Monday, December 7, 2009

Tree Trimming

Well things have opened up a little on #15, I am sure this bit of tree trimming will please many of you. The staff has been doing a lot of trimming over the last couple of weeks and capping it all off for the season is the work that was done on #15 today. We had Landberg's Tree Service trim up a few of the oak trees along the right side of the fairway, including removing the major branch that hung low over the approach area. They also cleaned up some of the oaks next to #6 tee and a couple of ash trees to the right of #5 approach. All in all a good days work for the guys.

With the approaching winter weather it looks as though we are about done with all the course work and will concentrate on equipment and other shop duties for the remainder of the snowy months. We again surrounded the course with snow fence to help deter any wayword snowmobilers, and we also have a handful of the greens covered like last year. Everything went into winter looking really good, considering the October weather we had even #13 fairway looks good. I can say right now that it will probably be a early June opening for that hole because of the weather we had, and we will do everything we can in the spring to make it playable as soon as possible. Is it possible to be on it earlier, yeah anything is possible, but I would guess it won't be the case... We'll see in the spring.

Overall, we had another excellent year at IVGC. The weather was dry until October, but that just meant more days to golf. The turf took the drought really well, and the irrigation system played a huge roll with that. Our projects went smooth, other then the delay on #4,7, & 8. The grounds crew did a super job from top to bottom in keeping the place in great shape, my thanks to them for a job well done. There are still a few turf issues lingering that we need to address going into 2010, along with some drainage problems in a couple of areas. We are currently planning some of the smaller projects for next season, and the greens committee is always looking for input on what members think should be addressed.

I hope everyone has a good winter, and a happy holiday season. I will continue to update the blog with what is going on around the shop and course. So stay tuned...

Friday, November 20, 2009

'Tis the end of the Season...

I thought I would share the sites from my visit with the in-laws. My family and I are taking advantage of Maia's maternity leave to spend time with her parents for a few weeks at their home in Metepec, Mexico.

In the past month we have been buttoning things up for the end of the season. October gave us a lot of moisture, we were lucky to work outside a day or two each week all month. With the cool/wet conditions it slowed the grow-in of #13 substanitally but there is still a good stand of grass. It will push the opening back later in the spring next year, but the grass looks good and healthy. Our project on #4,7, & 8 also will be delayed until next season because of the weather in October. Hartman was put back at least 4 weeks due to the rains and it meant the project would be stretched into next spring, and that is not something the Greens Committee nor the BOD wants to have happen. So the work will be done in October of 2010, and as of now nothing major will be done during the season next year. The snow fence is going up, similar to what we did last year. Tree trimming is taking place throughout the course, our main areas will include holes 3,4,5,6, & 7. We started cleaning up all the dying juniper shrubs near the starter shack, next spring we will fill and grade the area, planting it to be much more attractive then it was. All in all the season is ending good, though October was a poor month for golf. Our turf looks good, and the green covers will be going down on Monday. Thanks to everyone for a terrific season!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Busy Couple of Weeks

Maia and I had our baby on Sept. 25th. Clara Maria Knox was born around 4:30pm and she weighed 8lbs. 7ozs. So needless to say the last couple of weeks have been busy and full of joy. Everyone is healthy and doing great.

The cold snap we are going through is slowing things down a bit on the course. We are not mowing everything on a regular basis right now because of the slow growth and not to mention wet weather we have had. Since last Thursday we have had about 5 inches of rain total and the golf course is plenty saturated. To top it all off the leaves are starting to fall and we are now beginning leaf patrol, trying to keep things as clean as we can. A couple things about the wet weather is that leaves do not blow away very well nor mulch up worth a hoot.

Over the next week or so we will start removing trees around #4 tee box in preperation for the renovation project that should be starting soon. The steps and flagstone path are in on #9 tee, we just have some work to do regarding the path and firming up the mulch so it is not so rough to drive on. Thirteen fairway is coming along, even with the weather lately. So all in all things have been coming together this fall so far, and right around the corner is tree trimming.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The greens have healed in great after aerifying. Today would be 2 weeks since we pulled cores and filled holes, and the weather has cooperated perfectly. We continue on our plug pulling rampage with tee boxes now. The front nine tees were completed on Tuesday and the back nine will be done tomorrow. Ones in worse shape recieve a little extra tlc with topdressing and seed, the others just get the plugs dragged around and cleaned off.

The fairways as many of you know are solid tine aerified, this creates a hole without pulling out a plug. By not disrupting the fairway surface we leave the poa annua seed in the ground and hopefully deter it from germinating more readily and compete against the desired bluegrass. Solid tines also allow us to get the job complete with less labor involved because there is no need for busting up cores, dragging them in, and cleaning the fairway off with a blower. All we have to do is aerify, perhaps roll some of the areas that pull up, and then mow. Our fairway soils are good and there is very little issue with excessive organic matter, so solid tines fit the bill nicely for our fairways. We will continue on them next week and should be finished up by the end of the week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seed Germination

On Sunday I noticed a few shoots on thirteen fairway, on Monday a few more, and today there is definitely a green tint to large portions of the fairway. We seeded it Last Wednesday so everything we see right now is Ryegrass, but by the end of the week we should definitely see the bluegrass germinating. The mix was roughly 80% premium bluegrass and 20% perennial ryegrass, and so far it is coming along as planned. Here's hoping for a long fall that allows us to get a good stand of grass before winter sets in...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Heat, Water, & Seed

The renovation on number thirteen was completed on Wednesday. Now with a some help from the weather things will be in good shape going into winter. We used erosion control blankets around the four catch basins and the approach area to prevent as much erosion as we can if we should get a heavy rain. The bunker surrounds were sodded also for this reason, especially concerning the steeper faces and mounding. We used a 80% premium bluegrass/20% ryegrass mix of seed, so we should see some seed germination in under a week. All in all the project went very smooth and the weather helped out a lot, save for the lack of rain at the end but once we got the irrigation up and running it didn't matter.

From what I have seen over the last couple of days, people are obeying the signs and staying out of the roped area if their ball should find its way onto the dirt. This is critical, one being the muddy mess that would be created and two the disruption in the seed bed would create "dirt" footprints as germination starts to take place. So thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

On another note. Greens aerification went great and after a week and a half the greens are looking very good. The greens should be back in tip-top shape shortly. We are about half way through aerifying the fairways and the tees will be done next Tuesday and Thursday.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Watering Dirt

What a busy ten days since my last update. All the greens have been aerified, and about half the fairways are complete. Tees are on the agenda for this coming week, along with finishing up fairways. And number thirteen is shaping up very well. All the irrigation is in and everything is working. The soil was so dry and hard that we needed to get the water turned on before any bunker work or seeding could take place. I have been watering the dirt heavily for the past couple of days trying to get the subsurface moist and start to melt down some of the harder clumps that would not break up. Monday is the big for finishing up the bunkers and getting one last grade on the fairway. Seed and sod will be finished up Monday and Tuesday, and it looks as though the weather will cooperate...

Just a reminder about aerifying... We mow greens every other day for about a week or so following plugging. We want as little stress on the turf as possible so we can get a speedy recovery. Tees are similar, and because of the soil content we need them to be dry before we can mow them after aerifying so the mowers are out in the afternoon. We try and disrupt play as little as possible during these critical cultural practices and we appreciate everyones understanding. In a couple weeks the greens should be back to normal and weather permitting there will be a bunch of days left for some golf.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Renovation Continues...

A lot of grading has been done, the bunkers are roughly shaped in, and today the main drainage basins and tile are being installed.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Renovation Is Underway

Renovation on #13 began on Friday. It should take 7-10 days to get everything graded, seeded, and bunkers built. Here's hoping for a great stretch of weather to get the new fairway established...

Friday, August 28, 2009

I stitched together a couple of snapshots I took of the clouds that rolled in this morning over the golf course, right before we got dumped on for about 5 minutes. Thankfully it was not enough rain to delay the project on #13 any longer. The bulldozer and tiller are now working on it as I type this. We've made the hole a par 3 for the time being, with the tee box located about 125 yards out on the left side of the cart path. We will be keeping the hole cut on the right side of the green to keep it as playable as possible. We may readdress the location once the fairway is seeded, because at that point there can absolutely not be any traffic on it while the seed is being established. Overall I think it works out well, and everyone can play to the green rather then a situation where a temp green is involved.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Early Morning Fog

I snapped this photo of Ron mowing the 3rd fairway on Saturday morning of the club championship. The brightness of the picture actually doesn't really relay the reality of the moment. The staff showed up at 5:15am on Saturday and Sunday so we could mow fairways, approaches, greens, and intermediate ahead of the golfers. This was a little different practice then routines in the past. Normally we mowed everything Friday and then came back and mowed everything on Saturday evening. Of course the greens were mowed each day, actually twice every morning, but the rest was just once over the weekend. I am very happy with the results of the new mowing routine. The dew was removed on all major playing areas, although it did settle back in for some of the early tee times, and the course looked great. The only thing that made this all possible was my staff. Everyone showed up on time and got straight to work, it was a terrific effort on their part to get the course in shape for everyone to play. I have to give them a huge thanks on a job well done. And for that matter, a big thanks on a great summer with little to no issues.

As the summer winds down we start to lose staff to school. As a result we start changing some of our mowing routines and we tend to tri-plex greens more then we walk mow. For the most part it probably won't be noticed, but just a reminder to you all. The main mowing stays on top of the priority list, but things like weed-whipping and raking bunkers 6-7 days a week starts to move down that list. Other odd jobs also get less frequent, but we do everything we can to make sure the course still plays in great shape. There is still a lot of golf to played in 2009...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rain Delayed

I wonder what the people driving by the club think when they look out over 13 and 14 and see a dead fairway? After a good couple of days over the weekend the RoundUp has worked through the plant and the turf is checking out. I did spray it again with diquat on Sunday night after the club championship to burn it down quicker and Monday was a good weather day for that. Then Tuesday brought the rain and it looks as though the project will be delayed for a couple of days because it needs to be drier for the tiller and scraper.

We have also worked out a deal with Hartman that will get the project on 7, 4, & 8 completed this year also. We are currently working on scheduling and details for that. Stay tuned for a update of what's going on in regards to that and also the progress on #13.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Who Ordered The Rain?

On Wednesday we received 2.5" of rain. On Thursday we received 0.75" of rain. The golf course is very saturated at the moment to say the least. For the last couple of days we have been paths only with golf carts, and I see that continuing today. Even the maintenance staff is limiting any traffic around the course while trying to tie up loose ends before the tournament begins tomorrow morning for the bulk of the field. The championship and presidential flights were able to get their first round in yesterday, it was what you typically call 'mudding'. And though the ladies could not get their first nine of eighteen holes in on Wednesday, they will be able to get their modified championship round in today along with the juniors. While it has been wet, the course is still holding its own and playing pretty good.

Just some reminders and notes because of the weather and wet conditions:
  • Please repair your ball marks and a few others. The greens are very soft and even short chips are leaving a mark. There is going to be a lot of play over the next couple of days and it is important to give everybody a good putting surface. Fix your ball marks.
  • Try to stay on the paths and cross fairways at 90 degrees. There will also be signs out there to steer carts clear of wet areas, please follow them. Again, we want the course to be in great shape for everybody.
  • Remember to put the bunker rakes back in the bunker when your done. Let's keep things consistent throughout the course for all the players.
  • Be sure to keep the carts on the paths when around greens and tees. The areas we have sodded will be soft and prone to damage, not to mention the bare and muddy areas.
  • Because of the rain there is some long rough in a couple of areas between holes that we may not be able to mow. The fairway is your best bet to keep your scores low.
  • The rough around the greens is wet, thick, and may be long in spots. Try and hit the greens, another best bet for keeping your scores low.
  • Have fun, be courteous, and take care of the course so everyone has a great weekend of golf.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

IVGC Championship Week

We are almost off and running so to speak. The club championship starts tomorrow with the 18 hole women's division playing their back 9 round. So far everything is going smooth and the course is in great shape, the IVGC maintenance staff is doing a terrific job getting the place ready for the busy week. I took a photo of the blue heron on #6 today, not much to see on #13 fairway yet. I expect it will be a few days before we notice a difference in color. The good weather we are having should really help the RoundUp make it through the plant quick.

Last night the greens committee met to discuss and approve a plan for the renovation project on #7, 4, & 8. The gist of that plan is as follows: The bunkers on #7 will be renovated to bring them up to date. The first fairway bunker on the right will be taken out, and the second one on the right will be moved up towards the 100 yard marker. The Silver Maple will be taken out in that area to allow for proper playability and mounding around the bunker itself. The left fairway bunker will be tweaked slightly but mainly just be renovated in its current location. The green side bunker will built up similar to the one on #10 green so it is more visible from further out in the fairway. It will be slightly smaller and brought towards the approach a little bit. The soil for the project will come from re-grading the approach at about 60 yards out up to the green. This will create the much needed drainage in the area for growing a better stand of grass. It will also improve the site line up the left side of the hole, there is no plan to remove any of the ridge or right side of the fairway to open up that site line. The main reason being that it would take a very significant cut to open that view up and it would create a very manufactured looking golf hole. It would be something that would look very different to the character of the rest of the golf course. To go along with #7 we will be completely renovating the 4th tee and the back tee on 8. Using some of the soil from 7 and by cutting down the front 1/3 of #8 tee we will create enough soil to increase the size of #4. Number eight will have two separate tees instead of the single tee currently there. There is some potential to also add a little length in that area, possibly 10 yards or so. The white tees would then rotate between the new lower tee and the raised back tee. #4 will enlarged to the right, over the existing cart path, also better aligned with the golf hole. To remove the need for a retaining wall, the tee will be lowered slightly so a walkable slope can be created from the new cart path which will run below the current site of the water cooler and seed box. The committee decided to also include steps similar to #16 in the project to tie it together with #9 and 16, plus make it a little easier to get to the top. The two tee complexes will be separated by a narrow buffer zone of some type of ornamental, whether it is grasses or shrubs that is yet to be decided. It will allow groups to be aware of other groups and perhaps be more courteous to each other while teeing off. So the project is planned, and the board is currently negotiating with Hartman to see if we can get the work done in this calender year... Stay tuned.

Monday, August 17, 2009

PGA Championship

Last week I was getting up at 3:55am and making my way out to Hazeltine National GC by 4:30am so I could start mowing tees around 5:00am. And then of course making it back to Island View mid morning to get my day of work in. Gruelling is not really how I would describe it, it was more just getting up an hour earlier then normal and going to bed a couple hours earlier then normal. We were fed well for our efforts, and the daily pass to the course with a parking permit was pretty sweet. What really topped it off though was standing inside the bleachers (that row of white shirts behind Y.E. and Tiger) to see them play 18 and watch the PGA Champion be crowned. Now that was a cool experience, and one hell of a approach shot by Mr. Yang.

All in all it was very exciting being part of the crew that prepped the golf course for the tournament. My hats off to Jim Nicol and his staff for a tremendous job getting Hazeltine ready for the PGA. Even after 6" of rain fell and washed out every one of the 117 bunkers on the golf course, it looked amazing by Monday morning of tournament week. I was paired with one member of the Hazeltine staff and together we mowed tees on holes #1, 6, 9, 11, 15, & 16. When we finished cleaning our mowers it was time for breakfast, and that was it. It took a total of 2 hours for the entire golf course to be cleaned up and mowed each morning. I didn't get a count on the number of volunteers there were helping but to give you an idea: there were 6 walk mowers for tees, 8-10 walk mowers for greens, 8 fairway mowers, 3-4 tri-plex fairway mowers, 4 walk mowers for approaches, 4 rollers with a guy cleaning up behind them each, a handful of guys stimping greens, a handful of guys changing and painting cups, I think two bunker crews of 8-10 guys each hand raking bunkers, 4 large debris blowers cleaning off tees/fairways/rough, and a bunch of other guys making sure everything was going smooth. A small army is basically what it was, and that was just in the morning. The afternoon crew did the majority of the course cleanup, more mowing, and many other odds and ends jobs.

It truly is amazing seeing what goes on behind the scenes of a major tournament, and to think this happens 4 times a year and perhaps a little scaled back every normal tournament weekend of the year! It was a great week to say the least.

And on a side note, I sprayed RoundUp on the 13th hole today. No picture needed 'cause it's still green as can be. We kept all traffic off it until 1:00pm so there would not be any tracking off the target area. When the plans for #7, 4, and 8 are more set I will pass them on to everyone...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Getting Ready!

We are getting ready for a couple of things over the next week. The Club Championship starts on Wednesday the 19th so we are giving everything that little extra shine. And the renovation project on #13 starts the following Tuesday, so we are prepping some things for that also. As noted in the picture, we have removed the willow tree next to the pond, and today we took down the two ash trees next to the fairway bunkers. The stumper should be in Friday to get everything chipped so we have plenty of time to get things clean before next week. On Monday of next week we will be spraying round-up on the 13th fairway in preparation for the renovation project. By championship weekend everything sprayed should be turning yellow and dying. This should not have any significant impact on play but mainly be a aesthetic issue. The goal is to have everything dead by Tuesday the 25th so Hartman can grade and till everything together without spreading live weeds and poa annua throughout the fairway.

To go along with the renovation on #13 this year, the 2010 renovation plans are taking shape quickly and could be tied into this year also. We plan to finish the front 9 bunkers by completing hole 7 and also completely renovating #4 and #8 tee complexes. The greens committee and board of directors are currently working together to come up with the final renovation plan and the proper financing method to get it done in this calender year. The BOD and GC feel that it is preferable to have everything done at the same time so next spring we are not digging into something and dragging out the renovation projects into the summer. The club is also hosting the MGA Senior 4-Ball championship next September so the other window for renovation would be October, which is still not being counted out... But if we can get 2010's renovation work done this year, it would mean no major construction work until 2011. And I think everyone would be on board for a nice long season (2010) without construction and renovation projects taking place. It also gives the GC plenty of time to come up with a solution for the renovation of #14 which includes soil sampling, pond, bunkers, and fairway work.

Stay tuned, I will update the blog on a daily basis starting next week to show off the championship and also the renovation progress.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wee Bit of Storm Damage

Well the storm rolled through last night and took down a tree or two on the golf course. As always there is/was a lot of little stuff here and there to pick up. A Oak tree between #15 & #17 broke off about 20 feet up, it was the one that grew up all twisted. There are a couple of other trees that took enough damage (one on #3 and one on #9) that the tree will most likely be taken down. There were also a few major branches that came down but do not warrant taking the tree out. All in all, not as bad as I thought it would be when I got in this morning. We will have it back in shape in no time... One good thing is we have had about an inch and a half of rain in the last three days, much needed for as dry as its been.

I met with the landscaper (same company that put the steps in on #16) last week to plan the steps for number nine tee. The work is planned for the week of Sept. 7th and should not take more then a week. It looks as though we are going to have a very busy construction period starting right after the club championship. With the work being done on #13, the steps on #9, and then fall aerification starts right around that time also... Busy, busy, busy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Didn't Find Any Gold, Yet.

Curbing is done on #11 and #7, and the sod/grading is also completed around those areas. The new teebox on #11 is now open for play. The blue MGA marker is now 207 yards to the middle of the green, we will be updating the tee sign soon. Two of the three buildings on the course are cleaned up and painted. #9 tee is next on the list for some work, the new steps and landscape area. We will be doing more sodding along some cart path edges and evaluating some of those areas for stone rather then grass. The geese are now flying and are much easier to keep away from the course. We will do everything we can to keep them away for the rest of this season and also deter them from staying around next spring. All in all we have been busy taking care of a lot of odd's and end's.

The finishing touches for number 13 in in the final planning stages right now. The next newsletter will have a overview of the project so everyone understands what is going on. I will also be updating the blog regularly as we get closer to renovation time. Right now I plan to spray the fairway with Round Up on Monday of club championship week. It will be yellowing by the weekend but should play just fine. This is necessary so when we till the entire area the week after the tournament, the grass is dead and 'crispy'. This will ensure a good final grading of the fairway prior to seeding. But, as I just said, I will keep everyone informed of the details as we get closer to the project...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gotta Love The Weather

Weather like this is probably a Superintendents dream. The heat is only in the upper 70's to low 80's, the humidity is very low, and though we do need rain it is much better then being too wet. So I hope everyone is getting a chance to get some rounds in and enjoy the summer we are having.

Short and sweet - the curb is in on #11 and will be graded/sodded on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday a curb will be installed around the turn-around on #7 green. That one should be buttoned up by the weekend...
Enjoy the course...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Projects, Projects, Projects

Well we have a lot of this and that going on right now. Josh with Hartman is in for the day putting the finishing touches on the new 11th tee and also grading out the area for drainage. One of the directions we have started to go with tees and other construction type projects is getting the professionals in to do the job right. Not that we could not do the job in-house mind you, but there is added level of detail and finishing work that we can not do with our equipment. The laser level you see in the picture can make the tee perfectly flat, 1/4" slope one way or another, or put in any other slope you may want for surface drainage. The precision is a lot more exact then the simple level we use for our in-house projects.

All the sod we stripped from the area is being put to use on those eyesore spots around the cart paths and behind #16 green on the hill side. The areas we have left when we use up all the sod created will be handled with purchased sod or from the back of the driving range where we have been taking sod for various projects. The entire area around the 11th tee will be sodded along with the tee box itself, the sod coming from the beginning of the fairway.

Some of the bunkers needed a little attention so we are currently getting some weeding and edging done. Sand will also be added to a couple of bunkers where it is getting a little thin. We are also getting a much over due paint job on the #6 shack. We stripped all the loose stuff some time ago and have not had a chance to get the fresh paint on until now. When that building is done we will be moving on to the pump house and then perhaps the starter shack.

The area to the right of nine tee will also be getting a make-over soon. We need to regrade the area around the evergreens to get the standing water out of there, and also have plans for a set of steps to be installed. The current idea is to remove the planting and wall block and place the steps there where the path is already expanded. The flowers would be added to the area to the right of the path where we will be grading along with some hosta and perhaps other plant material.

There has been some talk about steps for the forward tee on #13. I would rather see golfers drive around the 12th green and past the water cooler to get to that tee. It keeps people on top of the hill rather then having to park below and climb up. We need to do a little tree trimming on the tree next to the teebox to open the area up a little, but I would guess the amount of traffic should not be a problem along the teebox. I hope this solves any problems associated with climbing the bank if it is wet and slippery.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The List...

I mentioned the new rolling units we purchased this season, here is a picture of Micky rolling number five green this morning. So far things are working great with them, and the greens have been very smooth for the most part. It's nice to be able to keep them rolling between 10 & 11 without having to drop our height of cut below a 1/8".

There is always a list. Whether I keep it or Dave keeps it, we are always working off a list. The one thing about working on a golf course is there is always something to do. I swear every time we take one thing off the list we add 2 or 3 things to it. And this does not even include the normal routine maintenance we do on a daily basis. What is included is stuff like spraying weeds, watching/spraying for crabgrass, cart path edge renovation, irrigation analysis to make sure water is where we need it, tree trimming, drainage work, painting course buildings, weeding bunkers, edging sprinkler heads, edging yardage markers, cleaning the deck and clubhouse area, trimming around fences and other areas, adding sand to bunkers, edging bunkers, the hand mowing and watering lists are just that - more lists, spraying other pests such as ants, branch and brush clean-up, parking lot cleaning, better positioning tee signs, improving target greens on driving range, improving overall condition of driving range, tree inventory, checking "hot spots" for disease or other issues, keeping thistle out of the no-mows, various things that need to be done around the shop (another list), trimming back overgrowth on #15, making sure drains and tiles are cleaned out, light bulbs in the cart shed, exterior lights on the clubhouse, deterring muskrats from the ponds (they tend not to like a .22), deterring geese (they don't like being chased by a golf cart or mower), cart control options for various areas, this area or that area needs a little TLC, keeping an eye out for the beaver to see if he is going to take any more birch trees with him, & I could continue but I think you understand...

Keep the ideas coming and we will keep checking things off and adding things on.

Have a good 4th of July and I hope your all enjoying the golf course...

Thursday, June 25, 2009


From a distance our fairways are looking green and lush, but once you start walking them you realize we have quite a bit of clover out there. Specifically we have White Clover (Trifolium repens L.), often associated with low fertility and moisture. I can tell you it is not from lack of fertility in our fairways, but I know some of our rough areas do not see as much food as they probably need. Last year, with fertilizer prices going through the roof, we did not fertilize a lot of the rough areas and concentrated on just the main playing turf (tees, greens, & fairways). This year we have switched that tactic a little and our now using some of the least expensive fertilizer to at least give our rough areas a little nitrogen and potassium. We have not changed much of anything in our other fertilizer programs, except for fairways where we are trying a different poly-coated fertilizer we have used on a limited basis in the past.

Clover is pretty easy to whack down, a little 2,4-D, dicamba, triclopyr, MCPP, & MCPA are just a few of the chemicals one can use to kill the little beast. In the rough areas we have been spraying most of the areas we can get to. In the fairways I tried a little different tactic and spot sprayed the first couple hundred yards of #10 and a little bit on #11. I'm glad I did not go all out yet because of what I am seeing on #10. Sure enough the clover is checking out but unfortunately where it is a thick patch there is nothing underneath it to take over. And the heat of the summer is not exactly the best time to be seed/soiling large patches in the fairways. So we will knock down the smaller/thinner patches with spot spraying and leave the rest for this fall when we can get out and treat all the fairways and take advantage of the right time of year for seeding.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Beaches Are Open

The bunker renovations on #12 and #13 are now open for play.
You have been warned.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Testing New Chemy

So last week I sprayed fairways with the usual plant protectants. One of the chemicals has a side effect of deterring worms, so hopefully we will see a decrease in their activity especially since all the rain we have had recently. The rest of the mix had growth regulators, fertilizer, and another fungicide. It normally takes 8 full tanks to spray all 24 acres of fairways, so I typically spray them all over two days. This year I am trying a brand new chemical on a limited basis. All of number one fairway and half of number two fairway have this new chemical in the mix. The rest of the fairways and the other half of number 2 do not. I will be evaluating performance over the summer and see how it may differ from our normal chemical program.

So why mention all this? One of the effects of this new chemical should be a better looking turf overall, and so far you can see the difference in the two halves of number 2. So if you notice that half of two is a bit greener and darker in appearance, that is the reason. We will be continuing this test through our next fairway application in about 3 weeks, so it is possible it may become a very stark difference in shades.

Just an FYI.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Image is from Google Earth...

Well the bunker work is done and all the loose ends resulting from it are completed also. Now we can get back to addressing the collars, approaches, and tees where the turf is a little lacking. The rain was a huge help and now it looks like warm weather is very near. A couple of eighty degree days and things will explode... Most of the landscaping around #16 tee is in, there is still a little more to do, and it looks great.

FYI on the imminent coming of the Emerald Ash Borer... We are starting our tree inventory, 4 of 18 holes are complete. To give you all an idea of how many ash trees we have, there were a total of 262 trees counted and just over 47% of those trees are ash. I would guess the rest of the course is going to follow suite and we are going to find out about 50% of all the trees on the golf course are ash trees. There is a new chemical option for tree injection that is giving 2-3 years of control for EAB, so there is a option for the ones we do not want to lose. At $30+ per tree to treat we would be looking at over $3,700 for just the ones we have counted so far ($1850/year). Some very rough numbers on the idea of treating - 18 holes ~ 1300 trees ~ 750 ash trees ~ $22,500 treatment every 2 years ~ $11,250/year. It is safe to assume we are not going to be able to treat every tree on the golf course. But it is reasonable to choose a fair amount to treat, since we have so many ash trees there are a lot that come into play and perhaps we do not want to lose them.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bunker Work Continues

The finishing touches are being put on #12 today and they have started renovating the greenside bunkers on #13. By shifting the front bunker to the left a little, it allows the right side bunker to be brought around the front right corner and a little closer to the green. Whenever you start digging around on a golf course you never know what kind of surprises might pop up. Thankfully, as of yet, there have been no unexpected's to speak of. We hope to have everything, #12 & #13, sodded by the end of the day Thursday. Everything should be back in play in a few weeks.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bunker Work Commences

The bunker work has begun. The old sand was removed from the fairway bunkers on #12 and they were re-edged. New sand was put in today and they are back in play, be forwarned though that the new sand is very soft and the ball has a tendancy to plug. The left greenside bunker was ripped apart and renovated today also, it is almost completed. By the end of the week the whole hole should be nearly finished, just waiting on sod would be my guess. If there is no rain in the forecast and it is feasible, I will bring in the sod for both #13 and #12 in one shipment to save on costs...

Since the approach is getting a little work, we have stolen some sod from there and are using it to repair some of the dead spots we have on a few approaches. There was also some extra soil generated from the greenside bunkers and that is being put where the new tee box on #11 is going. That was a project that got postponed last year because there was no extra soil to work with from the bunker project, so this year we will be completing that. It will put the yardage for that hole from 190'ish to 215 or so, making it a good challenge for the championship tees. It will not be completed until this fall, so for now it will be rough graded and seeded with ryegrass.

And I want to thank everyone involved for a tremendous 50th Anniversary Party at the club last Sunday. I am so glad I got to play and be part of the celebration...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 44 - Rain, EAB, & Bunkers

And again I am extremely grateful for a super irrigation system! With very little rain this spring we have been pumping a lot of water onto the golf course. And though we have had the usual hiccups, the irrigation system has been working wonderfully. However, with all the wind we have had it has been a struggle to keep some of the seeded areas nice and damp. But things are progressing nicely. On that note, while most poor fairway areas are showing signs of good re-growth, there are some approach and collar areas that we plan to cut and sod next week. For the most part I have been pleased with the recovery of most of the golf course, excluding a few areas here and there.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been in the local news on a daily basis now that it has been found in St. Paul. How does that effect us is on a lot of members minds I gather, considering all the questions I have had in the past couple of weeks about it. There is no question it is devastating to any ash tree population, literally killing every tree, and we have a high population of ash trees. In fact the majority of trees on the golf course are ash trees, so when it gets here it will open the golf course up considerably. Our plan of attack right now is to inventory the golf course trees and start determining any "key" ash trees that we should consider chemical treatments for. This will start amongst the greens committee and go out to the board and membership from there. Preventative treatments have come down in cost, so it is reasonable to consider some for treatment but not a high number of trees. The best thing we can do is follow that course of action and start treating key trees to help prevent their demise. And along with that, let nature follow its course and deal with the tree removal when it comes to that. We could have it now, though I have seen no signs of it yet, or it could be many years before it makes it our way. The big thing is to not panic and start making any rash decisions about dealing with the high number of ash trees we have on the golf course. I will definitely keep everyone posted as to what we are doing in regards to the whole issue.

Bunkers, bunkers, bunkers. The project is starting early this year, next Tuesday as a matter of fact. Holes 12 & 13 are being renovated this summer, with some more work being put off until the fall. As usual there will be some minor tweaking to all the bunkers, the fairway bunkers on #12 will just have the old sand taken out and new sand put in. There will not be any moving, adding, or removal in that area. The greenside however will get some dramatic change with updated bunkers and a slight pinching of the approach. The work on #13 will really bring that hole into light. The fairway bunkers are being moved slightly more into the fairway and the second one will be brought in a little closer to the first. The willow tree along the pond will be removed and the fairway cut will be extended to within six feet or so of the pond edge. The greenside bunkers will be shifted slightly, with the right side bunker being brought in to the green closer and more towards the front right corner. The fall work which is tentatively planned right now would be a complete regrading and seeding of the 13th fairway. This would eliminate the drainage issues we have in the fairway, allow us to kill the predominantly poa annua fairway and seed in supreme blues, and make a much more playable surface. The winter kill that fairway suffered is a perfect example of how poorly the water moves through that area.

I apologize for the lapse in updates, I will do a much better job going forward. With EAB, minor projects, and everything else there is plenty too talk about.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Day 1

Well the season has officially begun for IVGC. And the picture here of hole 6 is what you can expect from a lot of the course. There are quite a few brown spots in the fairways, all of which can be attributed to the ice cover and water pooling from the winter. A lot of the collar and green edges show signs of desiccated turf, and number 16 has a couple of large turf areas where water collected and froze, damaging the turf. The covered greens (1, 7, 8, 15, 16, & putting green) are very green and the turf looks good, other then the spots mentioned on 16. All the other greens look typical for this time of year, some spots worse then others.

The biggest thing now is the need for warm weather. It will probably be a few weeks before we truly know how some of the brown areas will recover. Odds are many of them will come back in some fashion, probably thin and sparse. At that time we will be doing everything we need to do to get things back in shape. Aerifying, seeding, topdressing, fertilizing, etc... So here's hoping for some warmer weather very soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Quick Update

Well I think 99% of the snow and ice are gone (for now anyway). The warm weekend and the first couple of days this week have taken care of any ice cover we had on our greens. Dave and I have been out that last two days moving the softened ice and pooling water off the green surfaces. Even with 4 solid days in the 50+ range of temps we still had to chip through about 3 inches of ice on the front of number 18 yesterday. The whole exercise has given us a great understanding of the drainage issues some of our green complexes have. Thankfully we only have a couple of greens with spots where the water will pool if it can not drain through the soil profile. And we have also taken care of some drainage problems with the continuing bunker project.

Nice weather and little snow always creates excitement for the season to start and the course to open. During weather stretches like the one we are having now I always get asked by a few when the course will be opened. Well, if we can get a good couple weeks of this weather and dry things out good, it could be sooner then later. I think most agree there is still more snow to come, even if short lived, and that just means it will take longer to dry out. We are all hoping for an early spring this year and definitely a warm one, so we'll see...

Monday, March 9, 2009

March Melting

Greetings everyone, I hope your winter has been good and our spring is soon to come...

We have been monitoring the ice that has been around since January on some spots. There are a couple of areas that concern me, #2 being the main one. The ice has built up in the front of the green and caused some water back-up during the 2-3 days we have had in the 40's. We have chipped channels through the ice so the melting water has room to escape and not continue to pool up. It is the only green where this major ice dam has occurred, for the most part the rest of the ice on greens is an inch or so and when it does melt it has places to run off to. We will continue to create openings and places for the water to go so it does not sit on the green surfaces.

We have taken in a couple of turf plugs, from #2 & #4. The one taken from #4 is in fine shape and green-up has been quick. The one from #2 (pictured above) is in ok shape, the poa annua is slower to start which is normal and the bentgrass appears to be similar to #4.

With ice build up we are concerned with two major things, one being suffocation if it covers the turf for extended periods of time (which I have discussed before) and the second is during the freeze/thaw cycles we are now experiencing. If the turf warms up enough the plant can take in water, known as crown hydration. Our concern then is a hard freeze and the water in the plant freezes and shatters the cells. What we do to prevent that is to make sure the water has a place to go as it melts and does not sit on the green. Shovel snow, chip ice, squeegee water, and anything else to help get the ice & water off is what we are doing.

Obviously if there is any damage from the winter we will take all steps in making sure we get turf back as soon as possible. Aerify, topdress, verticut, seed, and even cover in plastic to create mini-greenhouses are just a few of the things that can be done to encourage quick recovery.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Greens Committee Meeting Highlights

We held our first Greens Committee meeting of the year last night. Everyone was present and most of the meeting evolved around the 2009 budget and ideas for planned projects. Nominees for the new committee member position where reviewed and a choice was made. He will be notified by the committee and upon acceptance his name will passed on to the board for approval. The 2009 meeting dates were decided and I have updated the list on the right.

The bulk of our discussion of the evening revolved around the bunker project for 2009 and also various other projects around the golf course. The golf course is going to start facing some interesting times with the economy in the position that it is in. The greens committee feels that even though we are going to be facing some tighter spending limits we can not stop progressing through updates and renovations to the golf course. It is important at a time like this that we continue to improve the golf club, the course being the committees focus obviously, and make sure we are a club that people want to be a part of. On that note we discussed holes #7, 12, and 13 for the bunker renovations this season. If we can fit it into our current budget, those are the holes that will be under renovation around July of this summer.

The other part of the project discussion had to do with tee boxes, from leveling to renovating complexes. We still have a few that are not very level and in need of some attention. We also have some aging timber walls that need to be replaced in the near future. So the committee has set a goal to discuss these areas and put together a plan of attack for them. The other lingering issues have to do with drainage, curbing, and landscaping. Overall it was a good mid-winter refresher about what the course is going to be facing this season and areas that we need to address.

The committee members are listed to the right of this page. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, etc. please make them known so they can be addressed and resolved if need be. And my ear is always open to any of the above, whether you call or email...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A New Year Begins...

Well, we are back at it in the shop. Maintenance on equipment, supplies, etc. is going along smoothly. Dave & I have seminars and a trade show the rest of this week in Minneapolis at the Convention Center and will be back in the shop on Monday. Brian is working on equipment and Frank McGinn III has been helping out in the shop over his holiday break.

The warmer weekend and rain brought about some ice formation on the greens. We walked all 18 today to get an idea of what we are facing and so far things are not very alarming. A couple of greens have a fairly thick layer on them in spots but most areas are under 1/2" thick and cloudy. Cloudy and full of air bubbles is the ok kind of ice because there is enough air there usually that the plants will not suffocate before the melting occurs. Clear ice is the stuff you do not want to see for very long because there is little to no air trapped there and that is when the plants can suffer. On average poa annua (annual bluegrass) is ok for upwards of 90 days under ice before damage, while bentgrass can go longer under cover. We will monitor the situation from here on out and make the decisions we need to make to make sure we do not have a problem with it... It just showed up for the most part so we have some time to watch what happens to the weather patterns and the ice.