Sunday, December 27, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Even though you'd never know it was now winter from the weather, it's still one of our favorite times of the year.  The crew toils tirelessly day in and day out, and this group certainly deserves some rest and a hearty meal.

We appreciate the privilege of being able to enjoy the beauty of Laurel Creek each and every day.

However, at this time of the year we are especially thankful to all who make this possible.  From a great group of dedicated employees we get to work with, to the many members who give their time to enhance Laurel Creek now and for the future, we wish you Happy Holidays and a wonderful 2016!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Buried Treasure

While we may not have found anything we could use to pay off holiday shopping bills, the rental of a metal detector last week did help locate several irrigation quick coupler valves, many of which had been buried for the past 25 years.
The $15 to rent a metal detector was well worth it.

Without an "as-built" or drawing of record for the golf course irrigation system, locating valves can be difficult.  For some holes, we have the irrigation contractor's field notes, which can be helpful, but aren't drawn to scale, and often are like trying to decipher hieroglyphics. 

The quick coupler valves we located are what we connect to for handwatering with a hose.  When originally installed, no valve boxes were placed around these, so many were soon grown over.  Other isolation valves on the golf course only had a 4" sleeve of PVC and 4" cap over them.  Trying to find a 4" lid in the Fescue is truly like trying to find a needle in a haystack. 

In an effort to make all irrigation components easier to find, we have standardized on using 10" round valve boxes.  When you know the general idea of a valve's location, this dramatically increases the odds of finding it, as a 10" round lid has close to 3X the surface area of a 6" lid, and more than 6X  the area of a 4" lid.
This quick coupler valve sees the light of day for the first time in 25 years.

One of the projects we'll be tackling this winter is the installation of 60 additional quick coupler valves, primarily for hand watering fairways.  For both the new and old valves, we'll be sure to place them in valve boxes, so it's not the year 2040 when someone finds them again.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Research that Helps in the Real World

This past week, turf managers from around the northeast attended the 40th New Jersey Green Expo.  At events such as this, there are numerous opportunities to gain information from several different sources, including university turfgrass researchers.

One of the most interesting, and potentailly helpful presentations at this year's Expo involved management of the disease Anthracnose.  For years Anthracnose has caused turf loss on putting greens, and researchers at Rutgers have spent over a decade looking for the solutions to this problem.

During this time, a set of best management practices have been established for reducing Anthracnose.  However some of these recommendations often come at the expense of playability--green speed, in particular.  This can leave turf managers feeling caught between two options, neither of which are appealing:  Lean, fast greens, which are susceptible to Anthracnose, or slower greens, and unhappy golfers.

Having already told us how best to prevent Anthracnose, it would have been understandable if the team at Rutgers had gone no further in their study of the disease, feeling that their job was done.  However, that hasn't been the case.

Realizing that some of the suggested best management practices for reducing Anthracnose may be at loggerheads with golfers' high expectations, the researchers have truly gone the extra mile in their efforts to provide us with practical, real world solutions.

The on-going research has now looked at different agronomic practices, such as topdressing, nitrogen fertility, and mowing height, to see how they all interact, both in terms of disease severity, and ball roll.  The presentation given last week did an excellent job of showing the options for preventing Anthracnose while still maintaining acceptable green speed.

It's understandable if this puts many people to sleep.  However, for those of us who live and love golf course turf, this is the kind of research that is invaluable in helping us create sound, science-based golf course management programs.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Good team work leads to better bunkers

As we often say, you have to try to work with Mother Nature and not against her.  So, given the dreary weather and saturated conditions earlier in the week, the tasks we could tackle were somewhat limited. 

However, the crew was able to make great use of the time and bang out some bunker work.  In a couple of days they got the bunkers nicely edged. 
Mike uses the reciprocator to cut a new edge on #8's bunkers.
 Given the limited play and growth during the winter months, this clean edge should last well into the spring, giving us a head start on 2016's to-do list.