Monday, December 26, 2016

Happy Holidays!

A tradition that now dates back 25 years, is the annual holiday sausage feast.

We are certainly fortunate to have such a dedicated and hard-working staff.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Big Cover Up

As most people know, Bermuda grass is considered to be a "warm-season" turf.  And while the Bermuda grass on the practice tee was bred and chosen for its tolerance to cold weather, the severe winter weather we experienced two years ago took its toll on both cool and warm-season grasses.

This past spring we re-sodded the back half of the lower practice tee with a newer variety of Bermuda, known as "Latitude 36" which was developed at Oklahoma State University, where the latitude is, yes, 36 degrees N.  For reference, Laurel Creek is located at 40 degrees N, with typical winter temperatures just slightly below those at OSU.

This past week, we covered a good portion of the Bermuda grass on the lower tee to protect it from another potentially nasty winter.  We will likely remove the cover in early March when the threat of severe weather has passed.

Whenever we incorporate  a new practice into the management of the golf course, we try to leave untreated check plots.  In this instance, by covering only a portion of the Bermuda grass, we can better evaluate the benefits of this, and see if it will be worth covering more of the tee in the future.

Given the taste of the Polar Vortex we received this past week, it looks like we may have gotten the cover down just in time.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Winter is Coming

After one of the hottest summers on record, and above average temperatures throughout the fall, we finally got a taste of some much cooler weather this past week.  While this may give the mowing equipment a break, it definitely doesn't indicate a slow down for work to be done on the course.  Here is a sampling of what the crew is working on as winter approaches:
  • Bring in course accessories such as water coolers, ball washers and divot mix boxes.
  • Repurpose the divot mix boxes with ice melt for the Clubhouse entrances.
  • Winterize the irrigation system.
  • Bring in the fountain from #5, winterize, and store.
  • Pressure wash bridges.
  • Leaf removal.
  • Prune ornamental grasses.
  • Prune red twig dogwoods and oakleaf hydrangeas.
  • Pull soil samples for testing.
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicide to tees, fairways, and rough.
  • Apply Snow Mold prevention to greens.
  • Prepare equipment for snow removal.
As Thor supervises, Dave and Don remove the ball washer from #17 tee.
In addition to these tasks, we've got a few important projects planned for the "off-season" which we will be tackling over the winter.  While these may not deliver the visual "wow" of some recent course improvements, it's often the behind the scenes preventive maintenance that keeps things running smoothly when they're pushed to the red line, as the turf was so often this year!  

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Big Blowout

The annual winterizing of the irrigation system surely marks the change of seasons.  While we typically blow out the system prior to Thanksgiving, this year we were forced to postpone the event until December.

There were two reasons for this.  First, as you have likely seen on the news, we have been way behind in precipitation for several months.  Fortunately, we finally got a good soaking rain this past week.

The second thing that made 2016 different from others, was this year's construction project on the golf course, which still had sod being installed well into mid-November.  Clearly, keeping sod alive this time of year is a whole lot easier, and requires less water, than when the project started in July.  However, once the irrigation system is shut down, we will be relying almost exclusively on rainfall to water this turf.

The golf course itself has over 20 miles of PVC and HDPE piping, so a large compressor is required to get the job of purging water from the system done quickly and efficiently.  In addition to this, we also winterize the community entrance islands' systems, the Clubhouse irrigation, the tennis courts, and the Cabana building.