Thursday, January 30, 2014

Goose Control Tactics

With 16 ponds and lakes on Club property, as well as 38 acres of wetlands, people are often amazed at how few geese are able to call Laurel Creek their home.  We incorporate a number of strategies to discourage geese from nesting on the course, however there is one particular spot where they seem to have felt pretty safe year after year:  The island between #5 green and #6 tee.

As we always say, we have to work with what Mother Nature gives us, and while January's frigid temperatures have held us back on some projects, it also gave us an opportunity to make the geese a bit less comfortable with the island.
A safety line was placed from shore to shore, and the "S.S. Minnow" stood ready, just in case any thin ice was encountered.  
This week we created a fence around the perimeter of the island.  Because of the small size and coloring of the materials we used, it isn't visible from "the mainland."   By removing easy access to and from the water, our hope is that the geese will no longer find this to be an island paradise.
Rebar was placed every 10' around the perimeter of the island, and wire was run from piece to piece at two different heights, so the geese can't limbo under or easily hop over.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


While the cold weather may signal the time that many golfers put their clubs away, the winter season is actually a sign for a number of golf course activities to move into high gear. With little mowing to be done, we can focus on critical course improvements, such as landscape projects, planting ornamental grasses, and pruning.  In fact, the key factor to a successful 2014 is what we are able to accomplish in what might erroneously be called the “off-season.”
Now, as during the rest of the year, we have to try and work with Mother Nature, not fight her.  For example, the perennial mowing of the Fescue is best done when conditions are relatively dry, but not frozen.  Similar conditions are needed for our ongoing bunker renovation—too wet is not good, but neither is ground that is too hard. 

 If the ground isn’t frozen, the winter months are a great time to install sod, and punch aerification holes.  While the cold temperatures may prevent foliar growth, sod is still able to root, and has a much better chance of survival than when placed in the spring, with stressful hot weather on the way. We can also continue solid tine aerification on the fairways, and use hollow tines on rough and green surrounds to increase pore space and improve rooting in the spring.
The time when we do need frozen ground is when tackling a drainage project.  As these areas are often soft and wet, a firm surface makes it possible to run equipment over the area we’re working on, and cut a clean trench.
The winter also gives us the opportunity to service or rebuild our equipment.  This ranges from mowing equipment to irrigation controllers and golf course accessories.  Resurfacing hazard and out-of-bounds stakes, pressure washing the bridges, preparing our ballwashers and water cooler sheds give us a great head start on the upcoming golf season.

So, without the immediate concerns of drought, insect, or disease damage to the turf, you might think things are rather quiet.  However, in terms of managing our turf, the 2014 season is already here.
A little frozen ground is good for drainage work.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bridge Work

This past week, another section of decking was replaced on the bridge from the Clubhouse.  Removing the old boards and installing the new ones goes fairly quickly. 

However, the tricky part is that in order to secure the boards and steel channel, we have to be able to access the bottom of the bridge.  After we looked at the options for this, our mechanic, Joseph, fabricated some scaffolding that works great.
Three guys over and one under.

Don's sitting down on the job, wearing a safety harness...just in case.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Two Holes in One

Thus far, January's weather has been up and down, with many days above average, and others well below.  If you are able to sneak in a round during one of the relatively warm days in the month, you will notice that we have placed two cups in each green, as we did last year.

The reason we added the second cup is to spread out the wear during a period when we may not be able to move the hole location.  With sand based greens, the surface can quickly freeze, preventing us from "cutting a cup."
So how does this two hole system work?  The idea of rotating the flagstick from one cup to the other is simple.  Before leaving each green, move the pin to the opposite hole location from the one you just played.  Thus the next group will be playing 18 different pin placements than you did.  (Of course, if you're playing a match with more than one group, only the last group should move the pin.)
As conditions allow, we'll change the two hole locations for the remainder of the winter, and go back to just one hole in another month or so when some consistently warmer weather returns. 
Please remember that this isn't intended for you to claim a round with double digit one-putts!  Once your ball is on the short grass, you're supposed to putt towards the cup with the flagstick, and not just aim for the closer cup.
Two cups on the frozen tundra of #9 green.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Winter Work

This time of year, there are only a handful of golf course maintenance employees working.  However, just as in the summer, they arrive early, regardless of the weather. 

So far this winter, a good deal of their time has been spent on snow removal.
The street lights are still on as the crew clears the snow from the Clubhouse.