Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Day at the Beach

Three weeks ago, we began prepping the bunkers for the Matrix bunker liner.  Old sand was removed, old drain lines were cleaned and replaced, and new drainage was added where needed.  On #9 fairway bunker, over 400 feet of additional drainage was added.
With 15 feet of elevation change in this bunker, good drainage beneath the asphalt is a key to preventing sand from moving during heavy rains.

Last week, we completed the installation of the porous asphalt liner on four bunkers.  That left the mere task of placing 360 tons of sand in these bunkers.  
#9 prepped with new drainage, prior to asphalt installation.

The two bunkers on #17 are finished, as is the greenside bunker on #10.  This leaves only the fairway bunker on #9.  However, at 11,000 square feet,  this bunker will take over 400,000 pounds of sand.

#9, asphalt completed.  50 tons of sand installed...and counting.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Back to Bunkers

As we did last year on #7, porous asphalt is being used as a liner in the base of bunkers.  This spring, the large fairway bunker on #9, the green side bunker on #10, and the bunkers on #17 are being re-built.
Installing asphalt liner on #10 green bunker.

The innovative idea of using asphalt (referred to as the Matrix Bunker System), was developed by Dan Meersman, the Director of Grounds at Philadelphia Cricket Club.  The asphalt remains porous because it contains fewer small particles, and is not compacted with a heavy roller.  Once it cools, water will flow freely to the drain lines below.  The 23" of rain we received last June and July were the ultimate test for #7, and the bunker held up great.
Two of these yellow dumper trucks were used to transport the asphalt.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fescue Weed Control

A week ago, we did the first weed control to the new area of Fescue on #8.  Dabber bottles (like you'd use for bingo) were filled with Roundup, and the undesirable grasses were touched with the sponge applicator.  This method of weed control is a bit time-consuming, but quite effective.
Mike applies the non-selective herbicide directly to the plant.
Jeff, Mike (and Thor) check the area for weeds.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What a Winter!

As we gratefully welcome spring, the question on everyone's mind seems to be, how did all of the nasty weather we endured affect the golf course?  The quick answer is that we haven't seen any major issues as the course has emerged from beneath the frozen tundra.  But let's look at things in a bit more detail.
With Poa Annua as the dominant species of grass on the greens, there definitely was greater concern for winter injury than with Creeping Bentgrass.  Poa is more susceptible to direct kill from cold temperatures, as well as less tolerant of ice cover.  Because of this, the prolonged snow cover we experienced may have actually helped.  Unlike ice, snow allows gas exchange, while providing a layer of insulation and preventing dessication from wind.
However, there was one downside to the lengthy snow cover--it provided a great opportunity for Pink Snow Mold to develop.  While we typically think of turf diseases appearing when it's hot and humid, snow mold thrives in cool, wet conditions.  Fortunately, the turf will grow out of any snow mold damage as soon as we have some consistently warm temperatures.
People have also wondered if the extreme cold will lessen the populations of damaging insects this year.  Based on history, it's unlikely.  Insects seem to be quite adaptable, so we're going to prepare for the battle against the Annual Bluegrass Weevil, and you should be ready for those pesky Stink Bugs to try and sneak into your house.
There were a couple of potential benefits from the extreme cold temperatures.  Freezing and thawing cycles can reduce compaction in the soil, potentially leading to better drainage and rooting.  The cold also helps increase the efficacy of the selective herbicide we apply in the fall to keep Poa out of the tees and fairways.  In general, the more sever the winter, the better this product works on the Poa.
So here’s the bottom line:  While this winter wasn't fun for some, it looks like the course held up well, and we'll be ready to go in good shape as soon as Mother Nature drops the "green" flag this spring.

Even the ballwashers were happy to head back out, as the threat of freezing temperatures has finally ended.