Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Establishment Of Uniform Collars

Beginning in the fall of 2013 the Stillmeadow Turf and Maintenance crew has been working on the establishment of uniform greens collars throughout the golf course.  In all actuality, this project started long before that but on a smaller scale.  Even since the day we walked through the door over two years ago we noticed that there was no real reasoning behind the width of the collars.  Some were 68'' wide, some were 32'' wide, some were somewhere in between and most of the time you would see a variety of different widths all on the same green.  This is not the look we wanted, as we desired a uniform and predictable width throughout the golf course.  

The first season we decided to maintain the collars at whatever width they were already at.  We won't get into the minor details but the point is that the non-uniform collars created a lot of maintenance issues for us.  At the beginning of last season we decided to dedicated ourselves to growing the collars to a uniform width of 60''.  This required some areas to be cut back, while others needed to grow out into the green.  This technique was never our first option but we felt it was the only viable one given all the variables last season.  Upon completion of this goal we still were not happy due to the visual concerns of these wide collars on some of our smaller greens.  The collars just looked too big and we felt as though we were missing the boat on delivering an added level of maintenance.

So last fall we decided to tackle the real problem that probably has been the biggest cause of the non-uniformity all along.  The irrigation sprinkler heads.  There were around 15 heads that needed to be dug up, sometimes repaired and moved to be able to have the collars at a uniform width that was anywhere under 60''.  It took a little time but we moved them all.  Now with all the problem sprinklers out of our way, we are currently in the process of cutting back the width of the collars.  Currently, we have completed the front 9 along with the practice green.  We are very excited about the new look!  It will take some time to completely return some of the collar height turf to greens height.  However, when we get through these minor growing pains we believe that we all will be much happier with the overall look, playability and uniformity of our greens and collars.

Here are some photos of the mowing process:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Course Update

While I realize that with the recent warmer weather conditions there are probably many people who have the itch to get out and play golf.  However, the Stillmeadow Turf and Maintenance Staff has to consider all variables before allowing play to return the golf course.  The following are just a few of those variables:

  • Excess water from snow melt and predicted rain in the forecast
  • Player safety
  • Below freezing overnight conditions causing slick, iced cart paths
  • Frozen ground conditions causing a lack of subsurface drainage everywhere
  • Frozen ground conditions plus surface water causing sloppy conditions everywhere including greens
  • Frozen ground conditions causing sheared turf roots with the combination of minor thaw, water and any kind of traffic
  • Cups (what condition are they in??? Will they have to be changed??? Haven't been able to see them in over a month...Can't change them with frozen ground conditions.)
  • Freshly seeded areas in the fall (We definitely don't want traffic on these areas along with sloppy conditions)
Now as you can see this is just a small amount of what we have to judge when making the decision on rather to allow play on the course on any given day during the winter months.  That being said, here is a photo of the course that was taken on Wednesday morning.
I realize that with warm rain on the way, much if not all of this snow could dissipate.  However, then we are left with swampy, muddy and dangerous conditions.

It is for all of the previously mentioned reasons that we plan to remain closed for the rest of this week but will continue to monitor the course on a daily basis.  Please check back on this blog for updates or changes.  If we can get you out to play, we will.

Thanks for your patience,
Klint Ladd
Golf Course Superintendent