Tuesday, September 22, 2020

2020 Fall Equinox

Today, Tuesday September 22, 2020 is the Fall Equinox, the day we circle in our GCM calendar every year as a sort of finish line. It's also a starting line as it is the  official start of fall where day and night are of equal length and the time of the year cool season turf flourishes and recovers from past  summer. 

We have always found this day and time of the year refreshing because summers can be hard on this property. However we now are a bit conflicted with the advent of warm season turf on #17 fairway and our  green surrounds as this turf enjoys the warmer weather and starts to slow down. At some point we will finish what we started,  and when we do the Fall Equinox wont be as special, but for now we'll continue to rejoice that fall is here so we can watch the transformation once again from summer setbacks to fall splendor. 

Below are some wrap up pictures of the 2020 fall aeration & over seeding process that we started just two week's ago. Cart restrictions are necessary to protect the 10 tons of seed we inject into this golf course every fall which requires time and moisture to germinate and get established. Thank you for your patience.

#17 Green two weeks out from core aeration. Holes are covered. Bentgrass seed is coming up all over the surface. Healthy and lush. Putting quality will start to improve as we lower the height of cut (HOC), apply some more light topdressings and apply some growth regulator which we plan to start today 9/22/20. 

Close up of the putting surface's exhibit a very healthy & dense condition only two weeks out from aeration. 

Tees were over seeded only 8 days ago which is why thy appear shaggy. The shagginess is all of the new seed coming up. They will get mowed at a higher HOC then normal tomorrow 9/23/20  which will help the new,  juvenile seedlings establish through next week then the HOC will be lowered back to normal.

The Driving Range Tee was over seeded just yesterday 9/21/20. This seed will need some time to germinate and get established then mowed down just like the regulation tees. We will open the tee for Friendship Cup on 10/7-8/20, only two weeks after over seeding. We might have to close it again after the Friendship for further establishment. 

After greens aeration and tee over seeding this season we started with core aerifying and seeding
the roughs which we completed last week. You can see seed coming up everywhere. Currently we are seeding the  fairways with the Triwave  Slit Seeder in two different directions. This will thicken the fairways up quickly.

Above shows the seeding pattern the Triwave Slit Seeder makes in our fairways. Those slits are full of ryegrass seed that will germinate and fill in quickly.

On top of the seed we typically apply a nice balanced fertilizer at this time of the year. The combination of aeration, seed, fertilizer & fall weather can produce one of those be careful what you wish for moments when we have more grass then we know what to do with.  

Thursday, September 10, 2020

2020 Fall Aeration Update

Granite Bay GCM started our fall aeration procedures directly after the Labor Day Holiday as planned. We completed 1-18 regulation putting surfaces as well as the upper putting green and will have rough completed through  hole #11 by the end of the day on Thursday 9/10/20.

Sunrise aided by smoke over the GBGC GCM yard 9/9/20

We aerated greens first so they can recover ASAP which is a solid tradition. We opted to start the rough next by core aerating followed by seeding and topdressing with compost which will keep the seedbed moist which is necessary for  seed germination. We will complete this process in the rough next week on holes 13-18. We opted to do the rough before any work on fairways because the rough took more summer losses then the fairways this year and needed more help.

Freshly aerated and topdressed putting surface

This coming Monday 9/14/20 we will verticle mow, seed and lightly topdress the greens, 6 days after we core aerated them. We will mow them for the first time after aeration on Tuesday or Wednesday 8 or 9 days out from aeration. Good recovery weather is forecasted  so we should see aeration holes covered in 10 to 14 days  and back to putting quality 21 to 28 days  out from aeration. Along with the finishing touches on the greens this coming Monday we plan to over seed the tees. More to come on that process. After the tees on Monday we plan to finish the rough on the back 9 on Tuesday 9/15/20 and therefore will have the back nine closed until 1:00 PM.

We will still be seeding and topdressing throughout the rest of next week but shouldn't require any more closures. We will all have to play golf and work around each other for the next week and you will have to keep the carts on the path so we dont jeopardize seed germination, but by the later part of the month the course will be on the road to recovery once again from ravages of yet another Sacramento summer.

Core aerifying rough

Dragging & braking up cores

Seeding Rough

Spreading compost over seed in bare areas

Sweeping up aeration core remnants

Monday, August 31, 2020

Granite Bay Fall 2020 Aeration

The fall equinox is only 22 days away and Labor Day is only a week away. This marks the traditional time of the year for Granite Bay's course aeration and the time of the year that our cool season turf will start to recover from the Summer. 

#12 Green Surround aerated and topdressed last week.

Last week aerated the Santa Anna hybrid bermuda surrounds and are doing the same to the #17 fairway this morning Monday 8/31/20 before a 10:00 event. The rush on aerating these areas prior to the greens and other cool season turf  is to capture as much warm weather that is left in the year for recovery of the warm season Santa Anna. This highlights some of the difficult maintenance strategies we are currently balancing with our mix of turf which hopefully will not be long term. 

#17 Fairway Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda aeration in process

The past two aeration cycles we have minimized and eliminated some aeration cultural practices in anticipation of a major turf renovation project. And even through we made it through the summer of 2020 in better condition then  past summers, the course needs an aeration. Sooner or later we will finish what we started as far as renovation is concerned but until then we have to take care of what we have and aeration unfortunately is a part of overall turf care and conditioning. Therefore we will get started with 2020 fall aeration directly after Labor Day. The below schedule is what we will be doing this fall. 

2020 Granite Bay Golf Club Fall Aeration Schedule

Mon 9/7/20 - Labor Day. Club Open
Tue 9/8/20 - Course Closed. GCM Aerating Putting Surfaces
Wed 9/9/20 - Course Closed. GCM Aerating, Seeding & Topdressing FW's & Rough
Thu 9/10/20 - Course Closed. GCM Aerating, Seeding & Topdressing FW's & Rough
Fri 9/11/20 - Sunday 9/13/20 - Course Open - Cart Path Only
Mon 9/14/20 - Course Closed GCM Aerating, Seeding & Topdressing Tees
Tue 9/15/20 - Sunday 9/20/20  Course Open - Cart Path Only
Mon 9/21/20 -  Course Closed GCM Aeration Loose Ends.
Tue 9/22/20 - Course Open Carts Status TBD

Friday, August 7, 2020

2020 Summer Course Update

2020 has been quite year so far and I'm  not sure many of us anticipated how much our lives would change. In some ways our work lives in Granite Bay GCM hasn't changed drastically as the golf course never completely closed due to COVID and actually before all this pandemic stuff we thought we would be closed to finish the turf conversion we started in 2019.  Then "The Project" was cancelled followed shortly after with COVID shutdown's and all of our worlds changed.

#2 fairway divot problem
#2 FW low shady area. Stays wet, collects golf balls and without
Member divot filling help is pretty tore up in early August.

In many ways the cancelling of the project was fortuitous for the GBGC membership as you now had somewhere to go and exercise and socialize in a socially distant fashion, so the golf course has never been busier. To give you an idea of how busy, through July 2020 we have run 26,000 golf rounds through the course. All  of which were Member rounds. In the entire year of 2019 we ran 29,000 rounds including both Member  and Tournament rounds. Most of these rounds were done without the help of Members filling divots because we were required to remove all of the divot bottles from the golf course and single cart riders because we cannot send out carts with dual occupancy. 

#1 Granite Tee. It got wore out early in the 2020 season and needed
to be re-sodded. 

All this activity didn't leave as much of a mark on the course early in the spring months as the course's cool season turf is thriving at that time of the year. But as we progressed into the summer months where the course has historically struggled, the traffic is starting to take its toll. GCM has more then doubled its man-hours on filling divots but it is hard to keep up. Additionally we are trying to culture new hybrid bermuda surrounds and #17 FW to help create the playing surfaces we all want at the same time taking care of a cool season course in another Granite Bay summer while receiving historic traffic. Something had to give and the course is certainly summer worn in areas in early August. Weather hasn't been to bad even after recording 15 days over 100 degrees and another 15 days in the 98+ degree range. Nighttime temperatures have been cool and the two distinct heat spells have been proceeded by nice cool downs.

Newly installed tee-line at the rear of the driving range was
a traffic related add in the social distancing world we now live in.

View from the back of the range on the new tee-line

None of us know when we will get back to normal. We do know that the fall equinox is 46 days away and post labor day aeration is only a month away. Let the recovery begin!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Driving Range Is Open In This New COVID World

After over 2 months of closure due to COVID-19 concerns and some much needed time off and renovation, the GBGC driving range opened this week on Tuesday 6/2/20. Due to the continued COVID protocols of social distancing that will likely be around for awhile,  we can only open the tee to 50% capacity. Mr. Peabody is working hard on securing funding for some tee expansion at the upper end of the driving range to mitigate some of the demand issues. If he is successful we will be adding 10 or so new bays up there. More to come on that.

Finished Driving Range product. There are now seven total target greens including 3 additional short game targets, and no sand traps to maintain around. 

COVID protocols remain in place on the golf course which eliminate commonly touched items such as sand trap rakes, divot bottles, ball washers ect. Elevated platforms in the bottom of the putting green hole remain for the foreseeable future. We will be installing some practice green target's in the upcoming weeks but no holes will be cut in the practice greens until COVID precautions are relaxed.

Upper practice green with no holes. We have come "cup-less" target poles arriving soon. 

Sand traps rake are still not available for golfers.

We recently upgraded the platform that is required in this new COVID world
from the foam we started with originally. I think all will agree this is a better
option then the bouncy, faded foam.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Driving Range Facelift

In the spirit of not letting a good crisis go to waste while the driving range is closed due to COVID-19 concerns, we are working some driving range improvements. Our initial plan was to aerify and throw some sand and seed at it and be done. But  upon further analysis we wanted to take the proper amount of time and effort to make modifications we feel will be more aesthetically pleasing as well as creating a more functional situation. Below are pictures of progress thus far. 

Here is a nice spring time picture of our range. Not to bad from afar. What you don't know is this range is extremely rough  out there and has allot of operational issues that hinder turf maintenance and retrieval of golf balls. One of the larger issues is we don't shut it down frequently enough for a maintenance  as this COVID situation is forcing us to do  now. Why don't we shut it down more often? Members love hitting balls and taking lessons. The secondary issue is we have too many obstacles to work around when picking balls and doing any kind of maintenance. The third issue is drainage which hampers maintenance and the retrieval of balls as well. The fourth issue is cool season turf for the most part growing in poor soil.

When we first went out on the range to game plan precisely what would make sense to do with a potentially long closure,  the first thing that we agreed to do was to remove the bunkers. I know they add a nice aesthetic to the range but the trade off is extremely worn out turf around them as they have to be avoided with the ball picker and any other maintenance equipment. This causes extreme traffic patterns is areas making it impossible to grow turf. I know you don't see these worn out  areas from the picture above but they are there and they are severe. These areas rapidly turn into mud then balls become smashed into them as tractor tire continue to roll over them creating a  real unsustainable situation.

We got started filling in the bunkers last week to get them ready for sodding on Monday 4/27/20. We plan on substantially increasing the size of the target greens near to previous bunkers by sodding down the slope where to bunkers used to be creating a false front to each target green that will be very visible form the tee. Additionally we plan to add another 2 targets giving us 6 total.

Above Enrique and the GCM crew stripping out the completely worn out center section of the range to prepare it for new sod. We will add a 135 yard (from the mats) target green in this area as well. 

Removing the bunkers are not the only thing we are working on. All of the sprinkler heads needed to be raised and checked and a large % replaced. Additionally depicted above is a drainage inlet (DI)  that has been dug out and will have a perforated riser installed to raise the DI grate. The displaced soil will be replaced with gravel to quickly drain the water that accumulated in areas like this by design and improve overall drainage and softness associated with these areas. 

I'll do an update again after we install the sod.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Storms & Pestilence

Storms have always been a way of life on the golf course and are seasonably predictable with foreseeable results and responses. Pestilence (COVID 19) on the other hand is not common in our golf course maintenance world and certainly the end results are uncertain. 

The Granite Bay Golf Course Maintenance Department is happy to be working and preparing the course so members can enjoy a  break from the isolation we are all taking part in. Specific precautions for our staff is keeping our distance with single cart & vehicle operation and meeting in the maintenance yard in the AM rather then our cramped lunchroom to detail daily tasks. Lunches are taken out in the yard and  inherent in our work practices is a natural social distancing. 

Below are some pictures of the recent weekend storm that brought 3" of rain as well as a big mess and the unfortunate change to the sixth hole at Granite Bay.

We haven't many big storms this rainy season and one of the biggest issues for golf course
maintenance when we do have big storms is bunker recovery. Heavy rains wash the sand off
the faces of bunkers and  fill them with rainfall, some of which needs to be
mechanically pumped out.

And the recovery process is lengthy. This go around will take us 3 days to recover all of the bunkers.

The big loss from this storm was the toppling of the large Blue Oak that protected the right hand side of  the green on #6

First things first. We need to remove the down tree. Next we can contemplate  future options for protecting
the right hand side of the green.