Friday, December 28, 2012

Winter Work

While things may not be quite as hectic in the winter as they are during the golf season, it doesn't mean that there isn't plenty of work to be done.  To a large extent, the tasks we're working on now are geared towards having a successful 2013 season.

One of the important jobs we can address now is to resurface the hazard stakes.  Originally, these stakes were pieces of 2" X 3" wood which had to be painted annually, and only lasted a few years, since they would eventually rot. 

However, about 10 years ago we purchased some lengths of colored recycled plastic, which we then cut into stakes.  While these are much more durable than wood, there is some fading of the surface layer from exposure to the Sun. 

But the great thing with plastic is that the color is throughout the stake, so there is a simple procedure to make them shine again.  We run the stakes through a planer every couple of years, removing a very small amount of the faded, outside material.  This reveals the shiny red material within, and best of all, there's no rotten stakes, or paint to deal with!

With hazard stakes located on 16 of our 18 holes, there are hundreds of these to be checked and made ready for next year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thanks to the Crew

At this time of year, only a handful of the Grounds Staff are still here.  However,  for over 20 years, we have a tradition of serving lunch to all of the employees who helped throughout the golf season. 

These individuals often work behind the scenes, getting up early, toiling in the heat, cold and rain.  We are fortunate to have a great group that takes pride in their work, and makes every effort to give you a well-conditioned course every day.

A few of the crew (and Buster) getting ready to cook some kielbasa.

Friday, December 14, 2012

To Patch or to Replace, That is the Question

Throughout the year, we are often asked whether it's better to replace a divot, or to fill it with the mix.  Clearly the answer depends.

In the heat of the summer, even a carefully replaced divot can quickly shrivel up and die.  So, in general, during the hot weather, you're better off filling that crater with the mix.

However, during the shoulder seasons and in the winter, often the best decision is to replace the divot.  With cooler weather, there is a good chance that a carefully replaced divot will survive and knit back into the earth.  In addition, with cold temperatures, there's little likelihood of the seed in the divot mix germinating, so divot replacement is going to be the better choice.

Of course, when some players take a divot, it explodes, and can't be replaced.  In this case, even in the winter, go ahead and smooth the surface with some divot mix, instead of leaving the point of detonation unrepaired. 

Remember, the Rules of Golf do not allow you to move your ball out of a divot hole without penalty.  So, as you would with a bunker, please repair your divot in the way that will provide the best surface for those players who come behind you.
A replaced divot, healing in nicely.

A divot that has been properly filled with mix.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Gift That Will Definitely Pay For Itself

As we head towards the holidays, you're probably thinking more about snow than about watering your lawn.  However, if you want to get a jump on things for next year, you really should check out this gadget from Toro:

This device is called the Xtra Smart Precision Soil Moisture Sensor, and it has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of water you use to irrigate your lawn.

While all home irrigation systems should have a rain shut-off device of some kind attached, most of these are triggered by conditions in the air, not the ground.  Because of this, one warm day after a rain storm might be all it takes for a rain sensor that relies primarily on evaporation to turn the irrigation system back on.  However, the new Toro sensor is measuring the moisture level in the ground, and turning the system on or off based on this. 

Think about it--traditionally, rain sensors are placed up high where your irrigation water won't trigger them. So, once the rain sensor allows the system to start running again, it will keep going on your programmed days until the next rain event. In contrast, with the Xtra Smart Sensor placed in an irrigated area of your lawn, it will prevent the system from running until the soil moisture conditions indicate you need irrigation.  Only when the sensor indicates water is needed, will the irrigation controller then be allowed to water. 

One important note:  It is critical that the sensor be installed in an area of the lawn that is representative of the entire system.  An example of what not to do would be to locate the sensor in a shady area that always stays wet.  Doing this would prevent other areas of the system from ever running.

The new Toro moisture is similar to the ones we have on the golf course, which provide us with valuable real-time information about what is going on in the greens, tees, and fairways.  The bottom line is that, when installed and calibrated correctly, this type of device is less likely than a traditional moisture sensor to have the system run when it doesn't need to.  Water is saved, money is saved, and your lawn is doesn't get much better than that!

So, if you're looking for a great gift for the holidays, this might be something to consider.  Like most things, it's available at, or for more information simply click on the link below: