Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Upcoming Schedule

With the NJCAA Division III National Championship starting next week on the Lake Course, our normal maintenance schedule gets a little out of whack on both courses as we prepare for the tournament. 

Most notably will be our cup changing schedule and locations on the Lake Course.  Our normal rotation is Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, but with the cups being changed every day during the tournament I like to eliminate a day or two from our rotation.  This week's cup changing days will be Thursday and Sunday, having already skipped Tuesday this week.  The schedule after the tournament will also change to let the recent cups heal from the week.

You will also notice some pin placements in some unusual locations, some good and some not so good.  This is done because our greens are too small to support cups being changed 10 times in 13 days and it keeps healing old cups out of the way of the kids trying to win their national championship.  I realize this is an inconvenience to our membership and our guests and appreciate your understanding and patience if you feel you have played on the same pin locations too many days.

Mowing and rolling also ramp up over the next week to keep everything tight for the tournament.  This really doesn't affect normal play except for the fact that we will occasionally steal a mower from the Hill Course route to assist on the Lake Course. Early morning golfers will certainly catch up to and pass our mowers at this point and will have to play on dewy grass for a little while.

Again, thank you for your patience and understanding over the next few weeks.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Post Aerification Greens Recovery

If you've been out playing recently I'm sure you've noticed the difference between the Lake Course and the Hill Course greens.  The Lake Course greens are taking much longer to recover than those on the Hill Course.  The difference?  Grass species.  The Hill course, being the much newer of the two, has a much higher population of bentgrass as opposed to the Lake Course greens which have a very high population of poa annua.  Bentgrass is a stoloniferous grass that spreads laterally quite well while poa annua is a bunch type and spreads quicker through their prolific seeding than spreading. 

Another factor that comes into play here is the size of the aerification tines used this spring. In an effort to improve the growing medium of our greens as quickly as possible, I used larger coring tines.  This hasn't been much of a problem on the bentgrass greens, but is certainly a factor on the poa annua greens.  To avoid this problem going forward, I will be changing back to smaller tines this fall, but using a multi-tine setup to increase the overall number of holes and still be able to make progress in converting our root zone material.  I have used this setup in the past and the greens heal rapidly with the 7/16" tines, regardless of the turf type.  The reason I went away from the smaller multi-tine setup was our difficulty getting the sand down in the holes.  I don't believe this will be a problem with our new topdressing brush and look forward to quicker recovery times.

Today we have put another shot of fertilizer on the Lake Course greens and with tomorrow's verticutting and topdressing they will be back to normal in no time.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May Update

After an exceptionally sluggish first half of April, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Greens aerification on both courses was completed in the last two weeks of April and could not have gone much better than it did.

The Lake Course was verticut, cored, sanded and broomed as scheduled on April 22-23, followed by a much needed deep tine aerification on the 24th. The Hill course was completed in a similar fashion the next week. This may have been the smoothest core aerification we have had, ever. Several factors have contributed to our successful aerification this spring. Great weather, a seasoned staff and a new piece of equipment. The weather was just warm and breezy enough to quickly dry the plugged cores so the greens could be picked sooner, yet just cool enough that rapid dessication was not a problem.

The core of our hard working staff has been with us for a few years now and have been cross trained to be able to operate nearly any piece of equipment we own. Some are more capable than others, but they all do a nice job. This cross training has allowed me to put a second operator on an aerifier and get one entire course cored in about 4 hours. In the past, using one machine, we could only efficiently get 12-14 greens done in a day and still keep up with cleanup.

The third part of our improved operation involved the purchase of a new

brush setup. This one new brush fills the holes better and quicker than our other three brushes being used at the same time. This means quicker recovery and better profile management than we could accomplish in the past.

With everything going so smoothly the first two days of the week and the little amount of play in late April, we decided to take advantage of this time to get in an extra deep tine aerification with some tines called bayonets. The look of a bayonet is self explanatory and their advantage is the relatively small surface disturbance compared to what happens below the surface. I used the shorter bayonets last season for mid season venting with good success and I'm just as happy with the deep tine version. I believe they will allow us to get in another deep tining in with minimal disturbance to play. A real advantage in our battle to maintain healthy turf.

I know I mentioned them earlier, but I just can't thank my staff enough for their hard work. If you see them on the course please take time to show your appreciation.

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