Lost but not forgotten

This month is quickly coming to a close and we have enjoyed some spectacular weather to play golf. We have been maintaining playing surfaces and rough on a as needed basis. Lately, the vast majority of our time is spent raking, blowing, and mulching up leaves on the property.

Next week looks much cooler and we will do a final mowing of the property. Historically we stop maintaining the grass in late October. Our final mowing of the greens will be late next week or early the following week. I grow the greens out and let them get “shaggy”. This enables them to capture and store more energy for the winter months. This extra stored energy will help the plants survive through the cold winter months.

Recently, White Memorial gave us permission the remove some dead trees on the property. The next few weeks we will remove quite a few dead trees. One tree that i am happy to see be removed is the Norway Maple behind the first green. Norway Maples are on the invasive plant list and should never be planted on a golf course or anywhere else.

Ive always wanted to cut down this tree to open up a vista that has been long forgotten. Tree placement on a golf course is incredible important and should be carefully considered not only how it will affect plant health but more importantly block views for future generations.

1st Green

Thankfully alot of the leaves have come down and we are on the downside of fall cleanup. The oaks are starting to change color and some of our maples are just starting to peak.

Maple “October Glory”

I hope some of you will take advantage of these last few days of good golfing weather. As always ill see you out in the fairways!

Frost Delay/Carts ok

Its 29 degrees with a heavy frost on the property right now. This is most likely a killing frost which signals the end of the growing season.

The property received 1.34 inches of rain over the course of friday and saturday early morning. The rain soaked into the soil well and carts are permissable today.

It is safe to say that the frost wont lift until 9am or later so please plan accordingly. Enjoy your day!

Weekend Outlook

The golf course is finally receiving some beneficial rainfall. All the playing surfaces are recovering well from the excessively dry conditions this season. Overall the golf course is in really good shape as the growing season is coming to a close.

The staff and I have been busy trying to keep up with leaf clean up. We are alternating our time between leaf clean up and mowing duties. The grass growth rate has really slowed down and we will only be mowing greens, tees, and fairways on a as needed basis. The first week of November is typically when we stop mowing all playing surfaces and start the process of winterizing our equipment for long term storage.

The rough mower is in the barn getting an mowing deck overhaul. I expect it to be up and running early next week. The rough may be a little unkept in areas if you happen to play in the next few days. By next weeks end we will get caught up on all the rough. Thanks for understanding.

It is unlikely carts will be available tomorow and even possibly sunday. Heavy rain is expected tonight but ill evaluate the course over the weekend. Please check in with Scott to see if carts are available.

Time is getting short for the staff and I but we will be on property for another month. Im hopeful that we have some good stretches of weather to aerate the tees and also accomplish some much needed tree trimming. There are plenty of good golf days left so i hope to see you out in the fairways!

Course Conditions

As September comes to a close we can look back on some specatcular weather to play golf. Up until last nights rain event it was a very dry month. The greens are knitting back together nicely and we are cutting them with sharp reels. You should see a noticeable improvement in ball roll next time you play.

Fairways were core aerated last week and they should heal over by next week. We still have to aerate all the tees, collars, and approaches which we will do over the next month.

We had back to back hard frosts last week and the leaves are starting to change color as well as drop. We will be on leaf cleanup duty for the remainder of the season. Our goal is to keep the clubhouse grounds and golf course as clean and playable as humanely possible.

The tree that was taken down by Isaias will prove to be very beneficial for years to come. The fourth green will capture plenty of morning sun as we slowly march into winter. This will enable the plants to sequester and store more energy for the winter.

4th Green

The season is slowly winding down but there are plenty of good golfing days left. I hope to see you out in the fairways!

Greens Aeration 9/14

A blog post with some encouraging news! The worst of the summer turfgrass stress is in the rearview mirror. Cooler nights and adequate rainfall are promoting good recovery on all the playing surfaces. The stressed out areas on the second green were needle tined and seeded a few weeks ago. The seed has germinated and it is slowly knitting back in. The insect damage on the 14th tee is filling in quickly now and both these areas are welcome sight for a turfgrass manager.

Thank you to the BOG for approving the acquistion of a new pond aerator. Keeping the pond water circulating is critical for aerobic conditions and also helps prevent algae blooms.

On Monday we will start the process of greens aeration. We will be double vertical mowing the greens followed by 3/8 hollow tines. The smaller coring size followed by a granular fertilizer application and the holes should close up in quick order. Some of the greens will not be topdressed with sand on Monday. Tuesday we will be demoing a new spin walk behind topdresser. Our John Deere sales rep is willing to spend a few hours with us topdressing some of our difficult greens. I hope to finish coring greens by Wenesday and the goal is to get them fairly cleaned up of sand by the weekend.

Ill report back late next week with another addition. Good luck to the women in their member guest tommorow as well as the men in the Fields Cup. See you out in the fairways!

The hits keep on coming…

The last few weeks have been another difficult stretch for maintaining the property. Isaias was a real knock out punch. The volume of sticks, branches, and tree work that had to be cleaned up was staggering. We have just finished up the last remnants of that storms debris today.

The last few weeks have also been characterized by high heat and humidity with very little rain. This has caused most of the rough to remain in a nearly semi-dormant state. There are some areas of rough on the property we havent mowed in weeks. Rain is expected today and over the next few days. I expect we will slowly start to see some recovery in the next few weeks.

We have been operating without a full staff this season. Ive tried all season long to find a staff member who would show up everyday. Persistence pays off and Karl is our newest staff member who just started Monday. He has experience landscaping and is eager to learn the ropes on a golf course. Karl will be a tremendous help as we have been hopelessly behind in so many maintenance duties this summer.

Some other good news to share is that Isaias knocked out a balsam fir behind the fourth green. This will enable the fourth green to capture more morning sun and photosynthesize more efficiently.

The last bit of really good news is that a representative of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf will evaluate our property for final certification next week. Its been a long process and i am confident we will pass.

Greens, tees, collars, and fairways will be aerated in September. Please check back for updates as i will announce these dates in advance over the coming weeks.

September is fast approaching and so is cooler nights and shorter days. Labor day marks the end of what turfgrass managers deem the “100 days of Hell” This has been the most difficult season in my 15 years and im very glad to see Labor day is just a week away.

See you out in the Fairways!

Bumps and Bruises

The month of July is in the books and im glad to see the calender flip to a new month. 20 days in the 90s with no rain has put a tremendous amount of stress on the playing surfaces. The rough has been virtually dormant the last few weeks and we have largely stopped mowing it. All things considering the course has held up through the drought fairly well.

The greens,tees and fairways have have some bumps and bruises. I was forced to raise the height of cut on the greens to keep them healthy and consequently ball roll has been a little slower lately. Ill lower the height of cut down once this stressful period subsides.

The greens were “vented” yesterday coupled with a light coat of sand.

The green surface is aerated with solid tines in comparison to the the hollow tines that pulls cores.

This procedure promotes healthy gas exchange in the soil profile. It helps alleviate compaction and provides water to infiltrate the green profile. The sand helps mitigate thatch accumulation and smooths the putting surface. They should roll just fine in just a few days time.

Divot mix is provided for the carts and on the tee boxes. Please use it and encourage others to do the same. Also please repair your pitch mark and one other.

All things considered the course has held up through the drought fairly well. Ill see you out in the fairways!

Green Aeration

Its been a challenging three weeks which is why this blog has been so quiet.

We are solid tining the greens today and applying sand this morning. We will close one green at a time while we work on the greens. The greens will be a bit sandy for a day or two but im assuming Isaias will wash all the sand into the canopy.

Ill go into more detail later this week. Thank You for your cooperation and understanding.

Bouncing back

Thank you to whoever performed a rain dance! We have received adequete rainfall the past two weeks. This morning the rain gauge recorded .80 inches of rain from tropical storm Fay. The playing surfaces have bounced back and are actively growing once again.

Recently you have may noticed that the ball roll on the greens are bit slower. This is due to combination of high humidity, rainfall and infrequent green rolling. The high humidity and surface wetness causes more friction and slows the ball down. Also we are experiencing some equipment and staffing challenges this season. These challenges have made it difficult to consistently schedule green rolling. Im not sure when these issues will be resolved so we can temporarily expect inconsistent and slower ball roll going forward.

Chinch bugs have returned once again and decimated a large area of the 14th tee. Next season i will incoporate a plant protectant on all the tees at the appropriate stage of the chinch bugs life cycle. On a seasonal basis I use very little insecticides on the property due to environemental reasons. The insecticides i do apply are species specific and are the most environmentally chemistries that are currently available. Unfortunately next year I will have to make a broad spectrum insecticide application on the tees so we are protected. I sprayed the 14th tee the other day and we will spike and seed it to nurse it back.

The kestrels flew the coop earlier this week from there nest box near 9 green.

I spotted 4 juveniles in a dead tree near 9 green. This is another great example of environmental stewardship! Ill update again in two weeks. See you out in the fairways!

Prevent Defense

We have had 1.27 inches of rain this month coupled with very dry and hot conditions. Al the playing surfaces are suffering drought stress and the rough has all but gone dormant.

The irrigation system is old but functions well and is a supplement to mother natures liquid gold. Evapotranspiration rates (ET) have been extremely high and when i do irrigate it quickly evaporates into the atsmoshpere.

What can i do? I have raised the height of cut on the fairways and greens. What does raising the height of cut do? This gives the plant more photosynthetic leaf tissue which enables the plant to capture and store more energy. Increasing the “bank” of stored energy allows the plant to stay cooler for longer periods during these hot and dry days. In addition we are also mowing greens every other day and rolling on days we dont mow. This will create a little inconsistency in green speed and I will resume normal green maintenance as soon as the greens bounce back from this stressful period.

Some good environmental news to share! The kestrels have returned to the box on 9 green!

Its anyones guess how many are in the box. Last year i believe we had 5 chicks hatch succesfully. If you are lucky you might see the female swoop in and deposit food into the box. They are getting big so it wont be long now till they take there maiden voyage.

I also had a bobcat and newly born kit walk out in front of me on the 8th hole. It was a neat experience but i never want to be that close to her mother and yound ever again.

Have a great weekend and ill try to update on conditions again soon. Pray for rain!