Friday, December 10, 2010

Early Winter Progress

We are all aware the weather plays a big part in golf course conditions along with the progress we make in golf course maintenance. Winter months are not nearly as stressful for the golf course as summer but cold and rain definitely effect playing conditions and hinder progress on  planned projects. So far this season we have received twice as much rainfall as we have the previous two seasons. More rainfall equates to more cloudy days and no sun to dry things  out which has the course in the wettest winter condition it has been in in many years. This week is the first full week in over three years that we have not been able to mow the course  and allow carts off the path because of conditions that are too wet. Extended forecasts call for a wetter then normal winter so if these prognostications hold up we could be in store for more of this.

          Granite Bay Golf Club - Rainfall Comparisons in Inches

                                                   2008          2009          2010
                       September           0.00            0.13           0.00
                           October           0.53            2.53           3.17
                        November          2.16            0.70           3.60
                December 10th          0.00            1.00           1.60
                             Total             2.69            4.36           8.38

The aggressive aeration that the putting surfaces received in October has really paid off during this wet early winter as well. The surfaces are firmer and drain much faster then in previous years after winter storms. However rolling the surfaces when they are wet creates excessive compaction which might work well for green speed but not for overall green health. So we have not been able to roll the surfaces since the onset of the storms. Look for green speeds in the nine foot to ten foot range when we are not rolling and in the ten foot plus range when we can sensibly get the roller on them, hopefully soon.

Despite the wet weather we have been making some decent progress on our 2010 - 2011 winter project goals since we finished core aeration of all of the turf grass surfaces in early November. As a reminder the three primary areas we plan to focus on this fall and the upcoming winter are:
          1. Fairway Sand Trap Renovation
          2. Tree and Brush Trimming and Clearing
          3. Irrigation Triangulation
Granite Bay has 21 total fairway bunkers and 5 practice bunkers between the range and the practice chipping area. Our plan for fairway bunker renovation is not as aggressive as last winter with green side bunkers primarily because we desire to make progress in the other areas mentioned above. We have currently completed 3 fairway bunkers of the 21. Our goal would be to complete another 10 or more through the remaining winter and tackle the rest after fall aeration in 2011. I probably don't need to remind you that weather plays a significant role in the amount of progress we can make with this type of work and although we accomplished allot last winter dealing with just normal rainfall it looks like weather will be more of a deterrent this year then last. We'll just have to work between storms and see how it goes. In addition to the bunker work planned this winter, we hope to finish the practice bunkers around the chipping area later in the year when we have some renovation work planned for the entire area.  More on this to come.

#2 fairway Bunker Complete

#2 Fairway Bunker Drainage Pattern

#13 Left Hand Fairway Bunker - Completed

As I mentioned in the last update we have a substantial amount of tree and brush clearing we hope to take care of this winter as well. The Granite Bay Golf Committee came up with a list of areas that were priorities for the membership and we plan to tackle many of these areas. However as I mentioned in our last update, we need to open up some areas around greens providing more light and air movement to help with the overall health of these areas. These struggling areas  include the practice green, #7 green, #13 green, #14 green and #16 green.
Practice Green After Pruning

Practice Green Before Pruning

#7 Green after Pruning. 7:00 AM Picture

Since our last update we have completed tree pruning around the practice green, #7, and #16. We have started and plan  to complete the pruning around #13 and #14 next week and then start on the Golf Committee list ,starting with  the willows in the pond on #1 & #9 that are blocking the vision of those two holes. While we are in the area we  plan to start clearing in front of the #10 tee exposing the granite rock formations and returning the appearance while standing on the tee to more of the original vision and intent of the hole. We plan to take the last three weeks of December and beyond, if that what it takes to accomplish all of this work.

#16 Green Surround After Pruning

Irrigation triangulation is just a fancy way of saying we need to move some sprinklers so they can be more efficient when we start irrigating next year. We understand that this work is not as  impactful as exposing the rocks in front of #10 tee or pruning trees around the greens,  I only mention it to emphasize its importance. It is tedious and time consuming work albeit necessary and we don't want to start irrigating next year without completing all of it. So when you see us out there trenching, digging and making a mess around the greens just be assured that this work will help  create better conditions next summer.

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