Thursday, September 22, 2011

When Lightning and Tree Meet

I was looking through some pictures we have taken over the last couple of months and ran across this one I though I would share. It is of a large Ash tree behind #1 green that was hit by lightning on August 22nd. The tree was hit much higher then the top of the picture but this shows all the things that happen when the moisture inside the tree expands in a instant. The bark has been blown off in streaks going up and down the trunk. The sod has been blown off around the base of the tree and along some of the shallower roots. We will be keeping an eye on the tree to see if it is going to make it, but from what we have seen in the past it should probably survive the strike, thought the quality of the tree itself is usually degraded.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Big Split

Here is a before shot of the fourteenth green before the tree between the pond and bunker was taken out last week. The tree canopy blends well with the background so in the after it is perhaps hard to notice the difference.

To the right is the current look of fourteen green from the other side of the pond. From an elevated position such as the fairway it is very noticeable and the area looks kind of bare now. The greens committee will evaluate the space and determine of trees are needed in the area.

The reason the tree came down is apparent in the picture to the left. The split went all the way to the ground and was a very hazardous situation. While it was evident the tree had been cracked for sometime, the separation was unnoticeable until early last week when I spotted it while painting the hazard line around the pond. This is the same thing that happened to the Ash tree on the right of the approach that we took down a couple of months ago.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Aerifying Schedule

Last week we aerified greens, and it went about as smooth as it ever has. The weather was absolutely perfect and at a week out the greens are healing nicely. My previous post gives a pictorial of the process from start to finish, for those of you who might be interested in what it takes to go from really nice putting surfaces to something akin to putting over large holed pegboard. By this coming weekend they should be in pretty good shape.

This week we will be aerifying tees, which we started today by getting half of the driving range tee done. Wednesday and Thursday we plan to do the front 9 and back 9 respectively. And then on Friday we plan to finish the driving range tee. The process is a bit different then greens. We pull cores, pulverize them, and then drag the sand/soil into the turf canopy. The par 3 tees and some of the par 4 tees will get some seed and topdressing as part of the process also. Like the greens, we will be mowing the tees a little less frequently over the next week or so, and also waiting a little longer in the day so they have time to dry a bit and we don't track around any mud.

Fairways will follow next week and it usually takes a couple of weeks to get them all done. We use large solid tines and the disruption to play is minimal. They will also get some seed and topdressing dragged in where we feel it is needed, though they have recovered very nicely from the summer issues we had a couple of months ago.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

10 Steps or so...

Pulling Cores
Harvesting Cores

Spreading Sand

Dragging Sand In
Brushing Sand In
Hand Broom And Fill Remaining Holes
Backpack Blower Cleanup
Much Needed Irrigation By Step 10

Monday, August 29, 2011

September Informer

I want to start off with a huge thanks to my staff for setting up a great golf course for Club Championship. A little rain on Sunday was more annoying then anything else, but other then that the weather was terrific and the course played great. From the comments I heard it sounded as though everyone had a great weekend, even though some golf games were not that “fun”. So with the Championship behind us we are now prepping for aerification. The greens will be aerified on the 6th and 7th, the Tuesday and Wednesday right after Labor Day. Tees and fairways will follow, and like in the past, that should not disrupt play much at all. With such a slow start to the season it feels like the last 2 months just flew by and it’s hard to think about fall and getting the course ready for winter. I am sure we still have 2 good months of golf ahead, and perhaps even a decent part of November if the weather holds.

Unlike last October when we were renovating 4,7, & 18, there will be no major projects going on this fall. We have some drainage work and some curb projects to tackle, and we will definitely be continuing the tree trimming. As I mentioned last month, we will be doing some major tree work on #16 in order to create a much better environment for the green and hole in general. It will start with the removal of the Oak tree closest to the green on the front right corner. The large Oak behind the green will be drastically trimmed up this fall, as well as some major trimming along the left side with some potential tree removal there also.

With the season winding down the Greens Committee will be looking for a new member very soon, so if you are interested please let them know. There are five members on the committee with 2-3 board members also sitting in. The commitment is 5 years, we meet once a month for most of the year, and tackle issues regarding all aspects of the golf course.

Enjoy the rest of the summer,

Friday, July 22, 2011

When The Stars Align...

Or in this case; When the temperature, humidity, and dew point align we get one heck of a disease outbreak.

( Brown Patch #11 Fairway - 2011_07_22 )
( Pythium #11 Fairway - 2011_07_22 )

This last week has taught us some new things and reiterated some of the lessons we have picked up along the way. From the 3" of rain we got leading into the weekend to the 5 days of record dew points and high temps. The factors leading to a severe disease outbreak aligned and bam! there it was. I am showing you pictures of an untreated par 3 fairway so you get an idea of what the worst of our disease issues look like now that things are in remission because of the weather change.

Due to the costs involved for preventively spraying fairways for pythium we take a more treat-it-when-you-get-it approach. And when we do spray we try and balance disease control with cost as much as possible. It can cost as much as $10,000+ to treat all 24 acres of fairways just once for Pythium with a good control type chemical, and perhaps only a few thousand for a more knockdown with less control type of one. This past week we had to make that very decision of which one to use. Over the weekend we knew the conditions were perfect for a disease outbreak, and for the most part we had things protected which is why we did not see much of a problem come Monday. By the time we headed home at the end of the day on Monday we were still looking disease free. When we got to the club on Tuesday morning it was a whole different story, fairways and tees did not cope well with 4 days of intense disease pressure... The driving range tee was a sea of fungal mycelium (a cotton like growth that is an active sign of certain diseases, Pythium in this case). The fairways were much similar, though the active Pythium was isolated to low wet areas and not quite so rampant as the Brown Patch that was working 'kinda all over'. Our tees also had signs of active disease and needed treatment. We proceeded to treat the entire golf course and get the disease in check to limit the amount of damage that would take place. While Brown Patch does not necessarily kill massive amounts of turf like Pythium will, it can definitely do some damage.  Since it looked as though the favorable conditions would break in the next day or so we decided to go with the less expensive chemical option and be sure to maintain vigilant scouting for the days to come.

Is it over and behind us? All I can say is we made it through the first onslaught and kept most turf in decent shape. There are some larger patches of fairway that Pythium did kill, we are seeding and topdressing those areas to encourage quick recovery. Some more problematic areas will get aerified, seeded, and topdressed within the next week. So why did I leave #11 fairway untreated? I often leave untreated fairway turf, usually a par 3 like #11 or #4, as a barometer of what diseases are active and when. And it happened that we ran out of chemical with only #11 fairway left to spray, so we will use it as a check and also experiment with a couple of seeding methods to determine what might work best for when this happens again. Because I know it will happen again, hopefully much later then sooner.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011 Renovation About To Start

( 2011_06_23 - Tree Removal Before Bunker Work )

The bunker renovations are about to continue, with only a few holes left we are almost done. Over the next week Hartman will be renovating 4 bunkers and adding 1. The 2 approach bunkers and right greenside bunker on #15 will be re-worked. The picture shows us removing the damaged Oak tree in preparation for the work, not only was it in the way for the bunker renovation project, its removal opens up the area for better turf conditions and it was almost completely hollow which is a safety issue. The other two bunkers being done consist of the fairway bunker on #2 and the addition of a second bunker a little further up from the first. As part of that work we will be removing the first two Ash trees along the left side of the fairway just beyond the current fairway bunker. Hopefully now the weather will start cooperating and allow the work to be done inside a weeks time, we are keeping our fingers crossed.

( 2011_06_02 - Deer Wandering Around #17 )

One of the joys of working on a golf course is the wildlife one sees on almost a daily basis. This young deer was wandering around #17 and #14 with another older one. It's pretty common to see a deer or two on a weekly basis. The turkeys have not been very abundant this year, but last year we counted over 20 in a flock on #16 numerous times. And of course there are always squirrels, egrets, blue herons, and various small critters. If you have been around the clubhouse in the past two weeks you are well aware of a not so pleasant critter being on the premises... Just recently 7 skunks were found living under the 4 season porch/deck area, and since have been removed. This is a first that anyone can recall of having a issue with animals under the clubhouse, but we are working to alleviate any further problems by closing up the openings that exist.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hole #16, What's Going On.


Here are shots to summarize the work so far of the bunker renovation taking place on hole 16. It is expected to be completed by the end of the day today and sod should go down tomorrow sometime. In about 2 weeks we should be able to open up the new bunkers and surrounding rough providing the weather cooperated and the new turf roots down good. 

And on another note, #16 green will be open for play starting Monday the 23rd. We have kept the height of cut a little longer compared to the other greens to encourage better growth, especially once it starts getting traffic, and overall it is in great shape. There are still some thin spots but the bulk of the damage down the center of the green has recovered very nicely. Once the younger plants have matured a bit more we will start a topdressing program, same goes for #7 green, which should help with the thinner and uneven spots...

If this weather can start to stay more typical for this time of year we should have the turf back in no time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Progress on #16 Green

( 2011_04_05 - #16 Green )

( 2011_04_22 - #16 Green )

Here are before and to-date snapshots of #16 green, we seeded and covered on the 13th of April. While we do not see a lot of seed germination taking place, the weather even with a cover has made it difficult, the good turf under the cover has become much more vigorous then anything left open. We'll keep you up to date...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

At least this is rain and not snow!

( 2011_04_26 - Rain gauge reading )

I'm not even sure those are great numbers if your a duck! An inch of rain and 42 degrees, are you kidding me. I think someone missed the memo that there are golf courses out there trying to get some turf recovered and rounds in the books. Oh well, such is life. We actually have it easy with just a little rain and some cool weather. My heart goes out to those further south who are experiencing major flooding, numerous tornadoes, and such heart ache. 

Summer is on its way, I know it is...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Love It! (insert sarcasm)

( 2011_04_20 - #3 Green )

How can you not love Minnesota! I believe we are experiencing the winter that just does not want to give in to Spring. Oh well, all you can do is roll with it and take it as it comes. On a positive note though, the Daffodils are blooming and it is a joy to see some color during such a bleak week we are having.

( 2011_04_19 - Daffodils in perennial garden by #5 green )

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

#16 Green Seeding

For the most part the golf course is in really good shape for this time of the year. We have gotten a first mowing on all the fine turf areas: tees, greens, approaches, and fairways. Things have greened up considerably in the past week, and most of the thinner areas in the fairways from snow mold damage are going to heal without much input on our part. The few greens that are damaged are a little different story however, and the seeding process is all figured out. We will not be covering #7 or #4 so we are waiting to seed them until next week when the freezing temps should be behind us. #16 got the treatment today and we have put a cover over it, taking it out of play.

( 2011_04_13 - Verticut in two directions #16 green )

( 2011_04_13 - Job Saver tines on #16 green )

We started with the verticutters and went in two directions, and followed that up with Job Saver tines in the aerifier. They create about a half-inch round dimple in the green for getting topdressing and seed into. So then we topdressed, seeded, and dragged the green. When all that was done we fertilized, watered, and covered...

( 2011_04_13 - Watering after seeding process #16 green )

( 2011_04_13 - Covering up the damaged section )

Now we just need the weather to cooperate, a quick warm up and some good growing weather. By keeping the traffic off and covering the green it will allow us to greatly speed up the process of recovery during this unfavorable time for seeding and establishment.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Most good, but a little bad.

( 2011_04_05 - #15 Green )

While most of the greens, and the rest of the turf for that matter, look like this... Which is pretty good considering the snow mold pressure we had this winter and the ice layers that covered most fine turf areas for the better part of the winter. There are a couple of issues you will see when you make your way around this opening weekend...

( 2011_04_05 - #16 Green)

Here is a good overall shot of the entire 16th green and the extent of the turf damage it has. This is the worst of the three greens that got damaged this winter, 4 & 7 being the other two. You can also see in the picture the amount of snow mold that the rough areas have, it is drying out nice and the rough should not have much of an issue growing out of it. The greens on the other hand will need some extra care. We have a few options, and over the next week or so when we get a much better idea of how large the dead areas will be, we will determine the best way to go about getting the greens back into shape. In a lot of the less damaged areas on these greens there appears to be a decent amount of green tissue which should aid in recovery once things get growing.

( 2011_04_05 - Snow mold and Vole damage #6 )

Here is a picture of a nice double wammy. Not only did the mound behind #6 green get over run by snow mold, but the voles decided it was a great spot to hang out over the winter also. Rough areas like this will just take a bit longer to recover then areas that did not get hit.

Over all we are in pretty good shape and with the breezy weather the past couple of days, not to mention the sun, the course had dried out very quickly. The range is open today and the course opens this Saturday. Our plan is to start getting the first mowings done next week if the weather continues to be good. The long range weather forcast looks like it should be pretty nice, maybe a few sprinkles here and there but it does not sound like any soaking rains... It appears it should be a nice weekend to get outside, let's hope so.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Second Melt Down

( 2011_03_30 - Hole 5/6 Composite )

Well we can see some turf again! Though there is a cool down expected next week, it looks as though we might get rid of most of the snow by this weekend. A good rain would go a long way to clearing the course of the winter white stuff. In my walk around this morning this was no water ponding in any of the usual places, so my guess is the frost is pretty much gone throughout the course. And where it isn't, the drain tiles appear to be all open so the water is able to exit quickly. A guess as to when we might be open for play... Ask me next week and I might have a better idea. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


( 2011_03_22 - #12 Green )

Yesterday Brandon and I went for a walk to see how the water was moving and the ice was melting. There were quite a few greens where we could see a lot of turf and the above picture of #12 green is a good example of what we were seeing. However there were a couple that showed some signs of poa annua death in a very sporadic pattern, greens #16 and #7.

( 2011_03_22 - #16 Green ) 

( 2011_03_22 - #7 Green )

Some of the turf loss is obviously caused by where the water was sitting in the low pockets, the back and center of #16 and the back and front of #7. Weak Annual Bluegrass, freeze/thaw of water, perhaps smothering under ice cover for the entire winter; These are all possibilities of why we lost turf in these areas. I will say it is a bit early to declare the spots completely lost though. When things start to dry and warm we will be able to better determine if there are any living plants in these spots and take the actions we need to take to get the turf back.

It is amazing what changes in 12 hours though. Today we are looking at a blanket of 3-5" of heavy wet snow covering the entire golf course. So when it starts melting off we will be back out making sure the ice is getting broken up and water is moving off the green surfaces. And other then the few spots of potential turf loss, the turf looks pretty good coming out of winter. It appears the snow mold chemicals we used for protection over the winter have worked, and the vole damage is much less then anticipated. Let's hope this is the last blast and spring is right around the corner.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Melting

( 2011_03_17 - Ice layer on #10 green roughly 3/4" thick )

Here comes spring! Well it has to be right around the corner anyway the way the snow is melting and the water is running. It's nice to see some grass for a change, the white stuff has been around since before Thanksgiving last year. Currently we are looking pretty good on the golf course. There is about a foot of snow on the greens and beneath that is about 0.5-1.0" of ice. After chopping through some of the ice today we found the turf beneath in good shape still. Once sign of problems would be the smell of death when you expose the turf under the ice cover, and so far everything smells good. I know for many they don't want to hear this, but what would really help us out is a quick thaw. The sooner the snow and ice can go at this point the better off the turf underneath should be if weather continues to warm up. Over the next week or two we will be monitoring the condition and taking any action we need to in order for the snow, ice, and water to leave quickly. Let's hope for some continuing warm weather.

( 2011_03_17 - Snowmobile tracks on #3 green )

I know it should not surprise me, with everything we see on the news and in the paper these days, but it still does. We have the golf course snow fenced around most of the perimeter, bright orange and very visible all winter long. It should be obvious we are trying to keep people off the course during the winter months and do not want traffic (save for the occasional skier & snowshoer). So what happens when a short section of fence falls and we don't get it up right away? Disrespectful law breaking idiots is what happens. Thankfully there was plenty of snow this winter that this should not cause any major problems. And the ice layer under the snow should only further aid in preventing injury. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

GCI: Trees on the golf course

( 2010_08_29 - Hole #5 from behind #16 green )

Check out this link to a little 2 minute education on some of the issues the golf course faces with tree competition.