Friday, October 30, 2015

Getting Geese to Go

With 16 ponds and 40 acres of wetlands on Club property, the potential for geese to quickly become a big, messy problem is always on our minds.  Preventing this is an ongoing battle, and requires a multipronged attack.

The measures we use to discourage geese from calling Laurel Creek home include noise makers, stringing wire across the lakes, egg addling, and the stare down from pooches Buster and Thor.  While these tactics get most geese to quickly take flight, there always seem to be a few stubborn ones that just don't want to leave.

Thankfully, we acquired a new piece of equipment this year which has proven to be very effective in getting the geese to go--a laser pointer.
To be clear, this isn't the kind of pointer you'd use for your Powerpoint presentation.  No, this is a powerful beam which can even be used during daylight.  As the photo shows, the laser can easily be seen across the lake on the rocks behind #5 green.  Focusing this on geese quickly makes them nervous, and off they go.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

That's some fine Fine Fescue

The goal in the Fescue areas of the golf course is to create a sward which is penal, yet allows the ball to be found and advanced.  While this sounds simple enough, achieving this is anything but easy for a number of reasons.

One of the more common issues we deal with is the Fescue receiving unwanted inputs, such as irrigation water.  The tee irrigation which was installed a few years ago has at least allowed us to target the tee boxes, and not unnecessarily throw water into the Fescue.  While the extremely dry parts of August and September presented many challenges on the golf course, it did benefit the Fescue.  With no rainfall, there was a dramatic difference between Fescue which received irrigation and that which did not.

The picture below was taken from #9 tee.  In the foreground, adjacent to the tee, you can see lush, green, and very thick Fescue.  However, as you look toward the fairway, there was quite a dramatic difference:

A closer look at an unirrigated area of Fescue shows this more clearly:
Aesthetically, the Fescue may have been past its prime, as seedheads had already broken off.  However, from a playability standpoint, it was at its peak--a ball landing here could easily be found and advanced.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Never a Dull Moment

It appeared to be bad news, as one of our pump station's pressure maintenance pump was producing a very low volume of water.  With the station isolated from the golf course, the 5 horsepower motor should be doing much better than this trickle:

One of the challenges in determining the cause of the problem is that the pressure maintenance pump and its submersible motor are both located beneath the pump station skid in the concrete vault known as a wet well.

From ground level, this is what the pump station skid looks like:

Peering in the access hatch on the right side of the skid, you can see that the two main pump discharge pipes are on the sides, with the smaller pressure maintenance discharge pipe and its electrical supply conduit located between them.

It looked like we were going to have to have a service truck come in and pull the steel discharge pipe, pressure maintenance pump and motor up out of the wet well--not a quick, easy, or inexpensive solution. 

However, before going that route it seemed like a reasonably nice day for a dip.  So, into the wet well I went, and for my efforts, the treasure I was rewarded with was...a plastic shopping bag wrapped around the pump's impeller.  Not sure how it got there, but that's the kind of quick fix, we'll happily take.

Now this flow looks much better:

Friday, October 9, 2015

Dead or Dormant?

Every year we hear people refer to their unirrigated lawns as "dead" in the summer.  With a very hot, dry August and September, this year was no exception.  The area behind #1 green was definitely looking crispy in mid-September.  But was this grass dead or just dormant?

Well, if you look at this same area today, low and behold the grass has magically come back to life.

So what was done here to cause such a remarkable improvement--aerification, seed, fertilizer?  No, just some much needed rainfall and cooler temperatures were all it took to get this turf back in decent shape.  Next summer, try to remember, it's not dead, just dormant.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Cut While You Can

Once again, we should be careful what we wish for.  Following a very dry August and September, some steady rainfall was welcomed.  However, after five days in a row with precipitation, totaling 5.25", enough is enough.

This time of year we are typically mowing greens every day, and fairways three times per week.  Non-stop rain can lead to some tough choices:  Should we cut wet turf and risk mechanical damage, or not cut and deal with potential scalping by removing too much leaf tissue when we can finally get the mowers out?
Definitely no fairway mowing could be done on Friday.

Fortunately, with well-draining, sand-based greens, we were able to find a break between showers and still get the greens cut every day last week.  The fairways, on the other hand, went from Thursday until Monday without being cut.

Four days between mowings on fairways can be a problem.  However, prior to last week's rain, we made a pretty heavy application of plant growth regulator on the fairways to slow growth.  Between this, and some very cool nights, growth was slowed, and we didn't have to deal with "baling hay" this time.