Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 12 Update

Last year we were only 4 days away from our first mowing of the season. We lost a lot of snow this past weekend but, looking at the 10 day forecast, we're still a long way from mowing at this point. Temps will be in the 30's for the foreseeable future.

After a short, wet walk out there today I'm happy with what I'm seeing. We seem to have come through winter fairly well, with little snow mold from what I can see. There is always some concern after a thaw/freeze cycle like are experiencing, that we may have ice damage to our fine turf areas when it freezes back up. We have never had an issue in the past, but the potential for turf loss is always there.

One of the few melted greens is the practice green nearest the pond. The turf looks great at this point and I'm anxious to get started on the 2013 season. We'll keep you posted on our progress next week.
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Getting Closer

Looking at the 10 day forecast, I would say we are definitely on the downside of winter. There is still several inches of snow on the ground, no turf is showing, and we'll surely have a nasty snowstorm or two between now and mid April, but the temperatures are rising as they always do this time of year and we'll be mowing and golfing before you know it.

The offseason sees your hard working maintenance staff servicing and repairing the golf cart fleet, about 160 total carts, and our maintenance equipment. Assistant superintendent Bill Peterson and equipment manager Dan Kelsey do an outstanding job year after year to keep our carts and equipment in peak condition, which keeps our maintenance program running at full efficiency. As of today, all carts and green, tee, fairway and rough mowers have been thoroughly serviced and sharpened. Next up are the trim mowers, sprayers and heavy duty utility carts. The next time you see Bill and Dan, please show them your appreciation with a pat on the back and a heartfelt thank you. They deserve it.

We were fortunate again this year to be able to purchase some new equipment. New for 2013 will be a Toro GM 4500 rough mower, an out-front rotary trim mower and maybe enough left over to purchase a couple utility vehicles.

The Toro 4500 will be replacing the Jacobsen R-311 that has been used on the Hill Course. The R-311 has been a great production mower in that it mows a lot of rough, quickly. The downside to that machine has always been its large decks that tend to scalp the turf down to bare soil at the slightest little undulation in the rough. The Toro 4500 has 5 smaller decks rather than the 3 large decks of the R-311 and excels in following contours. We are excited to have it join the other two we have been using for several years already.

The out-front rotary, yet to be purchased, will be replacing the older of our two current mowers, which was originally purchased in the mid 1980's. Again, a testament to the ability of Bill and Dan and their equipment maintenance skills.

The utility carts will be replacing two from our current fleet. For years we have been converting hand-me-downs from our rental fleet to use in our every day maintenance routines. They serve their purpose well, but are not built to handle some of the tasks we ask of them. The new utility carts have a more powerful engine and sturdier suspension to handle some of our tougher tasks.

Of course, we still need to get rid of about 8" of heavy, packed snow before we can even begin to think of using our new equipment. I guess we're not as close as I thought.

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