Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tiny Markers May Be a Major Improvement

When there is an irrigation leak during the season, and we have to isolate a section of the system, we want to be able to quickly find these valves.  Spending time poking around to locate a valve is certainly less than ideal.

Additionally, as the naturalized areas grow each spring and summer, it often becomes very difficult to locate irrigation components.  Then, when it comes time to mow these areas down in the fall, we occasionally encounter these valves and sprinklers the hard way...with the mower.  Over the years, it has become more and more clear that we needed a way to mark these irrigation components.

With most of these valves and sprinklers in out of play areas, using a small stake seemed like a reasonable idea, but the question of what kind of stake had us scratching our heads:   Wood will rot, PVC might be confused for an o/b stake, steel rebar can blend in and would be a real hazard if hit by a mower.

Fortunately, our ever-resourceful crew member, Don Robel, had an idea.  He suggested using driveway markers (the kind used to show a snow plow the edge of  a road).  After a quick Google search, we purchased a box of these, and have started placing them around the course.   Time will tell, but these markers seem like they will be great for this job.  They are made of fiberglass, and at a mere 5/16" in diameter, are relatively unobtrusive.
Stake placed next to valve box.

One extra bonus is that they are also reflective.  In the past, if finding a valve in the Fescue was difficult during the day, night time made it impossible.  However, with these markers, they can actually be seen more easily at night when you shine a light on them, than during the day.
Stake is easily seen at night.

So, if you see any of these stakes on the course, you'll know what they're for--there's no need to break out your copy of The Rules of Golf to figure out what a tiny blue and white stake designates!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

#6 Green Bunkers

The recently approved golf course Master Plan includes changes to many of the bunkers on the golf course.  However, with the bunkers at #6 green remaining as is, we felt that their renovation could easily be done in-house this spring.
The rear bunkers are surrounded by Dwarf Fountain Grass.
After hearing comments from members that they would rather land in the bunkers at #6, than outside them, it was clear that removing the jungle of Fountain Grass surrounding the hazards was a high priority.  There are always a few surprises when undertaking a project such as this, and we figured that the work required outside the bunkers would be equal to the amount required inside of them.  We were wrong--the work surrounding the bunkers has taken at least twice the time as the work inside.

The lovely Dwarf Fountain Grass (Pennisetum) didn't go quietly.  Even after scalping the area down with a mower, the grasses were too thick to use a sod cutter, and jammed our small rototillers.  A larger rototiller couldn't be used on the slopes, so we were left with one solution:  Dig each plant out by hand.  Yes, this is the kind of labor-intensive setback that is difficult to foresee, but perhaps should have been expected.

As always, the crew persevered without complaint and showed these tenacious plants who's boss.  Again, the actual bunker work was simple compared to this.

We're anticipating installing the Matrix liner this week, with sod and sand to follow.  These may not be large bunkers, but it will be nice to have two more checked off the list.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Making the Most of Mischievous Mother Nature

With morning temperatures in the 20's this week, it's difficult to believe that April started off with a high temperature of 80.  However, as always, we try to roll with the punches that Mother Nature throws at us.

The cool down this past week meant little play, and little grass to cut, giving us an opportunity to aerify the tees.

When it come to aerification, many hands may not make light work, but they do let us get the job done quickly and efficiently.  Once the aerifier finishes a tee, the cleanup crew removes the plugs, and blows any remaining debris off the tees.  The topdresser is right behind them, applying sand to the rear tee.  This will be followed by a drag broom which works the sand into the holes.

Another great job by the crew, and one  more item we can check off the lengthy springtime "to-do" list!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

High Traffic Areas

Without a continuous cart path system around the golf course, we deal with "pinch points" where cart traffic is concentrated, funneling into an area, often leading to tough times for the turf.

Aerification helps to relieve compaction in these soils, so we try to punch them as frequently as possible.   Often times, we will aerify a portion of a high traffic area, diverting cart traffic around this for a couple of weeks, allowing the aerified area to recover.  We will then come back, shift the traffic pattern and aerify the rest of it.