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!

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!

Mid May Update

Thankfully this cold stretch of weather will be in the rear view mirror soon. The long term forecast looks very favorable for growing grass and playing golf!

The warmer weather and rain we are expecting will help heal up the greens.

6th green 7 DAT

Some greens are filling in well and others still need a touch of sand. I tried a different method of topdressing this year and the results on some of the greens were less than ideal. I hope to start cutting with a sharp set of reels on the greens soon so you should see an improvement in speed and ball roll.

Good new to share! We have passed all the competencies for ACSP! Later this year they will do a site visit and we will be the only 9 hole course in Connecticut to be a Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary golf course. Quite an achievement and i have to thank Fran and Vince for all their help!

A pair of kestrels have taken up residence in the box down between 8 & 9. Another great environental stewardship project that is making a difference!

Once the warm weather arrives it will be very busy for us and ill try to update again when i have something noteworthy to share. In the mean time please replace your divots on the tees and fairways.

Ill see you out in the fairways!

Weekend Outlook/Greens Aeration

Well as stated in my last post i was cautiosly optimistic about carts this weekend….. This weekend looks like it will be a wash for buggies as the course is soaked. If there is any chance of carts it would be Sunday so please contact Scott.

On Wenesday it was actually dry enough to mow almost all the fairways and even let a few carts out. We were able to mow most of the rough as well so we were fortunate to get as much done as possible before all this heavy rain.

We are aerating greens this coming Monday and Tuesday. We will have temporary pins in front of the greens while we are working on them. Once we are done dragging in the sand we will open them back up for play.

Have a nice weekend!

Looking Ahead

Im very glad to flip the calender to a new month as April has been a month to forget. Below average temperatures and above average rainfall has made it challenging to maintain the course in a consistent manner. Soil temperatures are still in the 40s which has slowed the growth of the turfgrass.

The fairways have not been mowed in two weeks due to saturated soil conditions. Im cautiosly optimistic we can mow them this week but that remains to be seen.

Im sure everyone is anxious to take a cart out and perhaps looking ahead to this weekend might offer the best chance. The soil water table is very high at the moment and we need some good drying days to allow carts. Please inquire with the golf professional as to when carts may be available.

Tentatively if the weather looks favorable next week we will aerate and sand the greens. We have not core aerated the greens in two years so this is a high priority.

Ill update again later this week with tentative dates for green aerification.

Ill see you out in the fairways soon!

Frost Delay

Good Morning! Its a balmy 30 degrees with a light frost. Play will be suspended till 9:30.

The property is slowly drying up and we plan on mowing some fine cut turf today where it is possible. Bunkers are washed out and its unlikely we will have time to fix them today. The weekend outlook is calling for snow tonight but a nice day of weather on Sunday. Carts look doubtful this weekend due to the combination of snow and saturated soils. Looking ahead i see some good drying days on the extended forecast and carts should be permissible by mid week.

As a reminder please fix your ballmarks on the greens. Until we start routinely rolling the greens they will be on the soft side. Also, please replace your divots on tees and fairways. Next week I expect to mow the fairways again and start mowing the rough where it is needed. Spring has come a little early this year!

Have a great weekend!

What a difference a day makes

For better or worse Mother Nature is always in the driver seat. So far this year she has been very kind and its a welcome relief after the way we started last season.

We have mowed all the fairways including the lower half of the 8th. I dont think that has ever happened this early in the season. We have mowed tees and approaches and next week we will start trim mowing green and tee complexes. We are way ahead in a “normal” spring.

The greens were lightly fertilized and are slowing knitting back together from the deep vertical mowing last October. The greens were a little shaggy last week due to all the sand on the greens. We are now cutting with some sharp reels and its a noticeable improvement with the ball roll.

Today it is a bit blustery with some snow squalls.

We did receive a fair amount of rain this week and the course is a bit soft for buggies at the moment. Im going to check tommorow morning and let Scott know if carts are ok. Cart decisions are on a day to day basis this time of year due to cold soil tempertures. Cold soils drain very slowly and with no drainage on the course we are at the mercy of Mother Nature.

A pair of American Kestrels have taken a keen interest in the kestrel box we installed down on 8 rough. Im keeping my fingers crossed we can have another clutch of kestrels. We had a bald eagle, osprey, and northern flickers visit our property on the same day. If you see any unusual birds on the property please let me know so i can document it for my ACSP record keeping.

Ill see you out in the fairways! Happy Easter!

Cups are Up!

The season is kicking off a little early this year! We will be open for walkers on Saturday. Typically we open the weekend of the Masters but nothing is really normal at all lately.

The cups are aboveground so once the ball has touched the cup you are deemed to have holed out.

Please do not touch the flagstick or the cup! Its my understanding that you can use your foot to give yourself a better lie in the bunkers. This is a good question for our Golf Pro when he is back on property. Till then just go out and enjoy the course.

The course is still a little rough around the edges. The next few weeks will concentrate on picking up all the sticks and winter debris. We will start mowing tees, approaches and fairways once these areas are cleaned up. Overall its in pretty good shape as ive encounted alot worse coming out of the winter.

The tee blocks will be put out once they are refurbished. Its my understanding that rounds will not count towards your handicap so for the time being please tee it up where you like.

Ill end this with some great news! We have passed the Outreach and Education section for ACSP. Our very last step is to submit an environmental case study and a site visit by Audubon International to attest for certification. I will send the case study in this week and set a time up for a site visit this summer. Once certified we will be the only nine hole course in Connecticut to be designated an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for golf.

See you out in the fairways!

Back to the Grind

I walked the golf course yesterday and the property looks pretty good! We experienced some minor flooding and wind storms that has left us some spring cleaning. Ive seen alot worse at this time of the year so being fairly clean is a positive way to start the season.

The staff and I will start on March 16th. The first few weeks we prepare all of our equipment for the season. Since we are a seasonal operation this our time to make sure the equipment does not fail us in season. This entails changing hydraulic, oil, and anti freeze fluids, belts and bearings are checked and replaced if worn. In addition all of our small power equipment needs to be tuned up and ready to go. Its a team effort by the crew as we methodically work through all our equipment and this ensures a smooth ride for the rest of the season.

The turfgrass on the course is still dormant and sporting their winter coats. Everything looks normal for this time of year. The greens and tees are firm but the fairways are pretty soft.

It will take consecutive warm and windy days for the fairways to dry out and firm up. More importantly is the soil temperatures are still very cold. Cold soils drain slower than warm ones. Also with no fairway drainage we are really at the mercy of mother nature.

Its been a very mild winter and March is still very capable of delivering inclement weather. Ill look to reevaluate course conditions the week of the 16th and if possible project an opening day for walkers depending on the long range weather forecast. In a “normal” winter we typically open for walkers April 10th. In a few rare instances we have opened in March. Lets hope Mother Nature continues to be kind and we can get out and hit the links.