(image)Zach Bauer, left of the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO and David Phipps, right of GCSAA from Oregon make their exchange.
(image)I get a Marionberry Sour from Oregon City Brewing Company.
(image)Speaking engagementsAs I always do at GIS I spend a fair amount of time at TurfNet events. This year the Beer & Pretzels event had extra special meaning. We kicked off the Jerry Coldiron Embrace Life Awards This article sums it up perfectly: Press Release It was a very emotional night with awards given to some amazing people with stories we have all followed in the TurfNet forum over the years. We have a term called the "TurfNet Village" because we have formed a community that goes far beyond just an online forum. Another part of this wonderful evening was reuniting the ColdIrons with a student they had housed many years ago from England. That story is HERE There was a personal twist to that story since Josh Webber was my roommate for a couple of days. It was fun to meet one of the bright young men in our industry and be involved in the surprise. The TurfNet Emerald Challenge/Byrne Cup had lower attendance so instead of playing golf on a course against the Irish Greenkeepers we moved it to a Top Golf. That was a blast and I recommend you try one. Cheryl and I are looking forward to this event in Ireland come October.
One of the main projects for this winter has been tree removal and trimming back underbrush and rhododendrons. While I have detailed the trimming and removal in past posts, I have not adequately detailed the scope of the project that we have undertaken.
Over the years a significant amount of trees have encroached on the playing area. Some of these trees started out as volunteers and some have been there for years. However, the nature of the tree removal has been to remove trees that are either decayed and dying or because they inhibit turf growth due to excessive shade. By the time we are done, we will have removed about 100 large trees, primarily on the front nine.
(image)Split firewood for heating the maintenance building and material being readied to be hauled away. Once the tree is removed we are left with the stump. If the stump is off in the woods, then we cut it flush and leave it. If it is within the turf, then we remove the stump. Generally, a large hole needs to be dug to get the stump loose so that it can be removed. The resulting hole is filled in with dirt and sod is installed. The stump is then hauled away to the dump. Some of the larger stumps can take nearly a day to remove. Leaving the stump is not an option (even if we grind it down) as the decaying wood makes growing grass difficult and eventually causes a hole to form.
(image)Roots being pruned from a large oak stump.
(image)A large hole needs to be dug to remove the stump. This has been a major undertaking for our staff but one that will reap benefits far into the future. Those that have seen our work have been excited about what they see.
Other notable Projects:
- Golf Course wide tree pruning. This will increase sight lines, shade mitigation and improve air flow.
- Curbs have been installed on 3 green, 4 green 5 green, 18 green, 9 green, and 10 tee along the cart path edge. This will cut down on wear and the staff having to repair every year.
- Fairways have been verti-cut, aerified, and top dressed and currently we are finishing up the deep tine.
- Rough has been aerified
- The rough around #5 green has been replaced with new sod.
- Our new tee on #17 is coming along nicely and we hope to have this completed by March.
(image)The Graden Machine in Action
(image)Pushing off left over debris
(image)#10 Tee curb addition
What a mess! We've had rain in the gauge every day since last Thursday. The downpour that started it last Thursday night took a big toll on bunkers. 100 players in an outing the following Friday morning stalled any repair efforts. The forecast called for three more rainy days, making bunker work a poor use of time anyway. Somehow we completed aeration between all the raindrops, but now we have real mess. The bunkers are still a wreck, the grass has been growing for a week, and the greens have holes in them. It's not a good time for me to ask for your thoughts on course conditions.
We were able to get the mowers out today, but had to dodge a number of wet areas. Bunker repairs will start tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM and continue through the weekend. Greens will recover quickly, but are just two days removed from surgery so please bear with us. I think we will be back to normal very soon.
Pictures from the aeration process...
(image)Even though we cover the sand,
rain water moves upward into the pile and
humidity under the tarp soaks the sand
(image)We spread 60 tons of sand over 150,000 square feet
(image)Our machine puts 1/2" diameter holes
3" deep on 2"x 2" spacing(image)The sand wasn't as dry as we'd like, but the
brush got the holes full. We will keep brushing
and blowing until all excess sand is removed.
Since returning from the Golf Industry Show on the 9th the average high temperature in Charlotte has been 67 degrees with 5 days reaching at least 70 degrees or more, including a record smashing 82 degrees this past Friday (Feb 16)!
And we even hit 80 degrees yesterday to establish another record! You may be wondering what impact, if any this early warm-up may have on our bermudagrass tees and fairways. Surely we all remember from our high school biology class that plants produce their own energy via photosynthesis, but what about a plant that's been in hibernation. There isn't any photosynthesis taking place on the biscuit brown canopy of dormant turf. Bermudagrass relies on stored energy in the form of carbohydrates to assist with the process of breaking dormancy and producing new shoots and leaves. Once the plant fully exits dormancy will it be able to resume production of its own energy.
As you can imagine, if the plant wakes from dormancy too early using its carbohydrate reserves in the process, what will happen if the plant is once again subjected to freezing cold temperatures sending it back into a dormant state. Such is life in the Transition Zone.
We've seen this scenario play out several times before, to the point I'm beginning to think it's the "new normal". Each year a portion of winter is too warm and just when everyone is fully smitten with spring fever, Old Man Winter reminds us that March, and even April can have its fair share of cold. I wish I could tell you this warmth is here to stay, but unfortunately there already is talk about a potential change in the pattern for early March. Until then, I suggest you dust off those clubs and enjoy the course. I know that's what Matt Claunch and I plan to do today as we have scheduled our first "course inspection" of 2018 for later this afternoon.
Earlier I mentioned my return from the Golf Industry Show. This year's conference was a whirlwind of education and activities. It was a treat to witness Ernie Els receive the Old Tom Morris Award from GCSAA and I collected my own little piece of hardware when I picked up the Kaminski Award from the good folks at Golf Course Industry and Aquatrols. Thank you all for your kind congratulatory words, it was an honor to both represent Carolina Golf Club at GIS and accept this recognition knowing it's all because of how we communicate.(image)You Like Me!
Upon returning from GIS I immediately walked the course to inspect conditions and assess where things stood considering the cold pattern we had endured. Overall I was very pleased and shared my observations in a string of tweets linked below.
General observations from my course walk this morning @CGC1929!— Matthew Wharton (@CGCGreenkeeper) February 12, 2018
1) Course is saturated after 2.84" rainfall since Feb 4. #cltwx
2) Unwanted annual winter grasses beginning to show ill effects of selective herbicide application end of Jan. pic.twitter.com/5HDccDTgGz
3) Green stolons currently present in dormant Bermudagrass taken from area that endured winter injury 2015. pic.twitter.com/DzXF8GbJoL— Matthew Wharton (@CGCGreenkeeper) February 12, 2018
Since that time we've been busy applying all our pre-emergent herbicide to the tees, fairways, and rough for management of unwanted crabgrass and goosegrass.4) Greens look good overall w/ segregation & mottling commonly apparent this time of year.— Matthew Wharton (@CGCGreenkeeper) February 12, 2018
5) Current warm/wet conditions requiring a preventive #Stressguard application today for good measure. #petridish #MaintenanceMonday pic.twitter.com/UJhvSIDK4q
The team has also been in the process of tidying up mulched areas on the golf course, ensuring we have a fresh edge and smooth transition from turf to mulch under our hardwood trees and pine straw underneath the conifers. Of course if this warmer weather continues much longer we might have to think about mowing bermudagrass turf, I can't believe I just typed that in February. Such is life in the Transition Zone.Team continuing to apply preemergent today for management of unwanted crabgrass & goosegrass. Blue dye in foam helping w/ application accuracy. #CGCturf pic.twitter.com/0xD365d98R— Matthew Wharton (@CGCGreenkeeper) February 15, 2018
One final closing note, yesterday I received a message from a former employee. Hernee Gift Palabrica was one of our International Interns from Philippines and worked here the entire 2015 season. Since returning home to Philippines he has been working at Iloilo Golf and Country Club, the oldest golf course in Philippines built by English and Scottish expatriates in 1907!
(image)Hernee Gift Palabrica (L) and Joeven Guilaran (R)(image)Outstanding Contributions!
Seems Gift has ascended to the role of Assistant Ground Supervisor and received some accolades of his own from the club. I'm extremely happy and proud of him for the accomplishment, but even more happy he maintains our connection and shared his good fortune with me and the team. Well done Gift!
See you on the course,
Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG
(image)Mike runs a tight ship
(image)This is the machine we haul topdressing sand and bunker sand with. It was
bought in 2000 and needs a little rust knocked off the hopper.
(image)Mike inside the big spreader prepping for a paint job (image)Rust converter did it's job and paint is going down
(image)The finished product. Ready to haul bunker sand and topdressing
(image)Richard got pretty good with the concrete saw we rented
(image)The backhoe got some nice new teeth (image)The Kubota got it's front end fixed.....again. They didn't design this thing
to succeed. It's a regular visitor in Mike's shop.
(image)We removed sections heaved up from roots. The roots were removed
and the sections were replaced.(image)No wonder it broke. 1" thick on bare dirt 5' from a tree.
Getting the course ready for the upcoming season does not just include working on the course, but also planning for some of the smaller details that tend to get taken for granted. One of those small details is ball washers.
(image)Lee Howell of Corbin Turf with Asst. Supt Chris Cowan delivering new ball washers. With a desire to have our course accessories blend more into the environment, the Greens & Grounds committee chose to have the washers painted in brown instead of the standard green. I've had a good look at them and they will look great on the course.
(image)Bill O'Brien Jr diagnosing a leak.
(image)Potential subnivean tunnel?
(image)blog postFrom the interweb: The subnivean zone is the area between the subsurface of the ground and the bottom of the snow pack. [under the snow pack] the snow that lands on the ground sublimates; that is, changes from a solid into a gas without going through the melting stage. Sublimation is prompted by heat radiating from the earth. Warm, moist water vapor rising into the bottom layer of snow cools, condenses, and refreezes into tightly packed, rounded ice crystals. [at 8 inches of snow the subnivean zone remains within a degree or two of 32 F regardless of the temperature and weather conditions in the outside world. For the full site click HERE
This zone is mostly described for the critters that live within it and the predators that feed on them. But it explains why snow is a great thing for turf. 32 degrees at all times. Perfect climate control. It would keep us from building feet of frost, and/or drying out. I remember one year getting almost 3 feet of snow on unfrozen ground. It lasted for almost two months and we had barely turned off color so when it melted we rolled right into spring. On a walk yesterday I stumbled upon some marks in the snow and it prompted this post.
We lost another early house from the founding of the association. Possibly an original from 1964? It stayed in the family at least. Should be interesting to see what is put up in its place.
(image)out with the old.....
(image)Talk at the Golf Industry Show
Here in the golf course maintenance department we get asked this question a lot. I thought I would update you on a few items that we are currently working on and how things look.
We had great snow cover on the turf during the periods of extremely cold temperatures. We were very thankful for that and also I am very glad that we made the decision to irrigate the turf in late December. I had an opportunity to tour the golf course late last week and the turf at this midway point looks to be in very good condition.
Now to the inside of the golf course maintenance facility. Blake Helland our equipment tech has been extremely busy working on every piece of equipment that we have. Blake's job is to bring each item in and service it. Very similar to taking your vehicle in for a oil change. Blake also inspects the units at this time and repairs any safety items, fixes any mechanical items that need attention. This could be a 3 hour time on one item and the next item might take several days.
Superintendent's Nate Tegtmeier and Mitch Meyers along with 1st assistant Craig Connell are busy finishing up the reel grinding and re-assembly of the units. Once this is completed they have to attach them back to the mowers. They have over 70 mowing units to do this to. Bearings are checked and replaced. Reels and bedknives are ground to manufacturer's specifications and then they are ready to go. Here in these photos the guys are working on the John Deere fairway mowing units. This is a critical step to make sure everything is in proper alignment and ready for the upcoming mowing season.
Rueben is very busy painting in our paint booth. All ballwashers, stands, garbage containers, rope stakes, driving range bag stands are sanded then Rueben paints them. Pedro, Jeff and Axel do the prep work and then they do the assembling of the items to have them ready to go. They look like new once they are completed.
Tanner, Zach, Arturo, Enrique and Rueben are also busy in the wood working shop. They are very busy making new tee markers, fixing and finishing divot boxes, all rope posts and red stakes.
In these photos Tanner is taking off the finish from last year and then Zach sands the posts.
The wooden posts or tee marker is then handed off to Arturo and Rueben to have the grooves routed in them and a final sanding.
Once this is done then Enrique brands our logo into the item and it comes over to the main shop to be stained/painted and finished.
These guys have been doing it this way for many years. They have to be well organized and ready to go so each step is completed on time. I think they do a wonderful job of doing that.
Nate, Mitch and myself have also been very busy working on chemical orders, fertilizer orders, and flower bed design and ordering. Jeff M. has been inventorying all of our equipment and updating our data base so that all items are recorded along with serial numbers and model numbers. Once this is done Jeff has the dubious task of working on the Safety Data Sheets and updating them for every product that we use in our department.
All of this work takes a lot of time. The guys also take much needed time off so that they are ready for another season.
Be prepared for the possibility that the fairways change color in the next few days. Our annual application to control kyllinga was applied Wednesday and it typically causes some discoloration to the zoysia. This symptom lasts a few days and then disappears. It is not a pleasant look, but the small set back is much less trouble than a crop of green kyllinga. Kyllinga that was already up and visible will soon be much more visible as it will be dead. The product we applied will also help prevent crabgrass and goosegrass which we all know and love.
(image)Same fairway from the other direction. Kyllinga free
2002 - 7 greens had winter damage.
COURSE CAREShould We Do It?FEBRUARY 16, 2018By Elliott Dowling, agronomist, Northeast Region
A quick look at the divots on the lower tee on #17 made it clear that few people ever use the right side of this tee. With a few feet available between the left side of the tee and the cart path, we were able to give this tee a slight expansion. This will increase the usable teeing area, while improving visibility of the putting surface from the tee.
Despite some less than ideal weather (aka wintry mix), the guys did a great job of knocking this project out.
Once again, we were able to use some Bentgrass sod we harvested from our nursery, thus the material cost for this project was negligible.
(image)Mean Avg Jan Temps - Charlotte 1879-2018The area circled in red indicates the mean average January temperatures for the years 2008 - 2018. Just look at the far right and notice the drastic plunge from Jan 2017 to Jan 2018. No wonder rounds played were down nearly 50% from a year ago (589 vs 1153).
(image)Unfortunately it doesn't appear to be warming up anytime soon either as long term forecasts are expecting a return of cold, Canadian air to make its way into the eastern half of the U.S. for a significant portion of February. Considering Feb 2017 was one of the all-time warmest Februaries in Charlotte history I guess this month's graph may eventually look similar to the one above, at least the course should be well rested when spring finally arrives.
If there is a silver lining to be found within this cold winter, the lack of activity has allowed the team to accomplish several important course care items without undue delay. Recently the entire network of cart paths (over 4 miles) were edged and the overgrowth removed. We have been busy raising and leveling irrigation heads around greens, patching all tee and fairway divots, and making selective herbicide applications to remove unwanted winter grasses from our dormant bermudagrass playing surfaces. Later this month we will apply our annual pre-emergent herbicide to all tees, fairways, and rough to prevent crabgrass and goosegrass from infiltrating our playing surfaces this coming spring and summer. As you can see, our work is never done.
This coming Monday I will be heading off to the annual Golf Industry Show in San Antonio, Texas where I will attend accredited lectures and seminars at the education conference, view the largest gathering of exhibitors to discuss the latest products and services in turf and facility care at the trade show, and represent my chapter, Carolinas GCSA as official voting delegate at the GCSAA Annual Meeting and Election. But despite the busy schedule next week there is one fun thing that's going to take place.
Once again Golf Course Industry magazine and Aquatrols are hosting the Super Social Media Awards and this year I was selected as the recipient of the Kaminski Award for Leadership. I was totally shocked when I received the news for I have never thought of my social media use and communication efforts as anything more than my means of conversing with you about Carolina Golf Club. I had no idea those efforts have made a positive impact on others to the point they would bestow recognition upon me. It's very humbling to say the least. GCI's Senior Editor, Guy Cipriano wrote a very nice piece about my receiving this award and I shared it on Twitter when first announced a couple weeks back. In case you missed it you can find it here. America's Greenkeeper.Yes, we're a week away from #GCITweetUp18. Yes, we're excited. Yes, you should come celebrate the Super Social Media Award winners and the industry's splendid use of social media. @Aquatrols #GIS18 pic.twitter.com/xgIKe5WfWs— GOLF COURSE INDUSTRY (@GCImagazine) January 31, 2018
In other but related news, the Greenkeeping Team at the Home of Golf (St. Andrews Links Trust) are also being recognized for their communication and social media prowess with an award in the category of Best Use of Social Media. Recently their Director of Greenkeeping, Gordon Moir sat down for an interview to discuss the type of work typically accomplished on the historic links in winter months (there's something needing to be done no matter where your course is located) and how their blog, http://blog.standrews.com/ has helped them share their message of environmentalism around the globe. The podcast interview is just under twenty-three minutes, and Gordon does possess a Scottish accent, but if you love the Old Course it's definitely an educational listen. Hope you enjoy! CLICK HERE
Well, that's all for now. Time to prep the course as much as possible today as we prepare for a bitterly cold night tonight in advance of tomorrow's Saturday Shotgun. Sunday's forecast appears to be another wet one so maybe more Super Bowl viewing than golf. Feel free to follow my adventures in San Antonio next week on Twitter and I'll be back to recap soon.
See you on the course,
Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG
The break in the weather this past week made it feel like spring may not be all that far away. With the ground thawing out, the guys were able to strip, prep and sod a number of cart path ends around the golf course.
With all cart traffic being funneled into these pinch points, the turf doesn't get much rest. Over the years, we have tried a number of products that are intended to reduce wear and compaction in these areas, all with limited success.
We were also able to swap out a few pieces of sod on #18 approach, which had Poa, for Bentgrass harvested from our nursery.
As we've said in the past, the benefit to sodding now is that the sod will root without needing to be nursed, as it does most other times of the year.
The first day that the Pro-shop will open is Tuesday, March 6th. Only a few more weeks and if the forecast holds true we may be able to actually enjoy the course. I know it's wishful thinking (and a long shot) that things will stay this warm but I'm hoping for an early spring. We just had 7 inches of snow after all. Club House work is steadily progressing:
With a whole lot of cold weather this winter, concerns about the dog days of summer can easily become a distant memory. However, rather than waiting until we really need the irrigation system in six months, now is a much better time to address some issues.
Over the years, we have discovered that some of the system's isolation valves no longer function correctly. When there's a problem (such as a sprinkler getting stuck on) an inability to isolate an individual tee or green means that we may have to shut down the irrigation to several holes while the problem is addressed.
We recently installed two new isolation valves for the practice area and one new valve for #12 green. Hopefully we won't have a need to use these this upcoming season, but it is good to know that they are in place and will work properly if we do. We think of projects like this as fire prevention, which is certainly preferred to putting out a fire!
As we come to the end of our first month of the new year we have made steady progress. Our tree project is coming to an end. All the selected trees have been taken down or pruned and stumps have been ground. We still have to pick up some logs and clean up the stump shavings. Next, we will fill the holes with soil from our compost area and then sod. We will do that as weather permits. The hedge and fence in our parking lot have been removed. The area looks much neater. Work in the club house is also progressing. Perhaps the most important piece "the bar" was starting to be installed yesterday. Who knows what February will bring but what ever happens we will keep making progress.