
      • Basically many of the tees are composed of two to three different grasses – all with different growth habits. These growth habits are more obvious in the spring and fall.
    • What are we going to do about it?
      • Provide adequate growing conditions for all of the grasses – fertilize, aerate, vertical mow, etc. All of these practices combined with warmer temperatures will help the tees recover and disguise much of the contamination
      • Sod a few tee boxes every year– Re-sodding the tees is the only way to remove the contamination. Currently we have plans to re-sod several of the South tees, beginning with 9 and 15. We would also like to get 2,3 and/or 18 and 12 done if possible this year.
      • With warmer, longer days and proper cultural practices we will see dramatic improvements on the tees in the next month or so.
  • Complaints about North greenside bunkers
    • Lots of fried egg lies
    • Too soft
    • Why are they like this?
      • Several of the bunkers still need to settle from liner removal
      • We must keep some sand on the bunker faces to help eliminate contamination, and to protect the bunkers
      • Less use of overhead sprinklers for watering greens
        • The greenside bunkers only receive irrigation when we water the greens
        • In an effort to eliminate wet spots around the greens we have significantly reduced our usage of the overhead sprinklers – through hand watering greens
        • This has resulted in drier bunkers and softer sand
    • What are we doing about it?
      • Changing our methods for raking bunkers (the faces are raked less often)
      • Pushing sand down off of the faces
      • Watering with the overhead sprinklers at different intervals
  • Project on 13T and 4T
    • Should begin this week
    • We were able to get permission to keep the Mountain Laurel left of the path
    • We will be re-routing carts on 13 to allow for room for construction
    • A large retaining wall we will built using rocks from on property
  • Driving Range Tee
    • We currently have plans to establish a small practice hitting area at the back of the range
    • This area could be used for junior clinics, lessons, etc.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Course Update 4/6/12

Happy Easter!

I would like to start today's post by introducing two of our new crew members:
Birdie and Socks

Birdie and Socks were born with 6 other siblings on #6 Tee on the South Course on January 23rd. The newborn pups along with their mother were moved to our pump station, and given food and water. Unfortunately the mother, believed to be a Lab/Chow mix, left after about three days - leaving us with the entire litter. We moved the puppies to the maintenance facility and began a rigorous bottle feeding schedule that lasted about three weeks. Mike McCarty and his wife Heidi led the effort with help from myself and a few others. Ultimately we were able to save 6 of the original 8 puppies. At 6 weeks old Mike and Heidi were able to find homes for four, but we decided that we needed to keep Birdie and Socks. They are now just over 10 weeks old and doing very well. The next step is training them to eat weeds and chase geese.

Mike and Isidro bottle feeding the 2 week old pups.
Both courses have benefited from the recent rains and warm temperatures. These conditions have definitely helped get the bermuda grass going, and as such we have already started shifting our cultural practices, mowing heights, and spray applications to our summer programs.

We made substantial progress on the greens on both courses since my last post. The Mini Verde on the North Course is filling in nicely. The Emerald on the South greens and tees is finally starting to get going. We currently putting the same practices in effect on the South greens that the North received about two and half weeks ago. One of the drawbacks to Emerald is that it is slow to start growing in the Spring. I predict that in the next two to three weeks we see significant improvements on the South greens and Tees.

We completed out Spring pre-emerge and fertilizer application on Monday the 26th of March. Mike, Isidro, and the rest of the crew did an excellent job getting the product out after the Monday outings - finishing all 36 holes by dark. This combination of fertilizer and herbicide will definitely help the tees, fairways, and roughs.

Thank you all for your support and have a great Easter.