July 27, 2015

Turf Nursery 3.0

Tucked away in the far northwest corner of the property beside 13 tee is one of the most important areas on the golf course.  Over the last three years, we have been constantly expanding our turf nursery in that area where we grow all the extra grass used to repair damaged areas on the course.

We first created a very small nursery there in 2013, built it a little bit larger in 2014, and now in 2015 we have finished version 3.0 that features a whopping 6,000 sq ft of bentgrass (compared to about 3,500 sq ft last year.)

We prepped the area by stripping all of the bluegrass rough sod to use out on the course, we then added two more irrigation heads in the area where we wanted to expand to, hauled in about 30 tons of sand, and then started shaping.

The area is graded so that it is high in the middle, thus making it shed surface water off in all directions without puddling.  We applied a variety of starter fertilizers to the entire area to encourage seedling growth and development, and then seeded a mixture of T1 and Alpha bentgrass.  Our goal is to push the turf on the nursery to establish as dense as possible by the end of the year, with the idea that it can be harvested as sod first thing next spring.

Shooting grades on the sand in order to ensure that there would not be
puddling water in the area.

Collin dropping seed.  We are trying a blend of two different, but similar
bentgrasses, T1 and Alpha this year.

After about 5 days of very light, frequent watering, the seed begins to
germinate.  This picture was taken on day 10.

Today marked 19 days after seeding, and the area received its first
mowing.  Overall the seedlings are off to a great start.

After a winter like last year, and the spring that followed it, expanding our nursery is the greatest insurance policy we can have against mother nature.  The Poa annua in our greens and collars will continue to die more winters than not, and it has always been my goal to get as much bentgrass into those areas as possible in order to be able to provide more consistent turf conditions during all the months of the golf season.

July 17, 2015

Rolling Through Summer

It's hard to believe it's already the middle of July.  As usual, summer is flying by.  It always seems that it creeps up on me as we spend so much time and energy getting the course put back in shape after our long winter, its hard to believe that the days are already getting shorter.

We spend so much time in the spring doing all the "extra" things with all the sod work we did this year in the greens and collars, seeding in the fairways, finishing the clubhouse landscaping, fixing and getting the irrigation system dialed in, repairing and edging bunkers, and training staff on all of our equipment.  After we have finally completed all of those "extra" items, we can now focus on simply maintaining the turf on the golf course and ensuring the course is set up to be its best every day.

At this point in the summer, it finally feels like we are finding our rhythm out on the course.  The staff is doing a great job getting the course set up every day and getting all of the little extra things accomplished that most golfers probably never realize go into keeping the course looking great.  The course is finally looking and playing great, as long as the weather continues to cooperate, we are essentially on cruise control for the rest of the season.

Here's a couple of pictures from the crew out getting the course prepped during the last few weeks.

Mowing greens has been great this year with our new John Deere
220E walking mowers.

We also have a new wide area rough mower this year, meaning most
mornings we send out three rough units.

Collin has been crazy busy on the sprayer so far.  We dialed in our fairway spray
program this year to go out every two weeks on fairways, and thus far the results
have been great.

A new process we have been doing this year is dragging the dew off of
fairways in the mornings to help them dry quicker, which has led to
significantly less disease development.

One of other changes this year has been utilizing solid front rollers on our greens
mowers, which helps promote bentgrass growth.  Every other week we are
brooming greens before mowing in order to help cut off some old leaf tissue.

We have a few extra guys trained on changing cups this year, meaning usually
6-7 days a week we are moving cups.

The fairway mowers have their morning routine dialed in and have
the fairways looking better than ever.

As always, bunker maintenance takes up a significant amount of our time
on the course.  We try to keep them regularly edged, smoothed, raked, and
sand pushed up on the faces after all of the rainstorms.