Friday, December 27, 2013

Behind the Scenes

Depending on when you play your round at Laurel Creek, you may seldom see any of the dedicated staff who tend the grounds.  In an effort to minimize disruption to you, they arrive in the dark day in and day out, and are often stealth-like in their approach to carrying out their assignments.

At this time of year, we show our appreciation for their efforts with our annual kielbasa cookout.  This year's weather forced the festivities to be moved indoors, but everyone had a great time, and nobody left hungry!

So the next time you catch a glimpse of the folks who are typically working behind the scenes, please take a second to thank them for the work they do--it will certainly be appreciated.
Some of the crew enjoying a Holiday feast.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Christmas Cart Conundrum

Christmas has yet to arrive, and we've already experienced four snow events this December, and some bone-chilling temperatures.  Warmer weather this weekend is certainly welcome, however there is some concern for the turf during these freeze-thaw cycles. 

In the past three weeks, we've received the equivalent of three inches of rain, so the frozen soil is holding a great deal of moisture.  The trouble can occur as things begin to warm up, since the first area to thaw out is at the surface.  With frozen ground below, the water near the surface can't percolate into the frozen ground beneath.  As seen in the picture, as the snow melts, water often just runs across the surface.

What happens if golf carts are allowed on these areas too soon?  The turf may experience shearing of the roots from mechanical injury, as if a sod cutter had been used on it. 
So please understand that if carts aren't permitted at times during the winter, we're not trying to be Grinch-like.  To the contrary--we're protecting the course for the long run, so you will have the in-season conditions you want. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Planning Time

We are often asked, "What do you do in the winter?"  Typically, there are a number of outdoor projects which we undertake this time of year, including drainage, bunker work, sodding, pruning, and even  replacing bridge decking.

However, one of the most important winter projects we tackle takes place indoors.  This is the detailed operational planning for the upcoming year.  We will review prior years' procedures, look at what worked well, areas that need improvement, and make adjustments going forward.

One of the best sources of information we have for planning, comes from attending turf conferences such as the New Jersey Green Expo, which was held this week.  University researchers from as far away as North Carolina, Michigan, and Rhode Island presented information to attendees this year.  Some of the topics they covered included management of Fine Fescue areas, Bacterial Wilt on putting greens, and control options for the Annual Bluegrass Weevil.

Having the opportunity to discuss these important subjects with the experts, as well as other golf course managers, often provides some of the key new tips, tricks, and techniques which we will incorporate into our operation next year. 
Endophytes in Fine Fescues--exciting stuff for some of us!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Getting a Jump on 2014

While the grass is not requiring much mowing right now, there are still a number of important jobs that are taking place to care for the golf course turf.  One of these is the application of the pre-emergent herbicide for 2014.  That’s right, we are applying material now that will control weeds such as crabgrass and goosegrass next summer.

Traditionally, this application would be made in the spring, prior to crabgrass germination.  However, when springtime arrives, it often feels as if we have 1,000 tasks that all must be done at the same time.  The herbicide we use for crab and goosegrass control needs to be applied to all areas of the course except the greens.  This is quite a time-consuming job, as we use both a tractor-mounted spreader and several hand spreaders.
So, what’s the advantage of making this application in late fall, instead of waiting until the spring?  With cooler temperatures now, and less traffic on the course, we can focus on carefully applying this material.  And, we can check this big job off our “to do” list next spring—which means we’ll only have 999 things left to take care of!