Friday, August 30, 2013

Approach Topdressing

During our annual August fairway aerification, we treat the approaches differently than the rest of the fairway.  On most of the fairway acreage, the aerification plugs are chopped  and dragged to separate the soil from the thatch.  The thatch is then collected and removed, while the soil is dragged back into the holes.

However, on the approaches, the whole aerification plug is picked up and removed.  The approach is then topdressed with sand, which is broomed into the holes.  The long-term goal of this process is to help in firming up the approaches.

Sand is being applied to #2 approach.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Transformer

This past winter we replaced our 1990 backhoe with a smaller, more versatile machine.  Throughout most of the year it functions as a front-end loader and backhoe.  However, during aerification time, when we need every piece of equipment available for clean-up duty, the new Kubota quickly transforms to a standard utility tractor.
Our "fully assembled" tractor-loader-backhoe.


The front bucket and backhoe have been dropped off, and a PTO blower installed.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Aerification Update

We had two days this week scheduled for aerification, and given this year's weather, it should have come as no surprise that it rained on both of those days.

Monday morning we started aerifying greens, and by mid-day things were rolling along smoothly--until the skies opened up around 1:00, for about 15 minutes.  At that time, we had greens in every different phase of the operation.  What does that mean?

Here are the steps we take during the August aerification:
  • Greens are aerified.
  • Plugs are blown in around the edges.
  • Plugs are removed and any clumps are blown from putting surface.
  • Sand is applied.
  • Sand is broomed into the holes.
  • Green is a given a final blowing.
So, at the time it started raining, a few greens had all of these steps completed, while most were in some different stage, and others weren't even aerified yet.  The result was something of a mess.  Wet plugs aren't the easiest thing to cleanly remove, and as it got later in the day, some of the plugs that had been rained on began to dry and stick to the green's surface--this was not  a lot of fun. 

The rain also played havoc on getting the right amount of sand applied.  Some sand was nicely washed into the holes, other sand moved across the green from the rain, and in other areas it "bridged" on top of the holes.  It felt like Goldilocks again, with some greens looking like there was too much sand, others too little, and some just right.

On Tuesday we were ready to move on to tees...but Mother Nature had other plans in store for the morning.  After making a go of it on a handful of tees in the morning, thunder and lightning chased us off the course.  By the time the rain stopped it was too wet to even attempt pulling cores.

We ended the week with great weather and got started on a couple of fairways.  If nothing else, the rain earlier in the week ushered in some cool nights which should help the greens heal quickly.

Three days after aerification, the greens are starting to fill in.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fescue Trial

As you play #8, you'll see a section of Fescue that's been mown closely and is now roped off.  For those who often find themselves spending time looking for a ball in this area, the bad news is that this won't stay short forever.  So, what's going on?
Excess organic matter is raked up and removed from #8.
This location is being used as a trial area for a different variety of Fescue.  In a few weeks, this small patch of Fescue is going to be reseeded using a variety of Hard Fescue known as  Aurora Gold.  Prior to seeding, we will make multiple applications of Roundup to make sure we are starting with a weed free area.

The goal is to establish Fescue that meets the goals of being penal, while still allowing a ball to be found and advanced.

A dye is added to the Roundup so we can see that there is thorough coverage.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tee Irrigation Update

If you've been on the course lately, you probably saw lots of activity around the tees.  Our irrigation contractor is doing a great job of quickly and efficiently installing the new sprinklers and piping.

Unlike the older sprinklers which were spaced 80' apart, the new layout is using spacing from 30'-45' so we may more accurately place the water where needed.  We are also using HDPE piping instead of PVC.  With HDPE, sections of pipe and fittings are fused together, creating a monolithic system, which virtually eliminates the chance of leaks.

We apologize for any inconvenience, and will try to minimize the impact to players by relocating the tee markers on the hole the contractor is working on.
With a large crew, the tee irrigation project is moving along quickly.