Monday, March 31, 2014

Course Update March 2014

March, in many ways signifies the end of our winter off-season, and the beginning of the golf season.  Seasonal staff begins to arrive to ready the golf course for the season, the weather starts warming up, winter projects are wrapped up, and many of our chemical and cultural programs begin.  The following is a brief update on what happened in March.

The grounds department began taking on seasonal staff, March 1st, to help keep up with the growing list of tasks and projects.  March is a time when course preparation tasks like mowing greens, raking bunkers, moving tees and emptying trash cans is done much more frequently and seasonal staff is needed to accomplish this.  Next month, 4-5 more seasonal staff will be added as the Bermuda begins to awaken and the summer mowing schedule is phased in.

In typical fashion, the weather over the past month has been anything but predictable.  The temperatures went from 7 degrees to 82 degrees in 9 days.  Some days the wind was calm and other days the wind gusted to 50+ miles per hour.  Despite the inconsistent weather, the grounds staff made the best of the situation and accomplished many tasks that are vital to a successful golf season.

North bunker edge reconstruction
The bunker project on #13 was completed.  This bunker required a little more work than just removing and replacing the sand and drainage material.  We determined that the northern edge needed to be elevated 12-14 inches so that water from the basin to the north would not back up into the bunker anymore.  This basin drains slowly which causes stormwater to back up into the bunker, bringing with it silt, grass and other debris.  Raising this bunker edge allows the bunker to only deal with the water that falls within it's own footprint, greatly extending the lifespan of the drainage.

Finished product on #13

Earlier this month, Doug our chemical applicator, finished applying the pre-emergent herbicides.  This process takes 2-4 weeks depending on the weather and is vital to the success of our weed control program. We always aim to complete the spring pre-emergent application prior to greens aeration, and Doug was able to meet that deadline.  The golf course is largely weed free and once the Bermuda starts coming out of dormancy, there should be an easy transition with little competition from weeds.

Although greens aeration had to be delayed one day due to frozen conditions, once we started, the project went as planned.  I couldn't be more proud of the staff and the finished result.  The process is very complex and involves many steps, the staff was able to complete all work on schedule completely in-house, with no temporary labor.  For a detailed look at the various steps involved, click here.

As I assess where the golf course right now, I believe the course is primed and ready for the warmer weather of April.  As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

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