Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Great Rain of May 2019!

Image result for stock canoe photo

Everyone get out their canoes and kayaks! Just about the only way you would be able to get around the golf course this morning after the rain we just had.  In all seriousness, the weather in May can be unpredictable and recently we've had more than our share of storms.  In the past 24 hours, we've had almost 8" of rain. May is historically the wettest month of the year, with just over 6" average rainfall, and we surpassed that mark in less than 24 hours!  This is on top of the almost 5" of rain we've received thus far in May.  To say it's been wet lately is a huge understatement.

The tunnel ceiling is almost 10 feet tall. 
After the tornadoes and lightning moved off to the east this morning, we set out to assess the damage.  Besides being incredibly wet, the golf course fared well.  We didn't have any major flooding damage, except for some limbs and miscellaneous debris in some fairways.  The rain came down so fast that it overwhelmed the tunnel pump and we had to ask for help from the Public Works department to get it pumped out.  Our drainage infrastructure handled the water well, it just took most of the day to drain out the excess water off the golf course.

All contaminated sand with mud will have to be removed and replaced
The one part of the golf course that didn't survive the storm was our bunkers.  The majority of the bunkers look like the picture of #5 bunker complex shown to the right.  Significant sand movement
and exposure of the sub-grade.  This will require an extensive amount of work from our crew to get them back into normal playing condition.  Typically, when we get an inch or two of rain, our crew can spend the next day putting them back together and we can move on to another task.  This time it feels different.  The damage so extensive that I feel we will have to completely remove and replace the majority of the sand on the golf course.  This will drastically extend the time to get them back into playable condition. Several dump truck loads of new sand will need to be hauled out and placed into the bunkers.  This process will begin tomorrow and could last all the rest of the week, possibly into next week.  We appreciate everyone being patient with us while we work to restore the condition of the bunkers and please realize that a few other tasks will be deferred so we can focus our resources on making this process go as quickly as possible.   

Monday, May 13, 2019

Spring Update

For those who read this blog regularly and have been looking for new posts, I apologize.  I don't update this blog nearly as often as I should but am trying to continue to post content periodically throughout the year.  Spring is always a busy time of year on the golf course, and this year is no exception.  We have been working on wrapping up some last minute winter projects and preparing the course for the beginning of the new growing season. 

One of the most important spring activities each year is spring greens aeration.  This year, based on our annual soil testing, it was determined that we should aerate our greens twice.  Not wanting to disrupt the golf calendar more than necessary, we decided to complete the two aerations back-to-back.  This minimized the recovery time and greens were back to normal in 10-14 days.  Almost two months have passed since we finished the aeration process and greens have been very healthy and smooth. 
As a part of our yearlong cultivation plan, we decided to go out last week with another mini-tine aeration to continue to pull more organic matter from the putting surfaces.  This aeration is non-invasive and greens never lost smoothness or speed during the process.  Due to the aggressive nature of our aeration plan this year, we are already 80% toward our goal of displacing a minimum of 20% of the surface each growing season.  This will set us up well for the stressful summer months, and will set us up to meet our goal of displacing almost 30% of the surface.  Given the age of our greens, this aggressive goal will allow us to keep the greens healthy, firm and quick more often throughout the season.

Spring green up of Bermudagrass is notoriously slow in this part of the country.  Temperature fluctuations and unpredictable weather always seems to confuse the Bermuda until we get into mid-May.  This year has continued that trend.  We began to green up back in mid-March, but haven't seen active growth until the second week of May.  We are scheduled to apply our first course-wide fertilizer application on May 14th.  This will force the plant to grow along with warming temperatures. 

National Golf Day, in Washington D.C., was on May 1st this year and for the first time, I was able to attend, on behalf of the Oklahoma Golf Course Superintendent Association.  This was my first time attending National Golf Day and I was honored to be chosen to represent the OKGCSA in Washington D.C.  The GCSAA and We Are Golf organize the entire event and have done a great job coordinating congressional meetings and volunteer activities around the Mall for over 200 superintendents from across the country.  We completed needed landscape work around the memorials in the national Mall on Tuesday April 30th and then on Wednesday May 1st, we spread out at the Capitol and meet with over 210 congressional offices about the value of the golf industry.  It felt so rewarding to meet with Senators and Congressmen that represent our great state and tell them about the many benefits of the over 200 golf facilities in Oklahoma.