Friday, September 20, 2013

Autumn 2013 is Here

Ever since June 21st 2013, the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, we have been looking forward to Fall Equinox on September 22nd. This 104 day period between the Solstice and the Equinox has always been and will always be the most difficult time of the year for the turf at Granite Bay. I would not consider this summer either an extremely hot summer overall, or a classic mild summer. However it was on the different side. Some weather data examples taken from the weather station here at the course back up my thoughts. Prior to the solstice on June 21st we had a two day mini heatwave where daytime highs hit 103 and 106 that were immediately followed by a high of 84. That's different. We did get hit with a classic heatwave between June 29th and July 5th, seven days of triple digit temperatures with a 107 on 7/5/13 followed by a high of 90 degrees on 7/6/13. A 17 degree swing in one day following a week of intense heat seems different then a typical summer pattern. Lows during this period of time were in the mid 70's and we did record 5 straight days of temperatures over 105. Overall we  recorded 15 days over 100 degrees, 47 days in the 90's and 27 days in the 80's with an average high temperate of 92 and an average low of 62. Maybe not so different, it just seemed that way to me.

#3 Green in full sun at 8:00 AM after tree removal

Installing electrical conduit for greens fan #3

#3 Green

Our #3 green and to a lesser extent the left hand edge of #14 which were damaged during the seven day heatwave in early July. I mentioned the steps we planned an taking to alleviate the chronic problems we seem to experience with #3 in  a previous course update and we have made some pretty good progress on these steps since then. Firstly we have grass on the green which is nice, albeit the green is slower then the rest. We have be reducing the height of cut on the mower that we use to mow the green  over the past couple of weeks and it is almost where the rest of the greens are. (0.140" compared to 0.110") We removed the two trees to the east of the green that were blocking the the morning sun which seemed to make a big difference immediately with recovery and air movement. Additionally we secured capitol funding for a greens fan which is due to be delivered next week. Electrical service for the fan along with the base that the removable fan slides in and out of is in process. The usefulness during severe summer weather has past in 2013 however everything will be in place for next summer although we most likely try it out this winter to prevent frost on this green which is the last one to thaw out.

Air diffusers that are installed in our ponds that will
supply diffused air. Pond at #1&#9 has 6 diffusers
and the pond in front of #3 has 4.

Pond Aeration

Another 2013 project that I have mentioned a few times was the installation  of a aeration system that would supply diffused air to our ponds on #1 & 9 as well as in front of #3. Adding diffused air to these ponds will go a long way to reversing the aging or eutrophication process. Our ponds are 20 years old with a very naturalized design that are predisposed to an accumulation of organic matter settling in these ponds because of the plant material surrounding them. The breakdown of this organic matter rapidly increases the nutrient load in the pond, creating an an environment for floating aquatic weeds such as algae and mosquito fern. The growth of these plants effect water aesthetics and  water quality by removing oxygen crating a cycle of decline.

Mosquito Fern (azolla sp.) in the pond between
#9 & #1.

The aeration system has been operational in the pond in front of #3 for a couple of weeks and there is already a noticeable improvement in water quality and algae reduction. The diffusers and aeration system in the #1 & #9 pond are installed but just awaiting electrical service hook-up. Installation of these systems systems, like the fan on #3,  will be helpful in 2013 but should really be effective when we turn them on first thing in the spring of 2014 and just let them run as designed.

Aeration diffusers in action in the pond
in front of #3

Aeration diffuser compressor awaiting electrical
service activation.

Fall 2014 Course Aeration Schedule

With fall comes playing surface aeration, which the necessity and benefits  have been covered extensively in these Granite Bay Course Updates. If you happen to be reading these updates for the first time and want to catch up, you can click on the Aeration Labels to the left of this update to check out process details and  a good explanation of why we get soft in the summer which is very much related to our Granite Bay aeration philosophy. As we been doing the past few years we have a schedule of alternating front nine and back nine closures to accomplish aeration of the areas of the course that are very difficult to perform properly in the midst of member play. Below is the schedule for fall of 2013.

Week of 9/6/13 - Overseed  Tournament, Granite, Club & Cobble Tees 
Monday 9/30/13 - Overseed Pebble Tees, Aerate Practice Greens
Tuesday 10/1/13 - Aerate 1-18 Greens / Back 9 Open in the AM Only
Wednesday 10/2/13 - Aerate FW's 1-5 / Front 9 Closed
Thursday 10/3/13 - Aerate FW's 10-16 / Back 9 Closed
Friday 10/4/13  - Aerate FW's 17&18 / Front 9 Start. No Alternating Closures
Week of 9/7/13 - Overseed Driving Range Tee & Short Game Area / NO Alternating Closures
Tuesday 10/15/13 - Aerate Front 9 Surrounds / Front Nine Closed
Wednesday 10/16/13 - Aerate Back 9 Surrounds / Back Nine Closed
Week of 10/21/13 - Aerate Front 9 Roughs / NO Alternating Closures
Week of 10/28/13 - Aerate Back 9 Roughs / NO Alternating Closures

Aeration pattern on
putting surfaces.

This schedule could be adjusted because of inclement weather, as these process's have to be conducted during dry weather, or mechanical breakdown which is always a possibility. We will communicate our progress and potential changes to this schedule through the golf shop daily morning update.

De-thatcing fairways as part of the aeration process.

Topdressing fairways.

As always, Thanks for your support and patience.