Friday, February 27, 2015

The 2015 Golf Industry Show

The Golf Industry Show took place this week in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to some great educational sessions, one of the other highlights of this event is the trade show.  This year, over 500 exhibitors showcased the latest and greatest in equipment and products for turf care on 180,000 square feet of the convention center's floor.

The show also provides a unique opportunity to connect with other superintendents from around the world.  This allows us to exchange ideas which we may then implement into our course management program.

One common theme in talking to people at the show this year is the growing frustration with the cold weather throughout many regions of the country.  With several projects to work on, we're all hoping that things will thaw out quickly!
There's always a lot to take in at the annual Golf Industry Show.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


While the cold, winter weather may signal the time that many golfers put their clubs away, the change of seasons 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 drainage, bridge repair, bunker renovation, and pruning.  In fact, the key factor to a successful 2015 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.

Application of our 2015 crabgrass pre-emergent herbicide is more efficient to schedule now than waiting until the spring, when it would traditionally take place.  The newer control products allow us to make this application in late fall or winter, preventing Crabgrass and Goosegrass throughout next year's entire growing season, instead of waiting until the spring when there will be hundreds of other activities that will need to get accomplished.

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 2015 season is already here.
Frozen soil often provides the perfect conditions for drainage work.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Back to Bunkers

Despite some challenging conditions this week, the guys persevered and were able to get one of the bunkers at #2 green prepped for the asphalt liner, which will be installed this spring.  In order to prevent the bunker base from freezing at night, we placed a turf blanket inside the bunker to help keep the ground a bit warmer.  However, given the frigid weather forecast, we'll be looking at frozen ground for some time, and it's unlikely we'll be able to do any bunker work next week.

Old drain lines are cleaned and new ones added.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Let's Make It a Priority

During television coverage of golf, cameras are quickly cutting from one shot to another, and often times we don't see players walking up to the green.  However, at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship last month, we got to see both Rory McIlroy and Miguel Angel Jimenez stroll to the short grass at a time when they both must have been very excited, having just hit a hole-in-one.  For Rory, it was his first ace as a professional, so you know he was feeling pumped up. 

What was noteworthy about seeing these professional golfers walk onto the putting surface?  Well, at a time when most people might dash to the flagstick to peer down in confirmation of their feat, instead, both of these players walked onto the green and headed directly to their ballmark and repaired it, before heading over to the cup.
The often animated Miguel Angel Jimenez carefully repairs his ballmark.

It's pretty clear that these guys understand the importance of properly repairing their ballmark every time.  A properly repaired ball mark leaves a smooth surface, and heals in much less time than one left unrepaired.  We are now well into 2015, but perhaps it's not too late to make a new year's resolution:  Let's make ballmark repair a priority in 2015! 

Rory McIlroy's hole-in-one in Abu Dhabi

Miguel Angel Jimenez's hole-in-one in Abu Dhabi