Sunday, January 20, 2013

Winter Greens Rolling

One of the best tools superintendents have to maintain firm, smooth putting greens is a dedicated roller.  This unit can be used after, or instead of, mowing to keep greens speeds consistent throughout the year.  During the winter time, this roller is especially useful.  The greens typically do not grow that fast, so mowing is very infrequent.  Typical Oklahoma winters, frosty mornings followed by warm afternoons, tend to cause the greens to freeze and thaw each day.  This can leave them somewhat soft and prone to footprints.  The roller is used to iron out the footprints and imperfections.  I think that most people think that greens rollers compact the soil.  This machine is considered a lightweight roller that doesn't compact the soil, it merely smooths the surface.  The picture below shows the clear benefit of this process.  The left side has been rolled and the right side has not.  As you can see, the roller can have a huge impact on putting conditions.

Friday, January 11, 2013

86th St. Update

86th st. has been open for a few weeks now and crews are putting the finishing touches on the project.  There is still some sod work to complete but for the most part, the project is done.  I couldn't be happier with the finished product.  The higher elevation of the road allows better visibility of the course when driving by, and the grading and sod work that was done along the course has turned out great.  It will be much easier to mow and is already much nicer than the swampy areas we had before.  This was a huge improvement for the golf course and the city.

Preventative Maintenance

Every year I get the question " so what do you do all winter?".  Well, there are a lot of tasks that must be done prior to the start of the growing season.  One of the most important, and time consuming, is preventative maintenance on our equipment fleet.  Each winter our equipment manager, Mitchell, must pain stakingly go through each piece of equipment and check for anything that isn't up to spec.  All reels and blades must be sharpened, bearings replaced, oil changed, flush radiators, replace worn hydraulic hoses, etc. 
Mitchell started this process back in November, at the end of the growing season, and will finish sometime in late February.  When he is finished everything will be ready to go for another golf season.  His attention to detail, and thoroughness, will pay off during the growing season with fewer breakdowns and increased productivity.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Spring Preemergent Application

                                    Starting spring preemergent app. today.  Will take a few weeks to finish all 90 acres.
The golf season is just around the corner and will be here before we know it.  This realization always hits me when we begin spraying our spring preemergent application on tees, fairways and rough.  We had a productive first few days, 16 acres, but have been derailed by rain today and possibly tomorrow.  This is common when spraying this time of year, so that's why we start this early in the season.  Someone much wiser than me once told me that when it comes to preemergent herbicides: "You'd rather be a couple of weeks early than a day late."  This is true because of the way in which preemergent herbicides work.  Once the product is applied and watered in, it forms a barrier at the soil surface.  As a new seedling emerges and  breaks through the surface, the herbicide kicks in an kills the plant.  Preemergent herbicides have little to no effect once target weeds have emerged. 
 Foam is used to mark where we've applied chemicals.  Also make it harder ro see golf balls.  Sorry!  :)As we work on this project over the next few weeks, periodically you'll notice foam laying around the course.  The foam is dispensed by our spray unit and it tells us where we've been and where we still need to apply product.  I know the foam can be distracting and make it difficult to find your ball, but this method improves accuracy and thus improves the ability of the herbicide to keep the golf course clean from weeds.  You might also notice red paint lines, these are used by the agronomy staff to mark where we ran out of product and once reloaded, where we need to start back up.
Assuming we have more weather delays this month, we will likely be spraying most of January.  Once complete, we will be ready to go for the 2013 golf season!