Friday, April 24, 2015

Bunker Pump

In an ideal world, bunkers would drain flawlessly and never require pumping to remove water.  However, realistically a bunker pump is a necessary piece of equipment for most golf courses.  Our old pump required two people to carry and a lengthy discharge hose which had to be rolled out and then gathered up after each bunker.

This year we replaced the old pump with a unit that one person can operate by themselves, and no hose is required.  The new pump attaches to the back of our 25 year old bunker machine.

While pumping bunkers is never a lot of fun, this piece of equipment is a huge improvement for us.

Our mechanic, Joseph, checks out the operation of our new bunker pump.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fire Prevention

As you play the course this spring, you may notice a strip of sod across #2 fairway, and wonder what happened.  Here's the story:  Our tractor-mounted fertilizer spreader has a hitch under the spout.  I guess it's possible that you could use this hitch to tow a trailer of material to a site, then unhook it and begin using the spreader.  However, I've never known of anyone to put this hitch to use.

Unfortunately, as you can see below, we have found this part of the spreader cuts an excellent gouge into the turf when the spreader is on the ground and the tractor moves forward.  In a perfect world, the spreader would only be lowered to the ground for filling the hopper, and always be well off the ground as the tractor moves.  This may sound pretty simple, however the operator has a lot to keep track of--the speed of the tractor, the engine RPMs, his spacing between passes, the need to engage the tractor's differential lock or four wheel drive, etc. 

A bump of a lever can inadvertently lower the spreader, and voila, in a few seconds we have a pretty good dig mark.  So, that answers the question of why we needed to sod a strip on #2 fairway.  But here is the rest of the story.

While the accidental lowering of the spreader has happened only a couple of times over the years, it clearly creates a significant issue when it occurs.  Instead of putting out fires like this, we would prefer to practice some fire prevention.  To that end, our mechanic, Joseph, came up with a simple solution that will prevent us from having to deal with this headache in the future.

As you can see in the picture, Joseph attached an old mower roller and bracket to the back of the spreader.  If it gets too low, it can now safely glide along without causing any damage.  We always welcome innovative ideas that help the operation.  Great job, Joseph--that's one less fire we'll ever need to put out!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Winter Injury

The good news is that 99.9% of the green surfaces made it through this brutal winter without any lasting injury.  However, we're now seeing that 0.1% wasn't so fortunate.  The putting green at #1 tee has a low area where ice formed, and the Poa in this location didn't fare well under these conditions.
In order to help recovery, we have aerified, seeded, topdressed, and rolled this area.
The Bentgrass is green and healthy, having survived the winter much better than the Poa Annua.
Why was this the sole spot to have turf loss?  Ice is the short answer, but this green has other challenges which may have predisposed it to weakened grass, including growing environment, size, traffic volume and drainage.  We will monitor this area closely and take additional steps as warranted to aid in recovery. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bunker Etiquette

This may fall into the category of a picture being worth one thousand words.
A bunker is a hazard, and is intended to be penal.  However, it's truly adding insult to injury when your ball lands in a 2" depression left by someone's unraked footprint. 

Keep in mind that if your ball landed there, someone else's may as well--please be sure to leave the bunker raked smoothly for those that follow.