November 7, 2014

End Of The Line

We have reached the official end of golf season, but that doesn't mean the end of work season.  Believe it or not, the last month of the golf season is one of our busiest times on the year.  We act a little bit like animals preparing for hibernation out on the course, trying to squeeze in as much final project work and winterization of the course as we can before the ground freezes and the snow starts to fall.  Winter is hard for me, as I am forced to take my hands off the course for a solid 5-6 months, unable to adjust, tweak, or help the turf stay healthy.  Thus, October and early November are vitally important as it is our last chance to prepare the course to sit idle for a long, dark winter.

Our preparation for winter involves protecting the course from four main threats:  extreme cold, wind, snow mold, and snowmobiles.  All four of these pose a serious threat to the health of the golf course if we fail to provide protection from them.

Fairways, greens, and tees all receive a healthy dose of fungicide to prevent snow
mold, which can be a devastating disease if left unchecked.  Whereas in the summer
we may spray every 2-3 weeks to protect the turf, this application must protect for 5 months.

Our protection from cold temperature and wind is a two part approach.  First, a
thick covering of sand acts as a blanket for the greens, protecting them
from the elements.

Second, snowfence helps hold snow on all of our windswept greens.  Snow
is a great insulator and is our best protection from brutally cold temperatures.

We are trying a new snowfence technique on the practice green and a few tees
this fall by laying limbs from trees that we trimmed along the edges to help catch snow.
With about 13 miles of pipe in the ground, 650 individual sprinklers, and a  replacement
value of well over $1 million, irrigation blowout is a fall task not to be taken lightly.

Lastly, snowmobiles pose a serious hazard to the course by tearing up the grass
under a thin snowpack, and packing snow into ice that can easily kill
the turf.  There are about 100 signs across our property notifying snowmobilers
that they are not welcome.
Lastly, with every extra minute we have this time of year, we are trying to finish some projects on the course.  We finished pouring concrete by 2 tee this week, did a lot of final topsoil grading around all of our projects in preparation for sod next spring, and installed about 1,000' of drainage pipe to connect our new bunker drains to an outlet.

Putting the final touches on the last load of concrete cartpath along #2 tee.

The final product with the new bunker and cartpath by #1 green, once sodded
next spring, I think will be a tremendous improvement.

We were able to add drainage lines to eight new bunkers this fall, meaning that
at this point about half of the bunkers on the course now have sub-drainage.
Add in to all of this that we have to finish cleaning up all the leaves on the course, getting all of our equipment thoroughly cleaned and pressure washed in preparation for winter maintenance, staking off and roping all of the greens, and getting all of the accessories picked up off the course and put in storage, and hopefully you understand why late fall is one of our busiest times of the year.

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