Switching Gears

The golf course was in great shape for our club championship and fields cup matches. With the conclusion of all our our premier tournaments of the season the LCC maintenance team will be switching gears and focus on soil cultivation practices.

We have started the process of aerating fairways, tees, collars, and approaches. This is a labor intensive procedure which requires the entire crew. So there may be days when you come out to play we do not mow greens or rake bunkers. Thanks for understanding as we have a small staff and these fall cultural practices are a higher priority than routine maintenance.

The weather looks good next week and I hope to aerate the 1st,4th, and 7th fairways. This fall, if time and weather allows us i would like to aerate some of our fairways for a second time this season. The thatch in our fairways is getting to a critical level and needs corrective action.

One very good reason to reduce thatch is that insects are attracted to that particular micro environment. Pictured below is the blight on the 3rd tee.

Orginally i thought this was drought and heat stress. Upon closer inspection i found chinchbugs! Yes chinchbugs! This is my first observation of these insects on the property. They enjoy sunny thatchy micro environments and the 3rd tee checks all the boxes.

We have applied a plant protectant and we are aerating and overseeding this area today. Next season i will monitor our tees a little more closely for this tiny destructive insect. Next year we will need to aerate this tee and others a few extra times to reduce the amount of thatch.

Green aeration has been pushed back to October. Im not exactly sure when i will schedule it. Invariably it will be during a beautiful sunny dry stretch of weather. I will send a notice out in the crier and also try to get it posted on the members event calender.

The weather has been spectacular to play golf! Hope to see you out in the fairways.

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Course Closed Today

We received 1.3 inches of rain in about a half hour. It washed out the bunkers and the fairways are saturated. More rain is expected tonite and its a safe bet that carts wont be availabe tommorow. However, we should be open for walkers tommorow.

All that rain really beat down the sand into the greens. They will clean up real nice in a day or two. You would never know that we just applied 18 tons of sand on an acre of bentgrass greens.

Let them breathe

This morning we “vented” the greens. This is a practice of punching small holes in the green soil profile to exchange beneficial air into the root zone and release detrimental gases. It also helps water infiltrate the soil profile and stimulate root growth.

The greens are in pretty good shape as we head into August. They do feel a bit “spongy”to me which means they could use a bit of sand. If the weather is favorable sometime later this month i may put a fine dusting on the greens. This will firm them up a bit and make the putting surface smooth.

The mens member guest had a great weekend of weather and playing conditions. We did receive two inches of rain a few days before and it really made the property shine. It is starting to get dry again but it looks like we might get some much needed rainfall later this week.

The american kestrels flew the coup last week. I counted 5 juveniles in a dead ash tree near the 9th green. I hope we can get lucky again next year.

Its been a nice summer and there is plenty of it left. I hope to see you out in the fairways.

Pumping the Brakes

The last few weeks of weather have been a tough stretch to manage the turfgrass on the golf course. The hot and dry weather have exposed some of our poor soils on our greens, tees, and fairways. We have been maintaining the course very conservatively this past week and will continue this practice through this weekend with temperatures expected in the 90’s. This past week we cut greens Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The off days we only rolled them.

3rd Green

Tomorrow we will mow the greens and Sunday we will only roll them. The greens might have been a bit slower but our goal is for them to remain healthy as we prepare for our upcoming tournaments.

Please observe the white and green stakes and cart signs. These are out for a reason! The reason is to give the turfgrass a chance to survive this weather. Also, it is much easier to make a up and down around the greens in healthy grass than a trampled lie from a cart. Carts are not allowed near greens, on tee slopes or even on tees. Carts should not be driven behind the 6th green on the right side as you play the hole.

I encourage you to inform you playing partners or other members if they are not practicing proper etiquette. If for some medical reason you cant walk then i understand but please try and stay a reasonable distance from the greens and tees with a cart.

Thankfully we received close to a half inch of rain yesterday and the grass perked up a bit. That rainfall was a welcome sight and the turfgrass really needed that slow steady rain.

1st fairway

This weekend is going to be tough with the heat and humidity but next week it looks like the temperatures should be more tolerable. Hopefully we get some more rain next week so the property can really shine for the men’s member guest next weekend. Next week the weather looks favorable for me to put my foot on the gas and resume mowing and rolling greens every day. Stay cool and i hope to see you out in the fairways!

Birds of Prey

The golf course has really has firmed up nicely with the lack of precipitaion.

The long range weather looks hot and dry as well so the course is going to continue to get a bit more brown. The course will green up quickly when it does rain so im not concerned in the least. For now just enjoy the extra roll off your drives.

There are some drop zones on the 2nd,3rd, and 5th hole. Please talk to Scott about these areas if you are not sure of our local rules.

Drop zone 3rd hole

I have some exciting environmental stewardship news to report! A pair of American Kestrels have hatched a clutch of eggs in the box near the 9th green. The kestrels are our smallest falcon about the size of a robin. The number of kestrels have declined by 50% since 1966. Promoting their recovery by installing and maintaining these boxes is a great reason why we are involved in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf.

Yesterday, Jaime Fischer the Wildlife Research Director at WMF came to confirm this brood and we discussed banding the chicks by a kestrel expert from the Audubon Society in Sharon.

Young kestrels waiting for a treat
Breakfast time

For now just enjoy the aerial display of these magnificient falcons. Im guessing the young will fly the coop soon.

Hope to see you out in the fairways!

Tee it high and let it fly

The golf course is in really great shape if you had a chance to play it recently. The fairways have really firmed up and you should enjoy the extra roll off your drives.

The 8th fairway was aerated this past Monday. It will heal over quickly with the warm soil temperatures. We will continue to aerate fairways throughout this summer as time, labor, and weather allows us to do so.

I sprayed the lower half of the 8th this morning with some foliar fertilizers to try and nurse it back into shape. That part of the fairway has really suffered from the onslaught of rain we have received dating back to last August.

The area in front of 9 white is roped off. Also there are stakes and cart signs going towards 9 blue. These areas have been damaged from cart traffic when carts were let out when it was still too soft. We will have to fill in the ruts and will remain closed until it firms back up. In the future if we have excessive rainfall i may be forced to close all of 9 tees to cart traffic. The little known footbridge can be used to walk over to 9 blue and yellow.

Next week is a holiday week and we need to complete all maintenance procedures in only four days. The staff and I will need to “hustle” next week to reach our weekly goals. So please understand if we dont stop or slow down while you are out playing golf.

Enjoy your holiday and ill see you out in the fairways!

Full Swing

The golf course has recovered nicely after all the rain we received this spring. The staff and I are finally into a routine grounds maintenance mode. Its great to see everyone out enjoying the course finally!

The first green recovered nicely after receiving some fertilizer. The greens are in great shape and we are rolling greens thrice a week or more.

1st Green

The 8th fairway is finally starting to come around. We applied some foliar fertilizers recently and we mow it only once or twice a week dependent on the soil conditions.

8th Fairway

We are using the gang units to cut this fairway and the quality of cut is not as clean as our fairway tractor. Its the best I can do at this time until I can remove some of the excessive thatch.

Gang Units

The fairways are a bit “thatchy” because they have not been aerated in two years. The reasons for this is twofold. One has been the weather and the other has been a broken gear box on the fairway unit.

As you can see it is a complicated piece of equipment with a lot of moving parts. We were able to fix it and I plan on aerating the 8th fairway this coming Monday. Removing some of the excessive thatch will help water percolate down and also create a favorable exchange of oxygen into the soil profile. It will also allow me to cut the fairway a bit lower in the future.

The course is a bit soggy after all this rain and high humidity this week. If we receive more rain tonite its possible carts will not be available tomorrow. Regardless, I would expect that carts will be available for this weekend. Please call the pro shop or check his blog to see if carts are permissible.

Have a great weekend! It looks like a good weekend to be swinging a club!