Thursday, March 28, 2013

#14 Cart Path Project

It's hard to miss the cart path work near #14 forward tees that began this week.  As of today the creek crossing is completely gone and carts are being diverted to the east.
For years, the cart path has been slowly falling a part due to erosion from heavy rains.  Wednesday the Public Works department began demolishing the old creek crossing to make way for the new structure.  You'll notice quite a bit of additional dirt work being done to both the upstream and downstream side where the channel is being straightened and widened to make room for the new drainage structure.  The original pipe was 18", this new crossing will have two 24" pipes and wing walls to help guide the water through the pipe.
Once the new pipe is laid into place, the structure
will be back filled and new cart paths installed.  Finish grading and sod will be the last steps.  Weather depending, we hope to have this project completed by the end of next week.  Cart access will be maintained at all times and we appreciate everyone's patience during the remainder of the project.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Greens Aeration

Despite the cool, sometimes cloudy, conditions over the past few days, the agronomy staff worked diligently to complete the March greens aeration on schedule.  Over the years, I've detailed the core aeration process on this blog, so I won't go into too much detail but the following pictures should shed some light on a few of the major steps required.  As with all core aerations, the sand-filled holes will be evident for about 7-10 days before they completely heal in.  During this time, the agronomy staff will be mowing and rolling the greens to maintain the highest quality putting surfaces possible.  We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.  If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me.

Soil cores are removed from greens
Cores are pushed to the collar and removed
Once cores are cleaned off, USGA topdressing sand is applied
After sand is incorporated into holes, excess sand is blown off greens
Green is then rolled smooth and watered in

Grass Fire Danger

After an incident that occured on #1 fairway yesterday afternoon, I thought I would take an opportunity to remind all members and guests that while the Bermuda is dormant, there continues to be a high risk of grass fire.  The agronomy staff would ask that caution be used when disposing of cigarettes and cigars on the golf course.  The picture to the right shows how quickly fire can spread.  Thankfully the staff reacted quickly and was able to use the irrigation system to extinguish the fire.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cart Path Repair

Removing old cart path
Starting last Thursday March 14th, staff began the process of repairing a section of cart path near #12 tee complex.  Anyone who has played golf out here recently knows this area was in need of attention and we are pleased to be able to get this fixed before the busy golf season starts.  The old cart path was removed with a mini-excavator and the soil beneath was leveled.  Once we had the area graded, we installed the wood forms and the gravel base.  Today, the new concrete was installed and finish textured with a soft broom.  This area should be ready for cart traffic in a few days.  The area has been marked to divert cart traffic around the area to the west.  We would appreciate everyone take caution through this area.  Next week, staff will remove the forms, backfill soil along the edges, and install sod.  

Cart path ready for concrete
New cart path poured and finished

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Metal Recycling Update

The metal recycling project I posted about back in early February has been completed.  After recycling almost 30 tons of metal, we cleared out all remaining vegetation and checked our grade.  Ag base was then spread around to keep the area from becoming muddy or overgrown.  The picture on the right shows the area all finished with equipment in it's rightful place.  The main reason we took on this project was to get all these tractors and implements out of the main parking lot to create more space for staff members and guests to park their vehicles.  Now we have a functional side lot for equipment, and much more parking for our seasonal staff and vendors.

Golf Course Restrooms

You can definitely tell spring is here.  Warmer weather is becoming more common and golfers are starting to fill the tee sheet.  The turf staff felt that now would be as good a time as any to officially open the restrooms on #7 tee box.  As you may recall, these restrooms are closed each winter so that the pipes to not freeze.  If any deep freezes are forecast, we may have to momentarily close down the restrooms, but they will remain open otherwise.  Thanks for your patience during the off-season.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Greens Aeration

On March 18th & 19th, the agronomy staff will busy core aerating greens.  Aeration is the best way for us to improve turf health and playing conditions.  Turf health is improved by reducing compaction from foot traffic, increasing root oxygen levels, and improving drainage.  Improving the drainage will positively affect the playing conditions by providing a firmer, smoother putting surface.
Monday the front nine will be closed so we can finish the process as efficiently as possible.  Tuesday the front nine will be back open and the back nine will be closed.  All 18 holes will be back open on Wednesday.  We appreciate your patience and understanding during this process.  If you have any questions regarding this project, feel free to contact me at the phone number below.  Thanks!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

GPS Mapping

GPS mapping irrigation system today.  Blog post coming soon., with the help of the Jeff Bain at the City of Owasso Engineering Department, we began GPS mapping the irrigation system.  The ability to accurately, and quickly, locate valves, electrical wire splices, sprinkler heads, etc. is critical when troubleshooting a problem with the system.  Currently we are using 20 year old, hand drawn, maps that are not to scale.  Accurate irrigation as-builts are critical to the proper repair and maintenance of golf course irrigation and drainage infrastructure.  Over the next few weeks, Jeff will be out on the course mapping as much as he can.  We plan on mapping every component of the irrigation system including: fittings, pipe size, and  pipe length.  Once we have the irrigation system complete, we will move on to the drainage system which includes: drain basins, pipe size, pipe length, green and bunker flush outs, and drain outlets.  Once all the data points are collected, they will be labeled and can then be overlayed onto GIS aerial images (similar to Google Earth).  We can then print maps, or use tablets, to dependably locate infrastructure items no matter if they are buried, or grown over.  I cannot thank Jeff enough for his efforts and the time he is donating for this project.  Just another example of city departments lending a hand to make the whole city better.   



Annual Bluegrass Control in Bermuda

Annual Bluegrass, or Poa, is considered one of the most invasive weeds golf course superintendents must deal with each year.  It can prove to be extremely difficult to remove from any turf species.  This plant seeds profusely and it can seemingly breakthrough even the best defenses.  Over the past six years, we've taken a very aggressive stance with our Poa control in all maintained Bermuda.  Each winter, all  Bermuda is treated with pre-emergent, and post-emergent herbicides to eradicate this weed.  Even with accurate application methods and perfect timing, we could only achieve 85-90% success, requiring some further applications to completely remove the weed.
In the fall of 2010, we tried a new pre-emergent product called Specticle.  We've been using this new product each spring since then with fantastic results.  This new chemistry has the ability to not only control a wide range of weeds before emergence, but can control juvenile Poa plants that have emerged just before the product is applied.  The ability of this product to control Poa after emergence allows the agronomy staff to move on the next task, instead of having to spray the area again with different products.
The picture to the right shows an effected Annual Bluegrass plant that emerged before the Specticle application.  It took a few weeks for the symptoms to appear, but this plant has been killed.  The effectiveness of this new chemistry has allowed the agronomy staff to keep the tees, fairways, and rough weed free.  This has improved the overall health of the Bermuda by reducing competition of the weeds for sunlight, water, and nutrients.  If we get some quality rainfall this spring, we expect to have fantastic playing conditions.

Spring Weed Control

Finishing pre-emergent app at clubhouse today.  Only the driving range remains.  Will be done on schedule.Spring is almost upon us and I wanted to take a minute to remind everyone that if they haven't yet treated their lawns with pre-emergent herbicides, now is the time.  Successful crabgrass control can be achieved if products are applied up to mid-April.  A mild spring most likely will bring on broadleaf weeds, such as dandelion, much sooner than normal.  In order to be successful with pre-emergent herbicides, it is better to be a week early than a day late.
As the name implies, these products are meant to only be effective if the soil is treated before emergence.  Once a plant has emerged, these types of products are rendered ineffective.  If you do have some breakthrough of weeds after your pre-emergent herbicide application, look for weed control products at your local lawn and garden store that do not contain Glyphosate, or Diquat in them.  These two products will kill Bermuda that isn't dormant (brown).  Most product labels with these two chemicals will say "Weed & Grass Killer" in the product name.  Carefully read the product labels to be sure that what you apply to your lawn does not have these chemicals in the ingredients, unless you intend to kill the Bermuda as well.
As always, if you have any questions regarding pre-emergent applications, or any general lawn care advice, feel free to contact me.