Saturday, January 23, 2021

Paving Project

A record number of rounds, and the fact that you can now get more than just water to drink when playing #6 or 14, has led to some serious traffic issues in this area over the last year.  We have recently done a couple of things to address the traffic damage on the right side of #6.  

First, we stripped the knob of the "not so fine-looking" Fine Fescue, then softened the mounding a touch, and resodded this to a Primary Rough sod.  The second improvement in this area was to have a pull off area paved.

With the paving contractor already working in the area, we had the path at #13 green and #14 tees resurfaced.  The beginning of this cart path was a real rollercoaster ride for their equipment, but the finished product will give you a smooth ride in your cart.  

The team will be finishing up some edge repairs, as the weather permits.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Project Time

 As you may recall, the Medal tee on #9 got lumped up last summer when a municipal water supply line ruptured beneath it ("It could have been worse").  Given that a good bit of the tee remained useable, we opted to wait until the off-season to regrade it, and we tackled the project this past week.

The process started by stripping the existing Bentgrass.  You might never realize how large some of our tees are--until you pick up all of the sod from them.

With a good amount of thatch accumulation on this par 5 tee, we actually went over it twice with the sod cutter.  The first time was to harvest the Bent, and the second was to strip the layer of organic matter beneath it.  So, yes, if you think picking up this much sod once is fun, doing it twice was really something!  Once the sod was removed, we had a contractor come in to re-level the surface.

After grading was completed, we had the pleasure of replacing the Bentgrass.

One of the final steps was to roll the tee.  Until the tee is ready for use this spring, we will be shifting the Medal markers to either the front of the Palmer tee, or rear of the Honors tee.

One thing we typically take for granted in January is not having to look over our shoulders when working on the course.  That has not been the case this month, as the mild temperatures brought out plenty of members, and had us dodging balls like it was April.  

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Thank you, Thor

 One of the many benefits of being a golf course employee, is that you are typically working in a "pet friendly" environment.  Dogs are found on most courses, and having them there is often a symbiotic relationship--one which both the members and the employees appreciate (as well as the lucky pup of the golf course).

This has definitely been the case for the past eight years with Thor.  We were fortunate to adopt him from a caring family when he was three, and while his personality didn't exactly match his name, he quickly learned his job at Laurel Creek, and earned a title:  Wildlife Manager

Sadly, we recently lost Thor--just one more jab during 2020.  He was a creature of habit who loved his daily routine, and was a wonderful copilot when checking the course each morning.    

With 15 ponds and 40 acres of wetlands, members often ask how we are able to have so few geese on the golf course.  The answer is that we use a variety of methods to make it clear that the "No Vacancy" sign is up at Laurel Creek.  Over the years, our dogs have certainly been one of the best deterrents, including Thor and Buster.  

Thor loved water in any form, whether it was bobbing his head in the lakes, chomping on sprinklers, or just hanging out in the snow.

Given this affinity for water, Thor assumed he would be the obvious choice when it came to supervising all irrigation repairs.

Never one to shy away from the camera, he also enjoyed participating in Club events...

Thor is sorely missed--he loved every person he met, and was rewarded tenfold with the affection he received in return.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

New year, new habits...

 It's now 2021, and perhaps some New Year's resolutions might be in order.  As a suggestion, it would be greatly appreciated if everyone could make a sincere effort to adhere to the "Mats Only" policy at the range during the winter.  We were greeted during the final week of 2020 by this excellent example of how to properly practice in a linear manner on the tee:  

Without question, this is the perfect divot pattern, and one which will help speed turf recovery--in July...  Unfortunately, having occurred at the end of December, this area of overseeded Bermudagrass will likely not fill in until Memorial Day.  

Not surprisingly, once one person thinks this is acceptable, so too do others.  The beautiful divot pattern above quickly got amended, and on January 1 looked like this:

If you stop for a second and think about it, your home lawn likely goes four to five months between the final fall mowing, and the first spring mowing.  The reason for this is pretty simple--the grass isn't growing, and therefore will not recover from any damage inflicted upon it during this time of the year.  The grass on the golf course is no different.

We've discussed the need to be cautious with carts this time of year before.  Please, respect the guidelines put in place, which are there for the long-term benefit of all of the Club's members. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Feeling grateful!

Without exception, we have all heard the many adjectives used to describe 2020--some of which aren't fit to print.  As with everything else in 2020, when trying to maintain the golf course, we often had to quickly change and adapt to whatever was thrown at us.  

Credit for any success we had this year belongs to the team that continued to work through these uncertain times.  Their positive attitude, and "get it done" mentality never wavered, and provided stability we all could use.  So, as we prepare to close the books on 2020, we say thank you to these hardworking individuals!  

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Finally feeling like winter

 After a virtually snowless winter last year, it was nice to see the course covered in a coating of white this past week.   With close to 300 rounds the prior weekend--a crazy number for mid-December--the course is ready for a break from the action.  

In addition to the Clubhouse, the Grounds team clears snow from the several sidewalks where golf course property adjoins the street.  This includes the areas behind #10 green, #1 green, #8 green, #7 green, #5 tee, and #14 green.

Our snow blower typically makes this an effortless process, however the temperature fluctuations during the storm led to a layer of ice forming, which created some challenging conditions when it was time to do our clean up. For the most part, the snow blower was just gliding across the top of it, so a good bit of handwork was required to chip the ice away.

The snow also had some of the woodland creatures looking for shelter.  One cute youngster was spotted seeking refuge in the shrubs behind the Clubhouse.

Of course it could just be that we got some extremely realistic Holiday decorations this year...

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Solid Tining Fairways

 We are continuing to make holes this fall, now using solid tines on the fairways.  This practice provides several benefits.  The heavy duty machine has a slight "kick" to it, which purposefully causes some heaving of the ground as the tine enters and exits.  This fracturing of the soil increases pore space and decreases compaction caused by traffic, thereby allowing for better water infiltration, more oxygen in the root zone, and ultimately, improved rooting.

We follow up the solid tining with a roller to smooth the surface.  The aerifier we acquired this year is able to go deeper than our previous machine, and it heaved-up a surprisingly large rock on #4 fairway this past week.  

When you discover something like this, a few thoughts come to mind:

  • You never know what you'll hit when you stick a shovel in the ground.
  • A plant's appearance is typically dictated by what is happening below ground--however there may be minor exceptions to this rule.
  • Maybe we really could grow grass on a sidewalk...