This time of year, when we hear honk honk, it's often not from a truck, but from some unwelcome guests: Canada Geese. Fortunately, there are only a few resident geese on the golf course, and we take pride in having been able to keep their numbers so low.
Remaining vigilant has been critical to the success in this endeavor, as two geese may quickly turn into eight geese next year, and dozens of geese the following year. While best known to golfers for the mess they make on a course, they also munch on fine turf, and contribute to nutrient loading in the ponds.
However, despite our best efforts at discouraging them, year in and year out, one pair picks a great place to nest--on the island between #5 and 6. Great that is, if you're a goose, but definitely not so great for us.
As our feathered friends prepared to nest this past week, we installed some wire around the island, to limit their ease of entry and exit to and from the water.
While trying to outsmart a goose doesn't sound like it should be too difficult, they do seem to adapt, and become less afraid of everything we throw at them. With 16 ponds and close to 40 acres of wetlands on the property, goose management will undoubtedly remain an on-going challenge.
Easily my favorite tweet of the week was:@PenderSuper This was a couple years ago 2014Greens were "rolled" by mistake with greens roller 3 days after seeding pic.twitter.com/q9zg7J5UcZ— Robert Lee (@SPRobertLee) March 22, 2017And in typical Twitter fashion the idea snowballed to produce my second favorite tweet of the week:@PenderSuper @SPRobertLee Good seed to soil contact here from
Brian and Conchobhar agree on a job well done at greenside bunker on Dunluce 15th with Mark and Karl hand mowing greens 11 & 15. The sand will be splashed further up the edges to finish. See their work from start to finish below. 1st Golf have been busy broadening out the mounding surrounding the … Continue reading Another busy week on the links.(image)
Once again Mother Nature continues to be a challenge, a tease of warm weather, a blast of heavy precipitation and even snow. Over the past few weeks we have adjusted our operations accordingly to the ups and downs of the weather.
The HP Ground's team has done an excellent job with many small projects and practices that will enhance the experience for 2017 and beyond.
- Drainage installed last fall in the bottom of 17 fairway is functioning well
- Drainage installed in the 13th and 18th greens in October of 2017 is working great. All greens now have functioning drainage
- The turf fan is installed and the new fence on 14 looks great!
- Turfgrass interns are arriving for the 2017 season
- Annual bluegrass (Poa) populations are negligible in fairways, greens and tees (more to come on this subject next month)
- Aerifcation of the putting surfaces has begun; almost 3 weeks in advance of past years timing
It won't be long before carts are able to scatter to the fairways, we need a little more growth and firming to ensure there is no damage to the slow growing Zoysia. As always, please follow along on twitter @pobrienhpgcc for the latest updates on course conditions and projects.
Spring has almost sprung!
Today we put out our spring pre-emerge to the course. The analysis was 11-0-17 giving us 1/2 lb nitrogen. The truck from Howard's fertilizer can spread the entire course in 3 hours. We are getting some much needed rain tonight to help water in the fertilizer.
As a superintendent it is always rewarding to watch your staff work hard and try to achieve the same vision you have for improving the golf course. For the last several months I have watched our crew cut down trees, dig ditches, chip limbs, replace sod, install and level irrigation heads, renovate equipment, and clean the shop, all with the greatest enthusiasm. Additionally the staff is always coming up with ways to improve how we do things so that the vision of improving the golf course is realized.
(image)Dinh, Fred, & BaLast week also marked the departure of two of our Vietnamese international students, Ba & Dinh. Ba & Dinh will be greatly missed as their enthusiasm, dedication, and willing to learn made them exemplary staff members. I know I speak for the whole staff in wishing them the best in their future endeavors.
(image)"Peace" from Dinh & Ba
This past weeks snow storm put an end to golf for the time being. Time to get out the cards and play some gin.(image)A empty grill room. A sure sign of the weather.
(image)Just enough snow to keep us form opening the course. We did get our water falls up and running. The Water falls look and sound great but they serve another purpose, they keep the water moving and add oxygen. Both are important for water quality. (image)We noticed Algae and a weed called Curly Pondweed. (It is considered an invasive weed in New York). We added a pond dye that has UV filtering properties that curb weed and algae growth. The dye is food-grade, which means that it will pose no threat to wildlife. Because the water is still some what cold our "weed eating fish" are not active yet. Sorry, I couldn't get a real good picture. I should have taken one before we added the dye!!! click to expand and you can see the weeds growing from the bottom.
(image)We also have installed our Sonic Solutions device that kills algae with sound waves. All of these practices combined have had a big impact controlling weeds and algae and saved quite a lot of money at the same time.
It's no secret that I, and many others in the area, have suffered winter damage on our greens. Needless to say I have done a ton of research on strategies to recover from the damage as quickly as possible. Long story short, it almost always requires temperatures to warm up. There are, however, a few tricks that I have picked up this winter that I haven't read about much online so I thought I
2017Three green has been the site of ice damage and crown hydration in the past but looking great for spring golf this year.
If the greens are the most important part on the golf course, the tee boxes & fairways are a close 2nd in importance. The cultural practices for these areas are essential and have a direct impact on the quality of play. When we talk about the tee boxes, we are talking about an area that … Continue reading Tees & Fairways →(image)
With the vision of GM Jerome Louie and the supervision of Assistant Superintendent Matt Smith, the installation of a fire pit behind the clubhouse has begun.
Yesterday the propane tank was put in place and the excavation for the pavers and fire pit itself was completed.
On April 10th the placement of the pavers and fire pit will be done by ProGreen Landscapes of Delaware
We decided to take advantage of having the mini-excavator onsite to prep the area for the pavers and fire pit even though installation is not until April 10th.
Some pictures of what was accomplished.
(image)Placement of the tank. The white bag is an anode that is placed inside the hole and connected to the tank to prevent corrosion.
(image)Tank in place.
(image)Backfilled and ready for mulch and landscaping.
(image)Barberry bushes removed
(image)Ready for installation
The second project is focused on the fourteenth green and fifteenth tee area. This area has been struggling for years because of the row of white pine trees growing close to the green and tee. These trees were planted to provide a border to the Village Green condominiums. At this point in time the pines have grown to a size that they negatively impact the golf course. The only option was their removal. With the pine trees gone, the fifteenth tee can be renovated. The turf on the tee has always struggled due to the close proximity of the trees. In addition, the tee suffers from mounding. This mounding is common in old par three tees because of years of divot mix building up in the middle of the tee. The new tee will have a sand based rootzone and be professionally leveled to provide an exceptional playing experience. The area behind the fourteenth green that was populated by the trees will be filled with dirt and a rolling mound will be installed. Fescue grass will be seeded on the mounds providing a great visual from the approach shot. While the new open look will be different it is the best decision for the long term enjoyment of these two golf holes.
With snow still on the ground, we are preparing for the first window of opportunity to complete these projects at both SMC and SCC. The entire agronomic team looks forward to presenting the final products to the players when the golf season arrives.
The first day of spring was Monday the 20th. Yesterday. After two full weeks of dry and warm weather it decided to start raining yesterday. It rained over an inch in 24 hours. Mother Nature must've know we had aeration on the calendar, yesterday. It's all good, par for the course if you will. We'll look to next Monday to begin spring aeration. But I'm not putting it on my calendar.
After a long winter season of rain, storm clean up and projects, it's time for us to get out there and perform the very important cultural practice of aeration. Over the next few weeks we will poke millions of holes on the golf course and make large applications of seed, sand and organic fertilizers. We do not perform these tasks because its fun but because the results of the next few weeks will set us up for another great year on the golf course. We are fortunate to have the support of the membership in blocking four weeks each spring for weather dependent aeration. This is so important and we thank you for this support.
Please check out the attached video from the USGA on why we aerate:
While we were enjoying temperatures in the 70's during late February, our Golf Professional, John DiMarco, accurately predicted that we were going to get a good storm in March. Yes, conditions are quite different this month than they were last, when we had the warmest February on record. The dramatic change has a lot of people asking how the radical ups and downs in temperature will impact the course going forward.
Currently, we don't have any cause for alarm. As many know, ice is not good for turf. Fortunately, we are in March, not January, so the nasty ice from last week's storm won't be around for long.
Another question is, could there be any benefit to the blast of cold air after a warm period? That is, will this help take out some of the undesirables, such as weevils? Unfortunately, it seems unlikely, as we had only started to see adult weevil movement in the warm weather, and insects tend to have some great survival mechanisms that let them ride out wacky weather patterns.
Likely, the greatest challenge this weather roller coaster will present is in how it impacts the timing of our applications for Poa seedhead, Crabgrass, and yes, Annual Bluegrass Weevil control. Some of the phenological indicators that we typically rely on, such as Forsythia, may not work this year, due to injury they've sustained from the cold. The use of Growing Degree Days will definitely be key in successful timing this year.
As is often the case, we may look back at 2017 and label it another "average" year. However, the peaks and valleys that lead to these years certainly feel as if they are becoming more extreme. Right now, we're just hoping that John DiMarco doesn't forecast a brutally hot and dry summer!
As we continue to repair "bird baths" and level areas throughout the fairways we have hit a bit of a snag on #9 fairway. While our original intent was to simply level several areas of the fairway, it quickly became apparent that a more thorough project was necessary. The leveling would have corrected the surface drainage but it would have done little to correct the saturated soils. Since the area that we are working on is the main exit point of the fairway we have decided to go all in with a large drainage project.
(image)Areas to be leveled.Our goal now is to install TurfDrain and to position several catch basins to collect surface water. In order to do this we have to excavate several hundred feet at a depth of 4 feet. We will then add the appropriate pipe and basins and then fill the entire trench with sand. The sand will then be compacted after which we will install sod.
(image)Removing sod for drain lines.
(image)Digging a trench to 4 feet deep will provide for excellent drainage.While this is a much larger project than originally envisioned, it is a long term solution that will pay off for years to come.
Click this link to listen: http://www.turfnet.com/blog/21/entry-1386-rick-tegtmeier-4-year-36-hole-renovation-at-des-moines-golf-country-club/
I checked in on Belle this morning and she had made landfall on the main land USA. She is a real trooper and this would be her 6th migration back to this area. After my last post someone shared this website with me: Osprey Trax which also has information on Belle and Stadler another in my favorites list on the phone app mentioned in the last post. According to the website there is some confusion as to the sex of Belle but I am sticking with female. Another clear sign spring is on the way.
Belle is in Florida near a course called Westminster Golf Club.
Maybe this year she will finally find a mate and settle down here at Mink Meadows?
Here is a video of a very nice sunset from the roof of the clubhouse last Sunday. Have a great weekend.
Since my last post, winter has come(sort of) and winter has gone(kinda). But the good news is that worked continued on the course to improve the overall playability. We had the woodcutters come back out to remove trees and brush to the left of Holes 14 and 15. We will now be able to identify the out of bounds/property lines in those areas. The view from the 15th tee will now allow one to follow their ball into the trees on the left but will be able to locate it quickly again and continue play.
This week, tree trimming was completed on holes 13 and 17. The large old oaks had the dead wood removed, low branches trimmed up, and a general cleaning of the canopy was performed. There were 2 oaks at the beginning of the 13th fairway but near the road were removed due severe health issues and liability. You will not miss them.
I was reminded of a tree to trim by the golf commission that was forgotten last year. It was located at the beginning of the 18th fairway on the right. The ash tree was trimmed along with 2 oaks near it.
Our first order of business when the staff gets back in a week or so is to clean and pick up a lot of branches. Remeber the rain/windstorm at Christmas? Well, there was a lot of debris that came down. Oh and to add to that, those high winds a few weeks back? Yep, they added to the mess. We should have everything cleaned up by the time we open sometime in April. Until then, stay out of trouble.
After what can only be described as a very mild winter, with some extremely warm January and February days, we received a short blast of cold air that dipped our temperatures down to 26 and 24 degrees this past Wednesday and Thursday mornings. The dilemma that ultradwarf bermudagrass greens growers faced was whether to cover the greens - and probably burning some overtime hours doing so - or not cover. As we approached the first cold evening, our soil temperatures were in the mid-50's, and had been in the lower 60's the week prior. Additionally, we were expecting only three cold days and two cold evenings, followed by projected highs of mid 50's, then mid 60's for two days, then 70's for a few more. There was a lot of email chatter going on among Atlanta superintendents as this weather approached.
Here at East Lake, we may be a few degrees warmer than many of the clubs in the metro Atlanta, as we are an in-town course. We have been growing roots since mid-January, spoon feeding the greens with small amounts of potassium nitrate, micronutrients and Harrells BioMax 4-0-0 to promote continued production of carbohydrates. Because we felt so good about the health of our greens and their ability to quickly recover from the cold temperatures, we decided to not cover. If we had just gone through a long, cold winter, had just started to break dormancy and had soil temperatures in the low 40's as this weather approached, we would have covered. As it turned out, everything looks fine, with only a slight loss of color on our greens. Fortunately the Meyer zoysiagrass fairways, despite getting some frost Thursday morning, also appear to have made it through the cold without losing color. We even were able to accommodate 20 guest rounds on Wednesday (with a high of 43 and wind chills in the low to mid-30's!) that we would not have allowed if we covered, so our decision was a win-win for the club. By looking at the "big picture" of our turf's health, our soil and atmospheric conditions in our location and the projected length of the cold and quick return of warm temperatures the East Lake Agronomy team felt very comfortable with the decision.