Tuesday, August 23, 2016

#3 Pond Dam Construction Project

Yesterday, was the first day of the pond dam reconstruction project on #3.  The earthen dam between the middle pond and lower pond at #3 washed out several years ago.  Early on during the planning phase of this project we discussed not just replacing the dam with clay, but installing a concrete weir with native rocks so this hole would have a water feature.  Design plans were created and the necessary funds were included in this years budget.  The project kicked off yesterday and is expected to last up to 90 days depending on the weather.

While the contractors are working on this project, hole #3 will play as a temporary par 3.  The tees have been moved to the fairway to ensure the safety of the construction workers while they are on site.  The picture on the right shows the signage located at the tee complex.  The aerial photograph pictured below depicts the general location of the work site relative to the in-play areas in the vicinity.  Please note that in order for the project to be completed on schedule, the contractor will be working while golfers are in the area.  We appreciate your patience and understanding while we work to complete this project.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Fall is Coming!

This past weekend brought us some much needed relief from the recent high temperatures and intense humidity that we experienced for the last month or so.  It appears that this cooler weather may stick around until the end of August.  Usually after Labor Day weekend, the daily high temperature falls down into the 80s and continues to cool off through fall.  This could mean that we are done with the extreme heat of summer… hopefully.

The cool-season Bentgrass on our greens enjoys the cooler weather just as much as we do.  When the soil temperature cools down into the 60s, new roots are initiated and the plant begins to rebuild the root system.  As a more vigorous root system is reestablished, the turf requires irrigation and is better able to handle aggressive cultural practices such as rolling, verticutting, grooming and topdressing.  The reduction in handwatering and increased frequency of cultural practices will allow the Grounds staff to increase putting green firmness, speed and smoothness.  We appreciate everyone being patience with the slower than desired green speeds during summer.   

Monday, July 25, 2016

Collar Sod Project

Recently, the staff resodded a few bare spots in the collar on #12 and #13 green.  These areas have struggled for a few years due to foot traffic and shade issues.  The bare spots were stripped out with a sod cutter, replaced with new sod and then topdressed with sand to knit in the seams.  Over the past few weeks, the height of cut of the sod has been lowered from 2" to .450".  During the next few weeks, the sod will continue to be topdressed to smooth any low areas and the height will be lowered to our collar height of .250"

Dog Days of Summer

As we enter the hottest part of the summer, you’ll notice the grounds staff periodically syringing the greens throughout the afternoon.  This practice is critical to the survival of the Bentgrass greens during these extreme temperatures.  When the golf course is packed with golfers, it can be very difficult for the staff to visit each green quickly enough.  

A few things to consider while you are out on the course:

  • the staff has been trained to do their work while staying out of the way as much as possible
  • it is inevitable that you will encounter a staff member watering a green during your round
  • if a staff member is watering a green and the flagstick has been pulled out, please let them finish watering that green, it will only take a few minutes

It takes a team effort to get the greens through this most stressful time of year.  Your cooperation with the grounds staff while they are watering will ensure that we have healthy, vibrant turf throughout the rest of the season.  Thank you for your cooperation. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Edging bunkers

The staff has been hard at work over the past few days putting a fresh edge on bunkers.  The perfect growing weather we've had lately has caused the Bermuda along the edges of our bunkers to grow very rapidly.  This time of year, the bunker edges must be cut every other week to keep them from looking shaggy.  The finished product looks great and very proud of the staff for all their hard work!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Fairway Slicing

This week, the grounds staff finished the fairway slicing project using our Aerway solid tine machine.  This machine has blade shaped tines that fracture the soil as they enter and exit the ground.  Sometimes referred as "shattertining", this process helps to reduce compaction, incorporate oxygen into the rootzone, and improve drainage.  As you can see from the picture on the right, the slicing tines cause very little surface disruption.  Once the fairway is sliced, the turf is then mowed and any remaining debris is blown off the fairway. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

May Course Update

I'm a little late in writing the May course update but better late than never.  May started off nicely with good weather and just enough rain.  New seasonal employees continued to come on-board, and my assistant and I spent most of our time getting the new staff trained on various mowing and course set up jobs.

May is the first good month for growing turf in Oklahoma.  Air and soil temperatures rise and become favorable for steady growth.  The temperatures and moisture are especially ideal for the Bentgrass on our putting greens.  As the turf grows more aggressively, we begin to implement cultural practices such as: verticutting, topdressing and grooming.  These practices remove troublesome thatch and improve putting quality.  The warmer temperatures also mean that the Bermuda has fully woken up and needs it's first big meal of the season.  The grounds staff went out in mid-May with a course wide granular fertilizer application.  This fertilizer allowed the Bermuda to fully thicken up and quickly improved the overall quality of the playing surfaces.  Each month, throughout the growing season, the Bermuda will be fed with various amounts of fertilizer to sustain quality turf. 
Close up of Vcut on greens
The temperatures and consistent rainfall, during May, are ideal for the Tall Fescue, in our native areas, and this year was no exception.  As you can see from the picture of #8 below, it has been a great year thus far for our native areas.  These areas will be cut during June to discourage summer annual, and woody weeds, such as sumac, thistle, ragweed, and various trees.
Close up of topdressing
The latter half of May was very wet.  Multiple rainstorms kept the soil saturated and the grounds staff was unable to keep up with our mowing schedule.  For almost two weeks, the fairways were unable to be cut.  However, the staff stayed busy, during the stormy weather by repairing bunkers, edging sprinkler heads, edging drainage basins, and string trimming throughout the golf course.  The last few days of May were dry and the staff, through their hard work and diligence, was able to catch up on mowing just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Heavy topdressing smooths and firms the surface

Walkway on #8 tee
Detention area L of #9 fwy (note the high water mark in middle of fwy)
The rain came down too quickly for parts of our drainage system
Catching up on mowing before Memorial Day weekend

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mowing Native Areas

Bailey Ranch Golf Club has over 50 acres of low maintenance, pasture areas that are designed to create a links aesthetic, penalize errant shots, and reduce operational costs.  These native areas cost far less to maintain than the in-play rough, which requires frequent mowing, irrigation, herbicide treatments and fertilizer.  The native areas are mowed twice a year typically around June 1st and October 1st.  This timing favors the Tall Fescue, which over the past five or six years has become the dominant grass.  Allowing the Fescue to dominate creates a more consistent stand of grass and presents a nice links aesthetic.