Tuesday, October 29, 2019

It's That Time of Year!

      2019 has provided some of the best fall golf we've had in years.  In contrast to the beginning of the season, it has been a relatively warm and rain-free couple of months.  September was the firmest we had been all season and October has provided some spectacular colors at the course and the hills around Chautauqua Lake.  I LOVE FALL GOLF!!!!

     But,as is always the case, Mother Nature will soon catch up to us with a reminder that we live in Chautauqua County.  We have been busy preparing the course for winter for a couple weeks now.  Final mowings have been done, irrigation system winterized, leaves are being cleaned up, course accessories are being brought in, and our winter fungicides are being applied.  Always a bittersweet time of year for us on the grounds staff as we love our jobs but also look forward to some well-earned time off to hunt, fish and spend time with our families.

    We do have hopes of tackling some projects this fall/winter if the weather cooperates.  New red and gold tees on #7 and #9 Lake need to be constructed and, of course, tree removal is always on the list of to-do's.  With some luck, we'll be able to get some of this done before to much snow flies.

Enjoy what is left of this fabulous fall weather and get out to play as much as you can!

Monday, May 27, 2019

The soggy start to 2019 has disrupted more than a few days of golf for everyone.  It has also disrupted the ability of the maintenance staff to get on a regular program and get started on projects.  Bunker maintenance, cart path maintenance, repairing bare spots, etc have all been delayed due to the weather.

With a little luck, the drier weather pattern is here to stay and we can begin chipping away at these important tasks, with focus on the Lake Course to get ahead of the NJCAA Championship next week.  Hill Course will be tackled the following week.

One of the few small projects we have been able to tackle was the expansion of several aprons on the Lake Course, with green expansion in mind later on.  These are all part of the master plan developed last season.  Expansions of major significance are on 2, 4, 10, 12 and 17 where we will "regain" several pin positions down the road.  I say "regain" because, looking at existing contours, it is quite likely that these areas started out as part of the greens when the course was constructed 100 years ago.  In the picture below, you can see how far out the apron has been expanded on #10.

The expansion on #12 Lake will remain mostly apron on the upper side and rear of the green to provide golfers with the option of letting a strategically placed shot trickle down to the tricky green rather than hang up in the thick rough.  The picture below shows this expansion.

Friday, May 10, 2019

A Problem for Every Solution

It is said that a negative person has a problem for every solution.  A very true and accurate statement.  Sometimes a well meaning individual can become negative and present a problem for a solution.  And, sometimes, the well meaning negative individual isn't even a person at all.

The evidence to back up this statement is happening right now at the site of our drainage project on #1 of the Lake Course.  Assistant superintendent, Bill Peterson, began exploring the area and found that an existing drain tile had been completely plugged by well intended trees, causing the water to back up the drain line and create a fine mess that has grown to include part of the fairway.  The row of evergreen trees has become a problem for the solution to the wet area that was remedied decades ago. 

Bill is nearing completion of the project, but the well-intending, but negative, trees will have to be removed, bringing the more positive thought of there is a solution to every problem back into the picture.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Early May Update

With the warmer, and relatively drier, weather last week, the course started to dry out and firm up allowing us to mow much more of than in previous weeks and we are beginning to look like a golf course again.   Some wetter areas of the course are being mowed for only the first time this season and some have yet to be touched.  After yesterday's storm, I doubt they will be mowed this week.

It feels like we are behind from a maintenance standpoint, and this is likely due to the mild, although wet, start to the year.  But the reality is that we are right on schedule, and maybe even a little ahead.  All greens have been aerified, the Lake Course two weeks ago and the Hill Course last week. With the warmer spring, the soil temps are almost 20*F warmer than last season resulting in quick healing of the greens.  The Lake Course greens are almost fully healed and the Hill will be roughly one week behind them.

As we head into the first of May, all sets of tee markers are being set out, bunker rakes are placed at each bunker and maintenance begins to be a little more routine as the weather gets better and our staff size increases.  Golf season is here!

The next week, weather depending, will see fertilizer applications, weeds treated, and leveling of #4 and #17 Lake tees, which will begin as soon as we dry out a little bit.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

To Cart, Or Not To Cart

THAT is the question!

And, for the near future, the answer is a resounding, no.  The rain from the last 48 hours has pushed us back over the saturation point making navigation difficult throughout the course.   Next week looks great for golfing, but the forecast for the next 2 days is not encouraging.  Flood warnings and impending snow fall (6"-11" possible) will make carts out of the question for the weekend and maybe the first part of next week if the snow does not melt quickly.

Making the decision on carts is one of the least favorite parts of my job.  I have to balance between making the customer happy and protecting the course from the inevitable damage, and there is a lot of grey area in deciding.   How wet is it?  What is the forecast?  How much play are we expecting? Will we likely lose a day of strong revenue?  Will it be superficial surface mud brought up, or will there be ruts and large scale damage near greens and tees?  Will my staff have time to repair damage or tow out a stuck cart?  These, and more, are all questions to be asked, and I have to calculate all these answers into one simple "yes" or "no". Golf is a service industry and we want to keep our customers happy, but allowing carts on a soggy 50* day in early April could have a negative effect on your more enjoyable 70* round in May.  

So, the next time you get an answer you're not happy with, please understand that the simple "yes" or "no" is really not that simple.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

And the Crystal Ball Says............

As we head into late March, the Crystal Ball is a little cloudy as to when we will be able to open for the season.  Last year, although temporary, spring came early and allowed us to mow greens on March 17th.
With the heavy snowfall last week, 2017 won't be a repeat.  Today we still have good snow cover, but the long range forecast looks a little more promising with temperatures in the low 50's most days and some rain to speed up snow melt and thaw what little frost we have in the ground.  If all goes well and the forecast holds, we will likely be mowing by the end of the first week of April.  BUT, we are dealing with the very unpredictable WNY weather which keeps the Crystal Ball obsolete.

Regardless of when we are able to open, we are excited to get the season rolling and look forward to seeing everyone when weather permits.

If you haven't renewed your membership for the 2017 season, please contact Troy in the proshop.  He'll be more than happy to assist you in any way possible.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Watch That First Step

With the floor sinking a little bit every year, causing cracks, a severe slope, and unsafe footing, we have decided to remove the concrete floor in the Ladies' restroom at #5 on the Lake Course to find a solution and make it safe and comfortable.  A crew from the CI Buildings and Grounds department was in yesterday with an air hammer making a lot of noise and dust.  Today we will inspect the sub floor to see if we can determine why it keep sinking on this side but not on the Men's side.  We will then remedy the problem, add a new sub base and pour a new concrete floor.  The floor will not be painted this summer as the concrete cures over that time, but we will add mats for safety.

In the meantime, please use the Men's room on the other side and watch your step around the building.