Thursday, March 16, 2017

Spring Greens Aeration

I recently wrote a post about spring lawn care that can be found here.  One of the most important processes that we complete each spring is core aeration on our putting greens.  This process is critical to the long term health and sustainability of our most valuable asset.  This year, aeration of the front nine greens is scheduled for Wednesday March 22nd and the back nine greens are scheduled for Thursday March 23rd.  Please note that each set of nine holes will be closed for play during the scheduled work and the full 18 holes should be open back up for play on Friday March 24th.  We realize that aeration is disruptive and never a popular process.  We appreciate your patience during this process and, over the next few weeks, while the turf recovers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spring Bunker Audit

Each year, prior to the start of the golfing season, the grounds maintenance staff conducts an audit of sand depths to ensure our bunkers meet the standards of our member and guests.  Maintaining consistent sand depths in our bunkers allows us to create consistent playing conditions no matter which bunker you land in.  Bunkers that have too much sand in them tend to be fluffy and will produce buried lies.  If the bunker sand is too thin, it tends to be too firm.  Thin sand depths will also increase the risk of silt and gravel contamination.  This contamination will effect the performance of the drainage over time and dramatically reduce the lifespan of a bunker.

The sand depth audit process is pretty simple.  First, small holes are dug throughout the bunker to measure the sand depth.  Then, if certain areas of a bunker have too much sand, and other areas have too little, the sand can be moved around accordingly.  If a bunker is found to have too many areas that are thin, new sand is brought in and spread around to create the necessary depth.  Ideally, once the process is complete, all bunkers will have 4-5 inches of sand in the bottom and 2-3 inches on the slopes.

Bunkers continue to be of significant importance for our members and guests.  If anyone has any questions, or comments, about our bunkers, please fee free to contact someone on the grounds department while you are out enjoying your round.  Thank you and look forward to seeing you out on the course!

Spring Lawn Care

Although we've had some cold weather lately, the signs of spring are all around us.  The Redbud trees and Forsythia bushes are in full bloom, bluebirds are beginning to make their nests, and Bermudagrass is beginning to wake up.  Once we get into March, I usually start getting a lot of questions about what people need to do to get their yards ready for the season.

In general, once you begin to see the Redbuds begin to bloom, it's time to put down a spring pre-emergent herbicide.  A healthy, dense stand of turf is the first line of defense against weeds, however, a consistent pre-emergent program is the foundation of any reliable control of annual weeds.  As the name implies, these herbicides only work by killing weeds as they emerge from seed.  They will not work on already established weeds.  

Pre-emergent herbicides can be found at any local home and garden center and are usually blended onto a fertilizer for ease of application and are most often labeled as crabgrass preventer.  This type of labeling can be misleading because these products don't just work on crabgrass.  They usually control a number of summer annual weeds besides crabgrass such as: foxtail, goosegrass, oxalis, spurge, and knotweed, just to name a few.  Whenever you are purchasing pre-emergent herbicides take a minute and look at the ingredients.  The most common pre-emergent herbicides for home lawns are prodiamine, pendimethalin, and dithiopyr.  The generally accepted cut off for applying pre-emergent herbicides in our area is April 20th.  There is a little variability in this date due to temperature fluctuations from year to year.

Besides applying weed control products, it's also time to trim any ornamental grasses that you may have around the landscape.  Similar to the Bermuda in your yard, these grasses are beginning to wake up from dormancy and need room to grow.  Cutting off the dead growth from the previous season will allow the new shoots access to the necessary sunlight they need.  Once you get them all cut, don't forget to apply a fresh layer of mulch to get your landscape areas looking their best for the upcoming growing season! 😀

Friday, March 10, 2017

#11 Green Complex Drainage Project

During the last week of January, and the first week of February, the grounds staff completed a sizeable drainage project behind #11 green.  For years, when it rained, surface runoff would flow down onto the green from the cart path area behind the back left of the green.  The additional water running onto the green has caused some thin turf along the back left edge of the green over the years.  While the symptoms are temporary, and the turf always recovers, this issue is something I've been looking to take care of for some time.

The plan was to install a catch basin to intercept the runoff before it could run onto the back of the green.  This meant that the basin had to be connected to the existing drainage system.

As you can see from the pictures, creating a new basin, and then connecting it to the existing drainage system was quite the process.  The guys did a fantastic job and I couldn't be happier with the finished product.  While the sod is still dormant, please avoid walking around on it.  It hasn't rooted into the ground yet, and can move under your feet, especially after a rain.  The area has been roped off, and we appreciate everyone's patience and cooperation while the sod grows in.

Cart Restrictions

Over the past few months, we've seen an increase in the amount of golf carts driving too close to the greens.  There is a direct correlation between an increase in cart traffic and an decrease in turf quality, especially while the turf is dormant.  Right now, the Bermuda is spending it's last energy reserves trying to wake up from dormancy.  Excessive amounts of traffic stress will delay this process causing the turf to green up much more slowly.  Our goal is to have the best possible turf quality around the greens.  With this in mind, the staff has decided to restrict carts from accessing the green surrounds.  While you are out playing, please watch for the markings shown in the picture above.  We would like for carts to stay behind the red line.  This will assure the turf in the greens surrounds a quick recovery.  We appreciate your cooperation!