Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Open? No. Why Not? Some Insight...

The first nice days of spring always rev the excitement of the coming golf season, and the first question members ask is "How do things look out there?", which is quickly followed with "When are we opening?".

With golf courses in the area starting to open their doors it only makes sense you want to know when we will be opening ours.  Every golf course is different, even those in the same area can have very different environmental conditions that will effect the decision process. I love the fact that the Island View GC membership has never been overly pressing and demanding, many have the opinion the course will open when it is ready to open and the management staff will make that call. At IVGC the management staff is the Golf Professional, Club Coordinator, & Golf Course Superintendent. The members trust us to make the right decision for the club and as a team we have revenue, membership, and course conditioning all on the table and part of the discussion.

From a Golf Course Superintendents point of view, the course is first and foremost on our minds no matter what time of year. Turf condition and the long term ramifications of early traffic and use weigh heavily on our decision to open the golf course for the season. Obviously weather plays the most important role in effecting that decision process. A few nice days scattered amongst cold days can make it much more difficult to decide that opening date. During this time of year, even though things are greening up, the turf is not growing let alone recovering from any type of damage. Cart traffic, foot traffic, divots, and ball marks won't start recovering for weeks if not months. Though the daytime temps might reach very comfortable levels, the soil temps where plants are actively growing are still too cool for any growing to take place. Traffic during the freeze/thaw cycles of spring only increase the likelihood of compaction problems later on in the season. All these items can result in poorer turf conditions, not only now but later on through the season. These areas will require more spring/summer aerification, increased fertilizer & chemical use, and higher maintenance levels then is typical. At this point we are not only considering the potential damage now but how that will affect the season to come. The decision to open the course is not as simple as asking yourself "Is it warm enough to play golf?" Our goal is to provide excellent playing conditions and an enjoyable experience throughout the year, and opening date effects that.

Just a little insight into the decision making process. And with that, we are still closed but the doors will open pretty soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Course Open... Not Yet.

Well we are getting close. Courses are starting to open and the weather has given a nice few days with a outlook like more of the same. If you you don't follow me on Twitter @golfsoup then you missed my walk-about yesterday to survey the course and conditions. I took pictures and commented on some areas as I went, all in all it is looking pretty good. There are plenty of drifted areas with snow still melting, the frost is down maybe a inch or so, and things are still a bit wet in spots since the melt water is not soaking in.

I am guessing by the weekend most of the snow will be gone and we should gain some ground on the frost coming out. Yesterday the covers on #7 & #16 greens were still frozen down and I was unable to pull them up and look underneath. Today the covers were not not and I was able to see that the turf looks great underneath the, though it is still frozen. Covers will most likely be removed before the weekend. So things are steadily progressing to opening for the 2015 season. If you were to ask me today when we will open, I'd say ask me again in a couple of days. It is amazing how quickly things change, just from yesterday to today, but we still have a couple feet of snow in some drifts/bunkers on the course and that will take the next couple of days to disappear. It looks like things are going to stay dry and warmer then average so it won't be long for everything to come together and we can get the course open for the 2015 golf season.

I can tell you it looks like the range will be open by the weekend... The frost in the tee has been declining quickly and it is pretty dry. It needs some cleaning, ropes and stakes need to come down (though many stakes are still frozen in), and then just supplies set up.

Please be patient while the last of the snow melts, the frost comes out, and we get the golf course cleaned up and ready for play. It won't be long now and the golf season will be underway. The maintenance staff and I are really excited, and want to make 2105 a great year at IVGC.

Friday, March 6, 2015

March 6th, 2015 - Looks like things are going to be warming up and with above average temps the snow will be gone in no time. I've talked to a few construction guys in the last week and it sounds like there is a fair amount of frost in the ground that is going to have to come out. With little snow cover for insulation and the frigid temps we have had this winter it would not surprise me if that is indeed the case. I know we are all ready to get outside, get the course in shape, and get the season started.

Equipment is ready to roll out, course supplies are prepped for the most part, and the air is filled with a bit of excitement for the 2015 season to get underway!