Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Regular Sand Topdressing Comes To Stillmeadow

I would say it is long overdue for us to get on the program of light and frequent topdressing.  There are too many benifits to list but the one that everyone can enjoy is the true ball roll that is to come.  We plan to hit all of the greens with a light application every week.

Picture of the sand being applied with a Dakota topdresser that is being pulled by a Cushman utility truck.

The sand being broomed into the turf canopy after it has been applied.

Spring Bunker Maintenance and Edging

Step 1:  Remove any areas of silt deposits, leaves, sticks, weeds and any other debris that may be inside of the bunkers.
Step 2:  Edge the lip of the bunkers with a flat shovel, sod knife or in some cases a string trimmer
Step 3: Redistribute sand.....the goal is to have around 4-6 inches of sand across the entire bunker with the exception of the high flashings where 2-4 inches is sufficient.
Step 4: Rake the entire bunker with a combination of hand rakes or the Toro sand pro seen below.

Seems easy enough, but this is a very time consuming process.  We will move through them as quickly as possible and will begin maintaining them regularly from this point forward.  The following pictures are a few of our finished products.

Jose Ventura is one of the new employees that we started this week.  Jose has over 10 years of golf course experience at Elks Run Golf Club and is a welcome addition to the team.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cleanup Continues

Several of the members that we have talked to so far have mentioned the numerous dead trees that are still standing on the course.  In response to this we would like everyone to know that there is a plan in place.  The plan that has been established is to finish cleaning all of the trees, limbs and piles that are already down and laying on the course.  Once this work has been completed we plan to start working on the dead trees that are still standing.  There are a large number of dead trees out there but we will continue to work towards having all the tree work to a manageable state.

The native area just past 15 tee and on the left.




Friday, February 24, 2012

Another Step Forward

The following pictures are of our ballwashers.  All of the ballwashers, ballwasher stands and waste receptacle holders have been professionally cleaned, stripped and a powder coating process has been applied.  The work was done by Tri-State Fabricators and they did a great job.  They look like new!  We hope to have all of our ballwashers and other golf course accessories in place by the first week in April.  However, you may notice some items filtered into place earlier.

Monday, February 20, 2012

 I would like to introduce everyone to our newest maintenance employee.  His name is Keith Simpson.  Keith will be a vital part of our team.  Keith's previous golf experience includes time at Lindale, six years at Elks Run from 1997 to 2002 and has spent the last six years with me at Pebble Creek.  Keith is one of the hardest workers I have ever worked with and we are happy to have him.  Today Keith spent a portion of the day mowing greens......

Randy spent the day applying our second application of winter fertilizer to greens.  Our goal is to have nutrients available to the plants for utilization currently.  However, this is largely dependent on soil temperatures.  The bottom line is that we will have available nutrients in the soil the minute they can be used.  We believe our pro-active plan will pay off.

We do not feel that there is a need to apply anymore sand to our troubled areas on greens at this point.  These areas are currently full of sand and we will continue to wait for the sand to work further into the grass canopy before applying more.  As seen in the picture below, we have noticed some greening at all the areas where sand was applied.  This is encouraging because we believe that positive things are happening in the soil as mentioned in earlier post.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Fountain Has Arrived

With a high temperature in the 50's and no real threat of any serious winter weather arriving anytime soon, we thought we had an opportunity to plug the fountain into position a little earlier this year than will probably be the normal.  This gives us the chance to make sure it is operational and to hopefully discover any future issues we may have.  We will continue to push up the timeline on any projects that we are able, in order to lighten the load during the normal spring rush.  With spring aerification coming up (announcement of dates will be made soon), pre-emergent and fertilizer applications and the start of new maintenance crew members we are thrilled about having the ability to start our course work early.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Not the most flattering look for sure but this is the result of a heavy sand topdressing with seed and fertilizer on the previously mentioned troubled areas on greens.  Sand topdressing is important in these areas for a variety of reasons.  To mention a few would be:
-Protection of the existing plants.  With no other plants around a grass plant it becomes more susceptible to outside stresses (mower damage, wind damage, traffic, etc.).  It is important to protect the crown of the plant where the plant meets the soil.
-Encouraged lateral growth.  Bentgrass moves through underground lateral stems called rhizomes.  The topdressing gives them a better soil medium to move in.
-Decomposition of the algea (black mat) covering these areas.  The less algae the quicker desired plants can move.

This will be a regular occurrence every couple weeks until we are able to get these areas healed.  Putting conditions shouldn't be too much of a concern.  Putts should roll through these areas somewhat smoother than the clumpy patches that inhabited these areas before.

Priority Number One

While most people may think that it is odd that we need to discuss that the course greens are always the number one priority as it affects course conditions, I feel that it should be communicated.  As you will soon see from the pictures below, there are many areas on the greens we inherited that are unsatisfactory.  The thing that Randy and I have found the most peculiar is when addressing course concerns with many of the members so far, the condition of the greens has hardly been mentioned.  I believe that this is because greens are easy to take for granted.  Golfers expect nice, firm and true greens and rightfully so.  However, as we are the people responsible for delivering those greens conditions that are expected, we do not have the ability to overlook them.  That being said, the thing that I would like to ask everyone is patience.  After careful consideration we have decided that the best plan of action for many of the thin areas on greens is to allow them time to heal.  This combined with a boosted fertilizer program, regular sand and seed topdressings and a solid chemical program to avoid turf disease that could potentially make matters worse.  Here are some of these areas.....

There are a few areas on the greens where we feel that sod is warranted.  These areas are ones that are typically in the clean-up passes (the outer 4-6 ft all the way around the green) and are areas where the mower continues to tear the turf back out as fast as it grows in.  This is usually due to turf death and/or quick changes in grade that cause the mower to "dig in" for a split second before it can level back out.  The plan for these areas is remove sod from a small section of the practice green that will then be reseeded.  Here is one of these types of areas...

Part of this plan was put into action as of yesterday February 1 when we made a light, granular fertilizer application to all the greens.  While most of the nutrients will most likely be lost due to leaching or volitization this time of year, we feel that the positive effects to soil fertility and any nutrients that the plants may take up can do nothing but help.

In time we will see the greens in a condition that is satisfactory to everyone.
Thank you for your patience,
Klint Ladd
Golf Course Superintendent