Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tournament Preparation Time

What's easier for a course to host, a US Open or a PGA Championship?  Well, this is something of a trick question, as hosting any major championship takes many years of planning and preparation, and could never be considered easy in any way.

However, there is one advantage that the grounds crew and dozens of volunteers have at a US Open when compared to a PGA Championship:  Daylight.  If you look at the hours of daylight we have to work with, you'll find that there is over 1 1/2 additional hours of light in the third week of June than in the second week of August.
Three hand mowers cutting #9 green and collar, pre-dawn.

While we're not hosting a major at Laurel Creek, we too face "lack of light" challenges in preparing the golf course for certain events.  In June, we can easily see at 5:00 in the morning.  By the time we get to September it's a very different story, where even a much later 6:00 start for the crew, will require the use of lights.

This time of year, when play starts from the first tee only, or even off #1 and #10, we can usually stay ahead of play without any issues.  But for an event with a shotgun start, such as the Member-Member, it just wouldn't be possible to have all areas of the course cut and blown by 8:15 AM.  So, on these occasions, the grounds crew will work a split shift, cutting the tees and fairways in the evening, and then focusing on greens and bunkers the next morning, prior to play.

We're fortunate to have a group of dedicated, hard-working individuals who will do whatever it takes to get the course in great shape for our members.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Precipitation has been well below average recently, and even with cooler temperatures and less daylight this time of year, you can still see dormant turfgrass on lawns that aren't receiving supplemental irrigation.  So, when you see some rough that's off-color, is it just dry?
Rough on the left of #16.
 Well, we've often said that a lack of moisture is only one reason turf may be brown.  Other reasons could be temperature-related dormancy, disease, or insect damage.  A tug on the grass, in the area shown above, quickly reveals that the cause of the problem is grub activity.
If the turf peels back like a rug, look for grubs.
The preventative application for white grubs was made over two months ago, and there are several possible reasons why we may not always achieve 100% control.  These include a sprayer missing an area, excessive thatch, timing of the application, or a lack of timely rainfall/irrigation to move the product into the soil.

Fortunately, we're only seeing grub activity in small, isolated areas.  With a 238 acre golf course, we won't complain about having to make a follow-up treatment on a couple of spots the size of a dining room table.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


If a picture is worth one thousand words, these photos have a lot to say:
#15 green.

#16 green.
These were taken on August 5 and September 5, and both were within a few feet of the flagstick.  Some words that come to mind:  Disturbing, upsetting, and inconsiderate.

We all know that the game of golf can be frustrating, but taking divots out of a green isn't the answer. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Waging a War on Weevils

Just as we enter the time of year when the turf should be able to recover, we were hit with another wave of Annual Bluegrass Weevil activity.  While they may be tiny, these guys can really cause some damage, particularly to the collars.
Thinning of the collar caused by weevil larvae.

  A control spray was applied on Tuesday, and many of the little guys raised the white flag.
Annual Bluegrass Weevil larvae.