Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

As many of you know or guessed, during the holiday weeks we take some vacation and there is almost nothing going on in the shop. Except for snowplow duty we are not around during Christmas and New Year's.

So here is a MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR for everyone from us in the maintenance department. We hope your holidays are safe and bring you joy & happiness.

See you next year!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Nice to see snow...

We just finished up some tree trimming, holes #1,2,9,13,14,15,16, and 17. The guys are done until next season. And there is a nice layer of snow on the course with more on the way. As many of you know the course is going with a new electric golf cart fleet next year and we have been ironing out the details lately. Besides signing the dotted line and waiting until delivery next year, there is still a little electrical work to be done in the cart shed to accommodate the new fleet. The plan is for all the member carts to be on the driving range side of the shed and the club carts to be on the other. Our current numbers show a few extra member carts that do not fit on the member side but, with some on the exit list and a few considering removing their carts, there should not be any problems with the storage situation.

Dave, Brian, and myself are now working on equipment and supplies to get them ready for next season. We have a lot of stuff that needs minor repairing and touch-up. Also, as of last winter, we handle the snow removal for the club. The three of us are on call for rotating weeks that go from Monday to Sunday throughout the winter months. With working in the shop, snow removal, seminars, and a little vacation we stay busy during the winter months. Before you know it the snow is melting and the clubs are swinging...

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Little Summary Since Closing

Here's a little summary of what has been happening at IVGC since we closed the course a couple of weeks ago...
We have six greens covered with mats, #1, 7, 8, 15, 16, nursery green, and also #4 teebox. There has been some tree trimming going on, a little more leaf clean-up, and snow fence... We put up about 5,000 feet of snow fence this year to limit the snowmobile traffic onto the golf course. We have not had a serious problem in the last few years, although last year there was some minor damage to the ninth green. I felt though that 2 days of labor is worth it to prevent a potential nightmare in the spring. We continue to leave the driving range un-marked so snowmobilers can run around there as much as they want, just the teebox is fenced off. The steps on #16 tee have been completed, the work was done about the first week of November. We have had great comments on them from those who got to see them before the course closed. Natural stone steps with flagstone size pieces to fill in the open areas, they are definitely solid and will last over time... One last note, we also planted two new trees just a couple of days ago. There is a new oak tree where the two maples came out on the corner of #10 and there is a new honeylocust between #11 & #12 where we transplanted the evergreens from last fall.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


How did the aerifying go? What can we do about the worms? Were you happy with the conditions this year? What are you planning for next year? These are the typical things I am asked about this time of year, often the questions sound a little "loaded" to me but they are all legitimate none the less. And the cliche that there is no stupid question is very true, so ask away whenever there is something on your mind.

Worms are something we fight in the spring and fall, the fall always seems to be worse and the annoyance lasts much longer. Our fairways have a great black soil for growing grass on, which in turn is a great medium for worms. When we get these rains every few days and the soil surface stays moist the worms have no reason to move deeper and they stay around the surface. The black mud spots we have in the fairways is a result of their castings being flattened out by traffic. In the spring the soil dries out a little quicker leading into summer so the problem does not persist like it does now. Is there anything we can do? Yes there are a couple of things we can do...

One of the fungicides we currently use in the fairways for disease prevention also deters worm activity. We currently use the maximum amount (10.9 lbs./acre) per year we can according to the label to prevent Anthracnose, Dollar Spot, and Leaf Spot which can be a problem for us. So as a side effect we do get some deterrence of worms.

Sandy soils also deter worm activity. The main reason we do not have problems on our greens is because of the high sand content in the top 4-5 inches of the soil profile. We do not have that in the fairways, it is a nice loam with minimal sand content. We can topdress our fairways with sand, it is showing success at other courses that have chosen to do it. A couple of things to consider there however is building up layers in the soil profile and cost of application. Layers create water problems and root issues so it is a major issue to consider. Once on a sanding program it is very difficult to stop it, until a decent layer of sand is built up it could cause major problems in the future with turf health. And cost is another factor, while the sand is not so expensive the cost of delivery keeps rising. I am currently researching this option for IVGC and plan to present the green committee and BOD with what I find. It appears that it would work in taking care of much of our worm problem, now we just need to make sure it fits into our budget for the long term. It should be noted that turf quality will improve with incorporating sand into our soil profile, not only from less mud caused by worm castings but also with water movement and firmness. #3 & #14 approach would be the first to show some signs of improved quality since there is so much peat in those profiles...

Just something to chew on over the winter months and perhaps plan to start next year...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Colors Are A Changing

Fall colors have started to show up here and there, and if the vibrant colors a few trees on the golf course have shown is any indication of what to expect this fall it could be a terrific year for colors. I knew a little of why leaves change colors, and why certain years are better then others for brilliant hues, but I did not have all the details. I came across this description: and it does a good job of keeping the science in layman's terms for all of us to understand.

I am hoping this fall lasts for a while and gives us plenty of time to play golf and get some projects completed. If it is anything like this spring though it won't be around long and we will go straight into winter. Yikes, let's hope not.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It has been over a month since the last post! Well the golf course is still here and doing well. Club championship weekend was wonderful, good times had by all I think. We had some "creative" pin locations which has given us some food for thought for future locations. Unfortunately we just had too many hard locations and not enough easier ones. And on top of that there were a couple that were just plain dumb.

Aerifying is almost complete. We have two fairways left on the front nine and then it will be done. So this week we will start up again on the smaller projects of tidying things up. Pretty soon it will be nothing but leaf control and getting things ready for winter. But enough of that, there is still plenty of great fall golf ahead.

For those that do not know, my wife Maia and I, along with Lucas of course, bought a house in Waconia recently. It took us 2 1/2 years to sell our home in Fairmont, that happened in early July. We closed here in Waconia at the end of August, and are looking forward to settling down and opening some boxes which have been closed for over 3 years.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Odds 'n Ends

Well the bunker work is finished and we are on to other projects around the course. I am sure some of you have noticed we are working on the cart path ends that are usually mud and dirt. We have mulched some areas and sodded others. The mulch is an interim to curbing and regrading the area, number 11 tee comes to mind for that. Some others are being sodded and we will strive to keep them grassed and not revert back to mud.

The out of bounds along 14 has caused a little confusion this year, so we have decided on this remedy (check the picture). We have removed all the little white stakes and painted an out-of-bounds line along the large steel posts the run the length of the hole. It is not the straightest line, nor is it right up against the field, but it is much clearer as to what line to follow and whether you are in or out. We will also let the grass just outside the line to the field grow long (no mow) to define the area better and also help with erosion coming off the field and on to the golf course. The buffer zone should prevent a lot of the soil from making into the rough and perhaps help with the big washes that move all kinds of debris across 14 and into the pond.

The steps on 16 and 9 are also on the docket for this fall. I am currently working with a couple of bids and deciding on materials to be used. It will end up being a nice rock/paver path from the cart path to the upper tee on 16, and a nice keystone step attached to the planter on number 9. I am looking forward to, as are many others, to retiring the green stairway on number 16.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Renovations Complete

Well, I would love to show you a picture of the completed work but I am having trouble with getting the pictures into the blog. Hopefully I will have it figured out by next time...

Anyway, the work is complete on #8 and #10. There are a few loose ends we need to tie up on our side of things but that should all be wrapped up this week. We have received nothing but great comments on the work that was done. #10 should be playable by the end of next week and #8 will probably be brought into play the Tuesday before the club championship. It usually takes a good two weeks to get the sod rooted down enough for traffic and no slipping on the bunker slopes. All the sand will be raked up to the edges before we bring them into play.

This years project consisted of #6, 8, & 10. Providing the funds are there to continue next year, we would be moving on to #7 (which would finish the front 9), 12, 13, and 18. That would about equal the amount spent on this years renovations. That would only leave #14, 15,16, & 17 left to finish off the bunker renovations. The one hole which really needs a close look is #14. The pond needs to be rebuilt, the fairway from 100 yds and in needs some serious work, and there is potential there to scrape down the fairway out as far as 250 yds so it is possible to see your second shot and what lies ahead.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bunker Project Update

Well, with the rain coming down right now it looks as though the finishing sod will go down on Monday of next week. Number 10 was finished yesterday, and some of number 8 was finished up. The only thing remaining is a little drainage in one bunker and sand, then it's irrigation and sod. Hopefully this heavy rain does not ruin things too much so the cleanup/repairing is nothing major...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sodding #10

After 1+" of rain on Friday morning, which put a standstill on the project, the weekend was nice for drying things out. While there was a lot of prep work to do because of the rain we received, the sod arrived and most of the work on #10 has been covered in green. The mounding on the left, and the new fairway bunker are finished off. There has also been quite a bit covered up by the green side bunker and cut-back slope. Work will continue on #8 for the next couple of days, the sodding on both holes will hopefully be complete by the end of the day on Thursday. All in all, we should be playing on the new features in 2-3 weeks...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 3 On Hole Number 10

The new cross bunker on the right side of the fairway has shaped up nicely. It is very nearly ready for sand and sod, the drainage is the only major thing that needs to be done. The left side is also coming around, the renovated green side bunker is a big change from the old one and the widening of the approach will make the whole hole much more playable.

To carry the new cross bunker here are the estimated yardages from each tee: Blue = 260-265, White = 250-255, Red = 233-238. Now obviously it is a downhill shot from the tee, so it should be a little easier then that ;)

Renovation Continues

Hole number 8 is changing... Two bunkers have been filled in, both on the left side, and the other three are starting to take shape. The new left fairway bunker has been painted out and work should start on that tomorrow. It is amazing how fast the crew can change the face of the course. Hartman's staff has been great to work with and there is plenty of manpower to get the job done quickly. I know temporary pins are not very popular with any golfer, but by keeping play away from the crews they can work so much faster and efficient. And obviously the safety factor is the major point with keeping play out of their construction areas. I hope everyone understands and thanks for being patient...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Renovation Begins!

On Monday the renovations began on holes #10 and #8. Here is a little two day snapshot of the work taking place on #10. The left fairway bunker has been filled in and there is a new cross bunker being placed on the ride side of the fairway about 100-120 yards out from the green. The left side of the approach from about 100 yards in is being cut back and widened, along with a dramatic re-build of the green side bunker. On #8 there are a couple bunkers all ready filled in and Wednesday the work will really get underway on the renovations of the remaining bunkers. I will keep you posted...

On another note, regarding the disease and poor turf on the putting green... I have stopped using plant growth regulator on the putting green in hopes to really encourage some growth out of the healthy bentgrass. We will continue to work seed in to the thinner areas and strive to encourage a fill-in of bentgrass over the poa annua. As a result of not using PGR on the putting green it will get a little more "grassy" then the rest of the greens and may roll a bit slower. We also continue to work seed into the thinner areas throughout the golf course...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Disease On The Putting Green

About two weeks ago we had disease break out on the putting green, and we quickly sprayed it with fungicide. We have kept an eye on it since and it appears be under control and nothing is active, but it did pop up on #1 green in a small spot so we sprayed again last Friday morning. We will continue to monitor the turf and make sure we keep it under control. If there are any playability issues we will address them immediately.

So what is it? Anthracnose is the common name for the disease, Colletotrichum graminicola is the scientific name for it. Most commonly, the fungus develops during the heat and humidity of the summer months. It is possible to be active in the spring and fall also, though less common around our area. Turf under stress and in a weak condition is likely to be effected if the disease is present, this is the case for most diseases. The two infection sites are the crown of the plant (basal crown rot) and the leaf tissue (foliar). The basal crown rot is the most severe and kills the plants outright, the foliar form can be less damaging and easier to control.

The one thing with most turf diseases is that they are always there once you have them. They have overwintering forms and will become active once the right conditions come about. Fungicides allow us to prevent the infection of the plant, they do not actually kill the diseases. Anthracnose is one of many diseases that reside in our soil/thatch layer at IVGC. As we go forward from here we will make sure our chemical program for greens covers a wider range of diseases during the summer months. There are a few spring applications we can make to also set ourselves up for better control during the summer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The storm split the large Butternut tree on the left side of #11 fairway and created a hazardous situation. Today we took it down and realized it was a very good thing we did. The picture shows what the inside of the tree looked like about 2 feet off the ground. There is about 4" of actual wood with a completely hollowed out center. It is amazing how strong that little bit was to keep the tree standing as long as it did.

We also took down the large tree about half way down the left side of #12 fairway. This tree was very similar in condition to the one on #11. There is also one near the bathroom on #12 that will be coming down sometime in the future, you can see the hollow center. While it appears really drastic the tree is still strong and standing, but it is only a matter of time before it has to come down. All this has really caused us to evaluate the rest of the older trees on the golf course. I plan to set up a meeting with Dennis Landberg of Landberg's Tree Service (who has done the tree work for us over the past 2 years) and tour the course to take a critical look at all the questionable trees. This hollowing out is very common in the older trees such as maple, butternut, and even oak. I would say most of our mature trees are ok, but there are a few that show signs of serious decay and should probably be taken down. The one thing about serious storms, they tend to take care of those trees for us.

Friday, July 11, 2008

70+ mph Winds!!!

For those of you who were not at the club on Thursday afternoon, wow did you miss a spectacle. The storm rolled in very fast and was gone just as quickly. What was left was a complete mess! We lost a couple of trees on the course, #10, 11, and 16 took it the worst for that. I am sure you can see all the debris in the picture above from the tenth fairway, this is what the entire course looked like after the storm. So today, Friday, we are not mowing anything and just concentrating on clean-up. The mowing will take place on Saturday so we do not get behind.

We are concentrating on tees, greens, and fairways and should have them in great shape by the end of the day. There are a couple of guys with chainsaws cutting up the trees and hauling the wood down to the burn pile, but that work will take a few days to get complete. For the most part it is all out of the way areas except for the tree down on #10 and the one on #16. Please bare with us while we get the place back in shape.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

5am Sunrises

At 5:00am there are some real neat scenes as the sun rises. The colors and light are spectacular playing off of clouds and the golf course. If I were a better photographer then perhaps I could capture what we really see at times like these but hopefully the picture here shows some of that. While we normally start our day at 6:00am and the sun is usually past those times when it creates some beautiful colors we do on occasion start earlier. Today, Ladies Guest Day, is one of those times when the 4:15am alarm comes awful early and the mowers are on the course at 5:00am so we can get done ahead of the morning shotgun. And while we might grumble a little bit 'bout the early start, there are some truly neat things to see out on the course at that time. It also means that at 1:30 in the afternoon we have had a full 8 hour day and then the staff can get home and play...

Algae Control

I can't believe it has been a few weeks since I last posted! Things get busy, days seem too short, and then the holiday rolls in and staff is minimal...

I enlisted the professionals this year to manage the pond on #6. Midwest Aqua Care out of Chaska will be taking care of the pond and keeping it clear of algae and weeds. With the low pond level due to construction allowing the water to get very warm quickly and getting behind on copper sulfate treatments, the pond algae really took hold following the major rain event we had a couple of weeks ago. It will take about a week before we should see some results, browning of the algae and a reduction in mass. The weeds will also start to die and decay during that time. I will tell everyone now that there might be a little fish kill. When a large amount of algae and/or weeds are killed off there can be a severe depletion of oxygen in the water which in turn can harm fish populations. There is enough water entering the pond though that I am hoping this will not be a problem.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And Then There Was Sod, Again

The forward tee on #2 has been completed. The teeing surface was sodded on Monday while the rest of the sodding was finished up today. Thankfully the rain held off enough for us to get all the surrounds covered and finished off. Since this project had been delayed to this extent we cut the fairway sod for the surface a lot thicker then we normally would. This creates some challenges for sodding, smoothing, etc. but it allows us to hopefully be using it by next Wednesday, maybe even Tuesday. While we were cutting sod for #2 we removed the worst half of #17 and re-sodded that also. The right half of the tee is in ok shape, though not great it is usable and we will keep the tee markers on that side until next week some time. We may re-sod the right side but it appears to be coming in more and more, and we are planning some aggressive seed/soil work to hopefully really get it to come back without having to sod it. All this tee surface work has created a open spot in the beginning of #3 fairway, that will be sodded as soon as sod is available again. With the rains and spring the local sod producer has been playing catch-up, and even this project was stretched over 2 days because we could not get all the sod the same day.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

And Then There Was Sod

The final grading, Muskrat control, and bunker, and sod were finished on #6 today! We will be bringing the water level up to about half normal so we can leave all the sod exposed and allow it to root in through the netting. I am hoping the higher level will allow us to get the fountain installed and running but I won't know until we get the water up.

Since Don Wagner and his crew installed the sod I had time to start the finish grade on the forward tee on #2... It is just about ready for sod and we are hoping to get it down before the bad weather that is predicted Thursday afternoon. I apologize to the ladies for the delay in finishing the tee up, when the weather has been good we have been working hard to get all the spring jobs done. I am usually the one that works projects like the tee renovations and because of all the stuff going on in the spring it means projects get delayed. The same thing happened with the tee complex on #3 last spring, that sod did not go down until the last week of May - first week of June. The work on #6 took a little more priority because of the scale and working with contractors, so the tee box got pushed back. But no longer, it is nearly complete and am hoping to have it done by the end of the week, early next week at the latest.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Work continues, the final slope to the water is really starting to take shape. Below the shovel of the back-hoe is about where the new bunker will be located. This will really anchor the left side of the green complex and contrast with the grassed slopes and mounds.

Closing of the Clowns Mouth

On Tuesday work continued on number 6. The culvert has been extended down below the water level so when the we can bring the water line back to normal you won't see any evidence of it. Some minor grading also took place, so things are starting to shape up.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hole #6 Update

Just a quick update on the current project on #6... Hartman plans to be here on Tuesday the 27th to continue work. I am hopeful the weather will hold out and the work can be completed by the end of the week. There will most likely be a small pot bunker placed in the front of the green on the bank to the water, however that would not be put in until July when they are here working on #8 & #10.

A quick update on those plans also: The right fairway bunkers on 8 will be renovated and slightly shift into the fairway, more so for the second fairway bunker then the first. The left fairway bunker will be removed and a new bunker built to the right of the ash tree that is along the fairway behind the existing bunker. This creates a larger landing area to the left of the existing right fairway bunker and also makes a landing area to the right of the new bunker for the longer hitters. The first greenside bunker will be removed and the second, or actual greenside bunker, will be renovated and wrapped around more of the front left corner of the green. On #10 the plan is to remove the left fairway bunker and replace it with some mounding, which would have a fairway cut extended partially up the sides. A new bunker will be placed on the right side of the fairway about 110-120 yards out, creating a carry of 245 yards from the white tees and 265 yards from the blues. Due to the new bunker the ash tree next to the 100 yard stake would be removed to open up shots to the green. The rough area to the left of the approach from about 100 yards in will be graded down to a more subtle slope and open up views to the green and greenside bunker. That bunker will be renovated in its existing spot and some of the dirt from grading the rough will be used to build up the backside of it. The rest of the dirt will be used on the new fairway bunker and also a new championship tee for #11. All this work will be taking place in July, the same time frame as the work done last year.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


The bentgrass seed is coming up in the aerifier holes very nicely, however it is not showing up throughout the dead areas like I was hoping. For some of the major areas I think we will be cutting sod from the gold tee on #6 since that is nearly 100% bentgrass and replacing the collar. The smaller areas where the seed has been growing we will let it take hold and fill in, between that and the inevitable poa annua seed germination they should fill in fairly quick.

Unfortunately I do not have an update on #6, but with the stretch of nice weather we have been having I would expect to see Hartman working on by the end of the week or early next week. Once they start I am hoping there is only a few days of work and it will be complete.

The range has been looking a little dry, especially around the target greens, and we have finally gotten all the wiring and pipe work done so the range irrigation is up to 100%. We will be aggressively seeding and working the target greens to create a nice stand of grass we can mow at a shorter height then the rough so they should stand out more. The challenge we have with the target green areas is we are trying to grow grass with about an inch or two of topsoil over solid clay. If we can not get something established I think in the future we will have to consider a more major renovation so we can have nice target areas to shoot at.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Uh oh!

I am sure many of you have seen this already. On the thirteenth green we had a hydraulic leak on the greensmower. It was not so much a leak but a lift cylinder actually failed and the end of it blew out, hence the large amount of fluid on the green. For the most part all the turf that was drenched in hydraulic fluid will die shortly and we will have to strip the damaged turf out and replace it. This is a perfect example of why we have grown the bentgrass nursery down near fourteen green. Unfortunately the nursery green is not ready to be cut for sod, I am hoping by the end of the summer we can start using that for repairs. In the mean time we will continue to use grass from the chipping green/collar, this should be the last year of doing that. We will be aggressive with renovating the cut-out areas on the chipping green so you may see some ropes up and the grass may not be cut on a regular basis so we can get it smoothed out and seed to fill in. I will have an update on the dead collar areas tomorrow with a picture of the new bentgrass seedlings that are starting to emerge.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Spring is here, and with it...

On Monday we aerified all the greens with knife style tines. The tines are about 3/4" wide and a good 1/4" thick, they go about 3-4" deep. This has been the normal practice for the last couple of years in the spring. It is a low impact type of aerifying and just creates air chambers without pulling out the soil/organic matter. Our greens have a pretty good rootzone mix of sand/soil from years of topdressing, and the organic matter is not too built up. This allows us to not take cores twice a year, but rather use something that is less obstructive to the playing surface. However, if I thought coring was waranted for the spring aerifying I would not hesitate to do it.

On the same note, we did core aerify the collars of all 18 greens on Tuesday. The timing could not have been better with the 1/2" of rain we received almost immediately after finishing the last green. We aerified, picked up the cores, topdressed with a sand/soil/peat mix, seeded with bentgrass, and dragged it all in. The rain was perfect for soaking the seed and "melting" the topdressing into the turf. We may also do this routine on some of the worst areas in the rough that just don't seem to want to fill in. For the few burned out fairway spots (#10 comes to mind) we will be slit seeding and topdressing those sometime this week.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Few Nice Days, But More Snow?

This Great Egret is one of a few that has been wandering around #6 pond in the morning. We also have a Great Blue Heron looking for food on occasion though I have not been able to get a picture of it yet. They don't tend to sit still when you come tooling along on your golf cart. You will also notice in the picture the normal level of the pond, the top of the grayish rock. Once the work is complete on the green complex we will be bringing it back up to normal level. Because of the low water we can not put the fountain/aerator back in until it is brought up. The water is less then 3 feet deep where we put the fountain and it needs at least 4 or 5 to operate. Let's hope the next few days are the last stretch of rain(snow?) for a while so we can finish up the dirt work quickly and really get some good turf growth in the weak areas.

We are taking advantage of the decent days and getting the course cleaned up and mowing everything to an even height. The areas that suffered over the winter are the only few spots that have yet to green up and get growing. Most of them have some new tissue under all the bleached/dead turf but the weather has not allowed them to really get going yet. Next Monday we will be aerifying greens with a low impact "knife" tine like we have done the past couple of years and the following week we will be aerifying the tees & collars a little more aggressively. We have not normally done a spring aerifying on tee surfaces but with the poor condition of some of them coming out of winter we have decided to be aggressive with some cultural practices to give them a good kick-start to recovery.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Snow Mold

In late fall we cover the fine turf areas (tees, greens, & fairways) with chemicals to protect them from snow mold (Pink and Gray). This past winter was a great year for snow mold, I am sure many of you have seen signs of it in your yards at home; Areas that appear a little grayish in color and are all matted down with a wet appearance, or pink in color and probably dead. If it is active you can see signs of a cottony material called mycelium, for Gray snow mold it is gray and Pink it is pinkish. Gray snow mold rarely does enough damage to cause the death of the turf plants, however those spots will take longer to recover during spring. The best thing to do is get a rake and give those spots a good workout, busting up the matted turf and getting the dessicated plant material out of there. Pink snow mold is a disease that often kills the plant and results in areas that need to be cleaned up and seeded, it is more common to closely mowed turf areas such as tees, greens, and fairways.
When out playing you will notice the results of not protecting our fine turf on #16. I used the approach/fairway as a check plot and did not cover it last fall with any fungicide. What you see are the results of Gray and some Pink snow mold infestations. We use check plots on the course to make sure our chemical applications are sound. And while #16 approach will take a little extra TLC this spring to get it back quickly, it has showed us that spending the money on fall turf protection is money well spent. It would be pretty ugly if we had conditions like that all over the course come opener...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


This would be a pretty good synopsis of what the course looks like right now, and yes it is open for the season...

Overall the turf looks great and things came through the winter very good. We do have some minor snow mold damage in rough areas that do not get protected in the fall before the winter. We also have a handful of areas that the voles were active in over the winter. They chew on the grass plants at ground level and leave the blades behind. So when a rake gets pulled over it to clean it up you end with dirt. It will take a little time but the areas will fill back in and be fine.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Come On All Ready :)

I would like to say we have been really busy in the last couple of weeks and it has caused me to lapse a little on my blog, not the case. We have been pretty relaxed just waiting to get outside. I was hoping the end of March would bring pictures of green grass and signs of spring, well here is the end of March... It sounds like 3"+ of slushy, wet, and heavy snow, I think the paper referred to it as "heartattack snow" which I am sure alludes to trying to shovel the stuff.

Well before the current storm hit the turf we could see (which was most of it this morning) looked good and ready for spring. I am sure it will be only a couple of days before we get another look. Hopefully by early next week we are running around outside getting things cleaned up for the opener. I feel pretty certain it is gonna be a good couple of weeks before we can start filling out scorecards, but only time will tell. Once this snow is gone we are going to need some solid sun and warm nights to move the frost out of the ground. I have heard estimates that it reached a good 5' deep this winter, which would not surprise me. Once it starts to thaw out though it usually goes fairly quick. Hopefully later this week I have a much more anticipated photo to share instead of the snowy white blanket we see now.

Friday, March 14, 2008

One of the things I love to do while driving around the course in the morning is taking pictures. While on my travels to check out the course for things good and bad I come across a lot of neat things. When my camera is in the cart, which it usually is, I try and capture these things and share them with the crew and anyone else I think might enjoy them. Now with this blog I plan to share some of these things with you as well. This picture of a dragon fly I came across one morning is the first. It was just waking up and waiting for the dew to burn off its wings so it could start the day. Nature is such a cool thing.

As for the course and the weather and when we open, I know that's why your really here checking up on things... So far so good. If things follow typical patterns, we should be teeing it up early April. So far the weather has been great, and the snow cover since December 1st has been a very good thing. Now, however, we are entering that period when things will be thawing and freezing. This is when the grass can take in water but then have serious injury if it freezes up at night. A couple of things we can do to help things is make sure the greens are free of ice. When things start to thaw out and the water is flowing we will be out making sure it is not pooling on greens. By moving ice and snow obstacles we can keep the water from pooling and possibly freezing when things get cold again. As usual we will be doing everything we can to get the place in shape and ready for action as soon as possible. It's right around the corner.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Greens Committee Notes

It has been a quiet week at the shop, not a whole lot other then equipment work and the beginning to a couple weeks of painting. On Monday night the Green Committee held its first meeting of the year and got the ball rolling for 2008. Brad Solheim was elected Chairperson for the 2008 season and the committee decided on a member to present to the board for approval onto the committee. The board will decide on that at the next meeting and I will keep you all posted on that outcome. As for the rest of the meeting, bunkers, bunkers, bunkers.

It was brought up that playing a golf course that is under a long term renovation can be a bit disconcerting when during that round of golf you go from finished holes to unfinished holes and back to finished holes. It was that idea that brought about a unanimous consent to finish the front nine and continue on to the back nine. So for the 2008 season the plan is to complete #6, #7, #8, & #10. We are considering the front nine completed at that point since #2 & #5 are the most recent bunker renovations completed before this course wide plan started in 2007. We have $80,000 to work with and the estimates for this work from a 2007 analysis was just a bit above that. With the help of my staff and a few alterations to the plans we should be able to bring the 2008 phase in on budget. I will follow up in the next couple of days with a description of the work planned on these holes and what the thoughts are behind them. The one thing to keep in mind is that the basic plans and ideas are in place for each bunker/hole and then once the dirt is being shoveled the final decisions are made on-site.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bunkers 2008

I thought I would remind everyone what to look forward to in '08. The picture is a merged set of photos from #1 during the beginning of the bunker project we started in '07. Bunker renovation was the number one topic among the membership when I arrived 2 years ago, besides some of the turf issues. It is great to see this issue being addressed and the results have been super so far. It has been and will continue to be a great improvement in the make up of Island View GC. To continue this endeavor we will be moving on to the back nine this season. At this moment we plan for the work to be around the same time as last year, sometime in early July. The green committee has gone with the idea that we complete an entire hole before moving on to the next bunkers so the process is not "piece-meal", Monday night (Feb. 25th) we will hold our first greens comm. meeting of the season where the main topic is the bunker project. If things continue on the same track I predict we should be able to complete #6 and 3-4 holes on the back nine. Obviously it all comes down to money and the hardest part of the decision comes down to making the most of it so we can complete as much as possible. Initially we looked at this being a three year plan to complete the entire course, I think a more realistic timeline is 4 years. To give you an idea of the costs, the 2007 estimate for the entire golf course was just over $300,000, and if we keep spending $80,000-$90,000 a year we end up on a 4 year track.

Make sure you pass on any thoughts to the greens committee or myself so they can get addressed at our meetings. Or if you have any questions email me and I can answer them straight away, or pass them on to those who have the answers for you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In The Shop

With the temps hovering around 1 degree we are busy inside taking care of things. Most of the course supplies: ballwashers, tee markers, stands, cups, and clubwashers have been sanded and prepped for painting. In the next couple of weeks we will have the paint booth up and begin putting new coats of paint on all of it. This keeps things looking new year after year. Eventually, however, the paint layers get so thick that items start to look a bit shoddy. When that happens we choose what's best for the club, either purchasing new or having the items professionally stripped and powder coated. Often times the stripping/re-coating is the way to go since course supplies are so expensive. To give you an idea of some of the costs we face with outfitting the course here are some examples...

Tee markers = $17/ea. (approx. $2,500)
Ballwashers = $180 (approx. $4,500)
Ballwasher Stands = $85 (approx. $2,000)
Metal Garbage Cans = $50 (approx. $1,500)

Those are just a few examples of what we have out on the course, and if we were to purchase new tee signs or benches they would be in the $300-$400/ea. range. Needless to say we try and refurbish everything we can and for as long as we can to save money. However, we will always have high standards for the condition of our golf course supplies no matter what the cost.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Air Exchange Unit

The weather might not have been the nicest today, single digit temps with minus double digit wind chills, but the guys from Statewide installed the new air exchange unit on the clubhouse.

Over the last five years one of the two motors had gone out a couple of times and at the end of last season there were some major problems with the motor units. It was determined at that time that replacing the whole unit was the best option for the club. The installers were able to reach the unit with a crane from the front entry drive and it didn't take them long to get the old one unhooked and off the roof. Shortly thereafter the new one was put in place and wired up.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The work on #6 began back in December on the 11th & 12th. With a hoe and dozer Nyen Construction completed the rough work by removing the bunkers and bringing the pond edge closer to the green complex. All of the excavated soil was incorporated into mounding on the left and back left corner of the green complex. The excess was graded out into the no-mow area behind the pond. In the spring Hartman Golf will be back out and finish up the final grading and sod install. Just so everyone is aware, the pond level will be kept at minimum until the project is completed. Because of that, the aerator/fountain will not be put in until the water level is brought back to normal. The pond project on #6 is only one project that needs to be completed this coming spring. Those of you who have visited the club this winter have seen the addition of evergreen trees along the County Road 30 side of the driving range tee. All the trees were transplanted from the golf course so there are 20+ tree spade plugs that need to be leveled and sodded. The forward tee on #2 is also still under construction and will be finished as soon as the soil can be worked. As with other the other tee projects, that one will be sodded and should be ready for play very quick. There will be plenty to keep us busy along with getting the course ready to open.

For a current update on the golf course: The snow cover has been good all winter and that is a good thing with the very cold temps & wind we have had on occasion. And now there is a chance for a few more inches which would nicely cover the exposed mounds and turf areas we do have.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Staying Busy

As I go forward with this journal I hope to keep the membership and public informed of what is going on around the golf course on a regular basis. I won't promise daily updates but a few each week should be enough, especially during the golfing season. There will be pictures, explanations of various maintenance practices, project updates, and anything else relevant to the golf course.

So what keeps us busy during the winter months? I am glad you asked. There are a lot of things to keep us busy during the few months that the course is closed. Just to list a few... All the course supplies, such as tee markers, garbage cans, flag sticks, cups, etc... are sanded and painted. Every piece of equipment is cleaned and serviced. Mowing units are sharpened. Plans are laid for the upcoming season after we review the previous season and determine what needs improvement and adjustment. But, I will be the first to say things are much more relaxed and save the occasional impact wrench or reel sharpening, there is a nice quiet that lingers around the shop. And so we prep for the coming season...

Here's to making 2008 another great golf season at IVGC.