Friday, September 18, 2009

Bunker Progress

We completed both bunkers on #11 this week right on schedule. Next are the green side bunkers on #10.

Our goal was to get into them next week and work around the WGAC the following but we have thought better of bringing that kind of scorn down on our heads. Unfortunately because the construction crew will be busy after aerification prepping and shaping the #18 tee cart path extension we wont be able to resume until week of 11/2.

Lets hope for a dry November and December where we can really start making progress on this much needed improvement.

On the subject of bunkers we plan to do a pictorial update focusing just on bunker renovation for new members and those who were not following our updates last year when we started the process. Look for that soon.

Right hand greenside bunker #11 getting filled

#11 greenside bunkers complete

2009 Aerification

We have some real challenges for aerification of the course and overseeding bermuda tees this year due to some late scheduled tournaments. As I mentioned above the best time to do any type of overseeding is right now at the beginning of fall while there is still some warm weather facilitating rapid seed germination. Last year we overseeded our bermuda tees and approaches on #14 & #16 a couple weeks prior to Jones Cup. That move was not well received although we had great ryegrass coverage before the winter months. Our additional challenge this year is we have the WGAC match play event the last week in September followed by the Jones Cup the first full week in October followed by putting surface aerification the 2nd week in October.
Currently our plan is to try to get the tournament, club and our spare tee levels overseeded next week. Additionally we plan to spot aerify the worn
out traffic area in the front portion of #10 leading to the #11 tee. This area gets wore out from cart traffic and has to compete with roots and shade from adjacent oak trees. This is not a great combination for good turf. Same scenario less the tree roots and shade occurs around the trap in the center of the fairway on #6. We plan to do some traffic control measures in these areas as well to give the areas a chance for recovery. We will judge the success of the procedures and decide whether proactive alternation of traffic control measures in areas like this is warranted moving forward.

Complete Aerification & Overseeding Schedule

  •  Week of 9/21 Overseed Club Tees

  • Week of 9/28 WGAC

  •  Week of 10/5 Overseed ladies Tees

  • Jones Cup Prep

  •  Week of 10/12 Putting Surface Aerification

  • Overseed Granite Tees

  •  Week of 10/19 Overseed Driving range Tee

  • Aerify & De-Thatch FW’s & Rough

Summer Recovery

The good news is that right now we are in the best time of the year to grow cool season turf. Nighttime temperatures are low, daytime temperature’s are somewhat mild and the hours of day and night will be equal next Tuesday on the 22nd. We fertilized the entire golf course this past Monday directly following a NICE little September thunderstorm. We are in the process of applying seed throughout the course using various methods and strategies. We are seeing germination of seed within a week and are looking forward to a quick transformation.
We are battling some weed infestation as I mentioned above and are digging out some and spraying others. Some of the areas that we sprayed clover with a selective herbicide we got a little zealous and had some undesirable turf setback on holes #1 & #4. Admittedly not great timing for that miscue however the areas have been seeded and we anticipate coverage by next week.
Natural law dictates that for every action there is a reaction and the combination of fertilizer and a thunderstorm along with laying off of growth regulators for the past 30 days have cause our fairways to explode. Combine this with a heavy dew point and even daily AM mowing leaves a lot of clippings. This is the reason you will possibly see us mowing fairways in the afternoons when it is dry so we don’t leave such a mess.
Bottom line is we will see thin areas replaced by turf in a very short period of time.

#2 approach recovering nicely

Summer Blues

In the over 28 years I have been taking care of golf courses I have always looked forward to the end of summer. Even though this has been a relatively mild summer by most standards, it has still been summer and not without the issues that come with it. We have had our share of cool season turf losses, we have fought the up and downs of too wet and too dry and the subsequent results of each. We have battled or more appropriately stated, are currently battling opportunistic weeds in some areas. On top of all of this we are really fighting a severe grub infestation which shows up on the course now as the skunks, raccoons and crows continue tearing up turf while going after the grubs as a food source. At Granite Bay all of these stresses, with varying degrees, will always converge at the end of summer. Refined maintenance programs will hopefully mitigate future issues but summer will always be our Achilles’ Heal at Granite Bay as long as we
are taking care of cool season turf.
Turf in #10 traffic zone closeup
Golf Courses that have warm season turf or bermuda grass in our area typically thrive in the summer but as the bermuda starts into dormancy they deal with their own set of issues. The seasonal ups and downs of golf course conditions have always been and will always be a part of the game. We all want consistent perfection and the Granite Bay maintenance department will always have that as our goal. Hopefully we wont be setting ourselves up for some level of disappointment next summer.

#10 fairway to #11 tee traffic zone

Friday, September 4, 2009

Back in the Bunkers

As scheduled we resumed bunker renovation this week. We started on the left-hand green side bunker on #11. At a recent golf committee meeting we prioritized the order we will renovate the remaining green side bunkers the remainder of the year. That prioritization is: #11, #10, #13, #15, #4, #8, #17, #12, and #9.

Begining construction left hand green side bunker #11

New Sod

This has been a pretty good summer by all accounts but it still is summer with long days accompanied by heat. The collars on the par three #3 & 7 have been struggling all summer along with the entrances to both practice greens.

We have re-sodded the entrance to the practice green at Tilley’s a few times the last two years as well as the rear of #7 green. We decided to go a different rout rather then trying some of our home grown sod and bring in some ryegrass / bluegrass sod from a sod farm. We re-sodded the entire collars on #3 & #7 along with the traffic half of #13

Re-sodded club tee #7

Grubs & Other Critters

I think I mentioned last update that we were having issues with white grub infestation throughout the course. Some areas we have observed actual turf damage where the population of grubs ( 20 per ft.sq.) is substantial enough that they chew off most surface roots and the turf dies. Examples of this type of infestation in the very beginning of #15 fairway and the approach to #2 green. We have scouted the course and made spot applications of insecticide to eradicate the nuisance pests however control of the grub at the adult larval stage is difficult. Preventive applications in the spring are much more effective

The pictures above show the damage and the actual grubs working beneath the turf in the approach to #2 green in populations enough to actually cause turf damage. After the area was treated the activity slowed way down and the area actually started to recover.
I don’t really know why but accentuated grub activity is widespread in the Sacramento area this year. I know they are a lot more active here at Granite Bay this year as compared to last.
As if the actual root chewing and turf loss was not bad enough we have just this week been experiencing increased skunk and raccoon activity as they feed on the mature grubs. It would be nice if they were able to extract the grubs without tearing up the turf but unfortunately that is the case. We will set traps and try to relocate as many mammals as we can but I think we might be in for a headache with these critters this year.

Skunk damage - feeding on white grubs

Dog Days of Summer

The results of our battle between too wet and too dry are never more evident then right now at the end of summer. A few weeks ago the gold course got very wet and we justifiably reacted by turning the automatic sprinklers down and off in some cases which resulted in the stressing and thinning of some turf areas throughout the course. Not an altogether unusual set of circumstances for this time of year, yet disconcerting non the less. One of the driving contributing issues we have brought up in the past is the different turf types that populate our fairways.

We have a mixture of bentgrass and ryegrass fairways, both cool season turf species yet with very different irrigation requirements. The bentgrass portions of our fairways are typically the areas that get soft and the ryegrass portions of our fairways are the areas that typically struggle and thin out when it gets hot and an irrigation strategy to accommodate both can be difficult.

Cart traffic damage on stressed cool season turf
Stressed out ryegrass adjacent to happy bentgrass
This week we started interseeding bentgrass into the ryegrass areas of our fairways while the ryegrass is weak and young bent seedlings can compete. This interseeding strategy is very much like our interseeding strategy on the greens in that it will take time but I believe will yield consistent benefits in the both short and long term.