Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Range Tee Divots the RIGHT Way.

At Island View GC we have a great all grass, no mats, driving range tee which we use from start to close of the golf season. Though it is a large area of teeing surface, we are challenged with conditioning due to the heavy use it receives. Proper divot patterning during practice would greatly benefit the experience of the range users and the ability of the maintenance staff to fill and recover divoted areas. The following pictures represent the wrong, kinda wrong, and correct method to utilize the practice tee...

The scatter method uses a lot of surface area, making the entire area 
practically unusable for the next person.

This sort of grouping uses less tee surface which is good, but the center
 areas of damage rely solely on seed to recover which can greatly delay re-use.

The line method is the proper and BEST method for taking practice tee divots.
 It allows for vegetative growth from both sides, and uses the least amount of tee surface.

Here is a short video of Joel Kachmarek from Tacoma Country and Golf Club demonstrating the proper method of taking practice divots on the range, thanks to him for the previous pictures also...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Are We Behind? Compared To Years Past, Yes.

I've mentioned growing degree days once before for timing certain chemical applications. I thought I would revisit this quickly because I have been asked a lot lately about generally how far behind we are on growing, summer conditions, etc... The answer depends on what you are comparing things to I suppose. Usually, for good or bad, we compare things to the previous year or prior few years. So I updated the GDD chart to include the last 5 years plus 2013 to give you an idea of how many growing degree units we have accumulated thus far in relation to the past five years.
A quick note on how we calculate growing degree days: GDD are calculated by taking the average of the daily maximum and minimum temperatures compared to a base temperature, Tbase, (I use 32° F). 

GDD = \frac{T_\mathrm{max}+T_\mathrm{min}}{2}-T_\mathrm{base}.

From the chart it is pretty obvious we are behind the last 5 years, and when looked at the atypical weather of 2012 we are behind about 1,000 GDD. I think you have to go back to 1975 to find a colder month of April then what we just had. In the end it's hard to put a definitive answer on the 'behind' question, but there is no question that everything is happening later in the year so far in 2013 than what we are accustomed to.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Putting Green Seeded & Regrassing Continues

Work continues all over the golf course. We seeded the new putting green today so come on weather and cooperate! Planting beds around the clubhouse have been planted and mulched for the most part. We still have a couple beds to plant in the front entry, and we also need to make a new one on the north side of the entry drive. The new retaining walls and planting beds when you exit the clubhouse at the 1st tee also need to be completed. With those projects and a few more details to tidy up, the front entry project will be wrapping up soon. The bids for chipsealing and road repair are coming in so that work will be completed soon also.

The crew continues to patch poor turf areas through the green complexes. Collar regrassing has been going smooth and most of the dead spots have been removed. Green patching continues, and will continue until we are satisfied with the conditions. The coin size spots that litter the playing surfaces are starting to fill in and grow over. Continued TLC with topdressing, verticutting, and some extra fertilizer will allow them to keep progressing along on their way to recovery. The two greens out of play will hopefully be ready for golfers in the week or so. They will still have thin spots I'm sure but should be playable. Early next week we will evaluate some of the larger areas we are trying to get back from seed and make a determination if sodding should be done to hasten recovery.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Little Wet but Work Continues

The new tee boxes on hole 1 are now open for play. One of the things with bluegrass sod when used for tees, the thatch layer is pretty thick and until we get a good amount of sand topdressing worked in they tend to be a bit spongy.

The rains came at a great time, all the fairway slit seeding was accomplished last week and collars were aerified and seeded also. All playing areas including rough we're fertilized and watered in prior to the rains, it was pretty obvious today that it is working due to the excessive growth in our fairways and rough. Unfortunately the amount of rain has not been ideal, we have received around 4" since Friday and there is a pretty good chance there is more coming in the next couple days. Mowing schedules and routine work will all be handled as best we can over the next couple days due to the saturation. 

We continue to patch/re-grass poor areas on collars and greens. I expect this will continue for the next couple weeks as we work are way around the course. We will be utilizing small plugs, hex plugs, narrow sod strips, and typical sod cutter work to fix these issues. Whichever method best removes the damage and allows us to provide turf consistency will be implemented. It won't be uncommon to see greens with plugs and sod strips as we move forward with the repair. Regular sand topdressing should help with smoothness and seams created from the repair work. 

The front entry work continues also. Many of the perennials have been planted, with only a few more beds to be worked over and finished. We have to wait until this rainy stretch passes before we can mulch the beds, the dye gets washed off the mulch if it does not have a good chance to dry. Our first delivery is scheduled for the end of the week so hopefully all beds are mulched by this coming holiday weekend.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Warming up!

Hopefully the frost and 30 degree nights are behind us after tonight. We really need the soil temps to warm up so we can get some good seed germination and aggressive growing turf for a quick recovery. One thing I wanted to mention to members is that you will find we will be keeping the course on the wet side to encourage seed germination and turf recovery. Greens will be a little softer and fairways also. Please remember to fix ball marks and replace divots (or use seed/soil), as it will be much easier to make both while playing. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Turf Recovery Update and Plans

The winter was harsh on much of the annual bluegrass and perennial ryegrass throughout the golf course. Now that things are greening up, the dead/mostly dead spots are obvious. The main culprits for the turf damage was extensive ice cover and crown hydration. Poa annua can withstand about 60 days under ice cover typically, while bentgrass can survive through 90+ days of cover. Crown hydration is when the snow melt occurs and the plant takes in some water but then is subjected to refreezing which ruptures the plant cells and kills the grass plant. Here is a brief outline of what we are doing to recover the golf course as quickly as we can:

- #7 & #16 greens were taken out of play, deeply verticut in two directions, seeded with A-4 Creeping Bentgrass, topdressed, dragged, and covered. There has been good germination and recovery of the weak turf. It is likely they will remain out of play for another few weeks.

- Fairway areas are undergoing a slit seeding with a low-mow premium bluegrass/ryegrass mix. Typical bluegrass germination is 2 weeks, while ryegrass is sooner. Please avoid all cart traffic on these areas while we are encouraging seedlings and re-growth.

- Green collars will be aerified next Wednesday. We will be seeding with bentgrass and topdressing them as part of the process.

- Tees will be aerified following collars, and again we will be incorporating seed and topdressing to address the thinner areas.

- The worst collar damage on greens #4, 9, & 12 will be re-grassed with sod from our turf nursery, the plan is to start that early next week.

- We will be and have been using seed/plugging/sodding/topdressing practices on greens to bring them back from the winter damage they sustained.

- All fertilizer/chemical programs are being adjusted for accelerated turf recovery and seedling growth.

Our goal is to have most, if not all, of these processes finished and in place by the end of next week. Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we move forward in getting the golf course back into prime condition for the season.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Shaping Up

While there was significant winter kill throughout the course, some areas are in great spring form. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Like Wow Busy!

A look at #16 green after we verticut it and seeded it. Brandon is topdressing it and then it was dragged. All this took place on April 30th, one week ago.

After the seeding process was completed we covered the green with a "Evergreen" cover. The timing was right on as the weather turned cold and miserable for the rest of the week.

Here is the verticutting process being done on #7 green. We cut in two different directions to create good channels for the bentgrass seed to be broadcast into.

When the turf comes out of winter in tough shape it is overwhelming how much there is to do while the sun is shining. As soon as we realized #7 & 16 green were not going to "come around" we went into action and got them seeded and covered. The covers allowed us to get a head start on germination during the miserable days that followed seeding. The good turf rebounded quickly and is aggressively growing, and after one week it appears we have some germination starting to take place. Our normal practice for the next couple of weeks will be to cover the greens for the night and uncover them during the day. On days with little sun and 50 degree temps it is likely the covers will stay on throughout the day.

There are quite a few fairway areas that lost turf, our plan is to slit seed, topdress, drag, and fertilize all those areas. To help with recovery we will be directing traffic away from those areas, so please follow all signage and ropes. With good weather the course should be back in shape soon.

There are a couple of collars that have significant damage and over the next week we will be regrassing the worst ones with sod from the turf nursery. We will also be aerifying, seeding, topdressing, and dragging all collars to help with recovery.

All in all we have a lot of work to do over the next two weeks to get the golf course back in prime shape for the summer. And that's just the recovery efforts, the laundry list of items that need to be done during the spring is long to say the least.