We recently received our two new rough mowers, as well as a new bunker rake. Replacing some of our older equipment has been long overdue. I'm looking forward to being able to keep a consistent rough cut. They won't look this pretty for long!
Well, its officially that time of year. The leaves are beginning to change color and the aerification equipment is being put to use. This week we are aerifying and sanding tees and approaches. Monday, September 20th, we will be aerifying and sanding greens, followed by the fairways. This is always a busy time of the year for the maintenance staff, but a nice change from the monotony of routine maintenance.
I'm back! I apologize for the month and a half hiatus. We have been busy on the course and a little short staffed at the moment. It seems every year I long for summer to arrive and look forward to the end of the rain. However by about mid-August I begin to countdown the weeks until fall aerification and the end of irrigation season.
Here are a few photos of typical weekly maintenance practices that occur during the season.
We verticut greens once a month at a depth of 1/16" below height of cut. This is followed by a light sand topdressing.
We typically roll greens three times per week. Greens are hand watered daily to maintain turf health and consistency.
Well it's the middle of June and it feels like May. This has been an unusually cool, wet spring. We have yet to irrigate the entire golf course, as we have only watered greens and tees as needed. The cool temperatures have been ideal for growing cool season turf and the golf course is in great shape. I'll share a few recent photos...
May has been a busy month with the arrival of some warmer temperatures. We have completed all of our aerification and sanding throughout the entire course. With our major Spring cultural practices behind us we can begin to focus on routine maintenance. Here are a couple of photos of the new ladies tee on # 2 and the wildflower area we planted in early March.
Spring is the time of year when we typically try and complete any reshaping of fairways as needed. First, we paint out the desired shape and then we mow out the new area with push mowers. This allows us the opporunity to view the new fairway shape and make any changes necessary before we scalp the turf down to fairway height.
It has been a busy couple of weeks on the golf course. Last week we completed greens aerification and are about half way through fairway aerification and sanding. This week we applied our Spring fertilizer and are now in the process of building a new ladies tee on #2. This photo is of #8 green one week after aerification. The greens are healing very quickly due to the weather.
Here is the beginning of the new ladies tee on #2. The base is shaped and graded using soil and will then be capped with 4" of sand. Next week I will post the finished product.
It's that time of year when golf courses begin to aerify. Many golfers often wonder why it is necessary to aerify every year. This picture demonstrates one of the many reasons aerification is necessary. Over time the putting greens become compacted due to foot traffic and equipment. The surface of the putting green becomes "sealed off" making it difficult for water to penetrate and infiltrate through the soil profile. The result is puddles of water after rain events like you see in the photo.
We have recently completed a few small projects throughout the golf course. As part of our committment to the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program we have converted a former landscape bed into a wildflower area. We hope this area will be home to many pollinators. This photo shows the area at the time of seeding. We will update photos as the wildflowers appear.
In an effort to reduce maintained turf we have converted an area on the west side of the clubhouse to a landscape bed. The turf quality in this particular location was very poor due to shade and drainage. Our intent was to not only improve aesthetics, but to reduce mowing, irrigation and fertilizer use as well.
This week we are in the process of reshaping various tees, approaches and fairways. With time our mow lines tend to creep in and we lose the original shape of these areas. After the desired shape is painted out we begin to scalp the rough down to the correct turf height of each area. We will also overseed the scalped area with perennial ryegrass to increase turf density. The above photos of #17 ladies tee demonstrate this process.
For this time of year, I feel the golf course is in very good condition. We were fortunate to get through the cold weather in December without any damage to the greens. We are currently mowing greens four times per week and rolling once a week.
The course is continuing to firm up with the nice weather we've had recently. It's not too often that we are able to mow rough in February. This week we will have the entire golf course mowed and it should be playing very well.
I recently attended the Golf Industry Show in San Diego, CA. This conference is always a great venue to learn as well as network with industry peers.
Overall, there were about 16,000 people who attended the show. This number is down about 7% from 2009. The Trade Show itself had 100 fewer exhibitors than last year-down about 13% with 665 exhibitors in all.
The general feeling I received from everyone I spoke with regarding the golf industry was that the worst is behind us. Many courses and companies had a difficult 2008-2009. I don't think many expect 2010 to be much better than 2009, but feel the industry will begin to improve in 2011.
As we prepare for Spring, the maintenance staff continues to complete numerous projects during these last couple of winter months. We continue to install drainage where necessary. The photo above is the teeing area of hole #6. The most recent bunker to be renovated is the left, green side bunker on #3. It is a little difficult to see in this photo, but there is a dramatic difference in the quality and color of the new sand when compared to the old, contaminated bunker. Lastly, we are in the process of refurbishing all of the benches and ballwashers on the golf course. The photo above shows an old ballwasher on the left, with the finished "new" ballwasher on the right.
The weather is something that is always talked about when it comes to golf course maintenance. Weather is the one thing that can't be controlled, however dictates many of our maintenance practices as well as the number of golfers enjoying the course. Here is a look at what we encountered in January.
The maintenance staff is currently renovating a few bunkers that are unplayable during the winter months. Many bunkers have original sand that is now 15+ years old and has become contaminated. Our process includes; removing the contaminated sand, replacing drainage, and adding new sand. These photos are from the green side bunker on #6. The photo of the bunker after renovation was taken after 1" of rain.
This photo is of #6 green towards the end of the December cold spell we encountered in the Willamette Valley. Many golf courses were frozen for two weeks or more with lows in the teens. As temperatures warmed above freezing it began to rain. With the soil profile still frozen, this was the result for two days.
Luckily, we had very little turf damage. I believe this was due to healthy turf and not allowing play on the greens until the entire profile had thawed.