January 28, 2012

What goes up.....must come down

There is a very fine line between too much and not enough snow cover on turfgrass during the winter.  Not enough snow and the turf becomes exposed and dessicates all winter in the sun and wind.  Too much snow and it takes too long to melt in the spring, sets up into ice, and increases the snow mold pressure.  Just the right amount of snow protects the turf during the winter, but dissappears quick enough in the spring....without too much extra manual labor.

We finally have had enough snow and wind, now that it is nearing the end of January, to remove the snow fence that was put up back in November.  Most of the high backs of the greens that are most exposed to the wind have collected anywhere from about 8"-15" of snow on them.  Most importantly, that snow has experienced a variety of wind relocation and thermal melting from the sun to set it up into a nice, firm composition.  That snow now has no chance of blowing away at this point in the winter.  Andy and I spent a few hours out of the course one nice afternoon this last week and pulled the fences off of those greens to keep any additional snow from accumulating.  The only greens that haven't quite accumulated enough snow yet are 9 and 18 for whatever reason, so those fences will remain up for awhile.

13 green

4 green

12 green

January 10, 2012

Snowmobile Damage

For those or you who may have seen me recently and asked how winter was going on the golf course, you probably noticed the steam coming out of my ears as I mention the insane amount of snowmobile traffic we experienced on the course after our first good snow about 2 weeks ago.  I was warned by more than a couple individuals that there was some snowmobiling that took place out here, unfortunately for whatever reason I must have underestimated the fact that apparently every snowmobiler in Grand Forks thinks that the country club is their private snowmobile course. 

All the greens are now fenced off, and the three main access points the snowmobilers seems to use to get onto the course have been roped off with a nice warning sign.  The Sheriff was notified of the significant trespassing/property damage.  My next option is to start burying rebar stakes in the bunker face "jumps" to see if I can start wrecking the sleds of those trespassers.  Or, as Derrick mentioned recently, I may have to put up a deer stand and start sniping off the violators with a paintball gun or something.  Regardless, I have never in my life seen such blatant disrespect for private property.  Consider this WAR.

One of three new warning signs with a rope fence at the "entrance" points of the course
Bunker ramps, have a feeling we will be repairing some smashed bunker lips in the spring

Someone decided 6 fairway would be a good spot for some donuts, unfortunately
with only 5 inches of snow the track still found the turf

Here is the worst damage, all the snow that was packed down under the track
sets up into ice on the greens.  You can distinctly see loose, unpacked snow on
the left, and ice formed under a snowmobile track on the right.  Ice layers do not
allow the turf to breathe during the winter and will literally suffocate the grass
underneath of it.  Poa is especially susceptible.  There may literally be streaks
of dead grass on the greens in the spring where the Poa will die under the ice
from the snowmobile tracks if it doesn't melt off this winter.  The other option is
that Andy and I will have to go out in another month or so if it doesn't melt off
and physically remove all of the ice with shovels.

I have to halfway blame myself for some of this because I can't say that I wasn't warned, I just totally underestimated how much snowmobile traffic really came out to the course.  Regardless, protective measures have been taken, whether or not they will make a difference has yet to be determined. 

At least we finally got some snow cover on the turf, but I guess with one blessing always comes another challenge...