Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Golf Course Maintenance Weekly 7/27/16

Granite Bay Golf Club Wildlife

One of the benefits of working and playing Granite Bay is how from the beginning The Club was designed to be a habitat for birds and wildlife not just a golf course. The following are pictures of  wildlife  caught right here at The Club that you might be interested in. 
The ponds are full of  wild turtles and one of this guys favorite places to warm up is the rock just off the bridge on #1.
Early in the morning recently I got a shot of this hawk as he was looking for breakfast just off the #3 Tee.
Egrets are not uncommon walking around the pond shallows foraging for food but that doesn't make them any less pretty.
I think I got this picture a few years ago in the fall when these Turkeys are out strutting their stuff on #13.
Years ago I got this baby woodpecker waiting for mom to bring him food. This was in a Oak Tree limb on #2.

Its hard to get close and very rare to see little bobcats like this guy roaming below the ladies tee on #10 early one morning.
Much more common to see coyotes roaming the course. Once in awhile they will stop and pose.

And even though we try to limit our goose population on the course once in awhile a family gets started and we legally have to leave them alone. Actually pretty cool seeing them all waddle around.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Golf Course Maintenance Weekly 7/21/16

Summer Weeds

Much has been written about summer being the hardest time of the year for the turf here at Granite Bay Golf Club. In addition to the heat and long days of summer being hard on the cool season turf that encompasses most of the course, these summer conditions facilitate every type of pest as well. Disease, insects and weeds all prosper when the weather gets hot. Therefore our task to maintain healthy cool season turf in the summer goes beyond managing irrigation and into prevention of disease, insects and annual weeds but reacting and pushing back on perennial weeds. 

Crabgrass near #10. Crabgrass is the easiest type of weed to control because we actually prevent it from germinating. It is an annual weed therefore applying pre-emergent products at the proper time prevents the weed from ever getting established. Above recent picture at GB is an example of an area where the pre-emergent product was missed.

Annual weeds such as crabgrass are much easier to prevent so are not as much of a problem as perennial weeds. Annual weeds emerge from the seed they produced the previous year(s). Pre emergent products that prevent the weed from germinating, establishing and producing seed interrupts the cycle and keeps that pest problem in check. 

Perennial weeds return every year from both seed and root and stem system's that have overwintered. If they are not prevented or eradicated their spread will just continue. Preventing and eradicating is easier said then done with some of the weeds we that have taken a foothold here at Granite Bay. A picture is worth a thousand words so below are some illustrations of the various weed issues and control strategies for those who are interested.

Dallas Grass (paspalum dilatatum)

Dallas grass is one of the most obnoxious weeds and difficult to control as it is a perennial weed that comes back year after year from it's roots. Isolated patches like this it is almost easier to dig it out. There are selective herbicides           ( products that hurt the weed but not the desirable turf)   that can eradicate this nasty weed but you have to remain diligent.

Dallas grass in a bunker finger on #12.
We will just dig these out and hope we get all of the roots.

Dallas grass near creek on #16.
This area has become so inundated that we will have to treat with a
non-selective herbicide products that kill whatever they are applied to. Most common non selective herbicide is Round-Up ) or be diligent with selective products that are marginally effective.  When selective products are used in a aggressive manner, which means frequent re-application's, we have been able to push the encroachment back.

 Dallas Grass in the bank directly in front of #16 green and the fairway side of the creek where we have treated with selective products on multiple occasions  and multiple years. We are gaining a little bit of ground but mostly just pushing it back and not losing ground.

Knotgrass (paspalum distichum L)

Untreated knot grass in #18 FW.
Knot grass is another perennial weed that has the potential to be even more of a problem for us then Dallas Grass in that it has started to infiltrate the playing surfaces. The most successful strategy to date is using the same limited selective product that we use for Dallas Grass remaining diligent on reapplications while it is actively growing. we have not eradicated the problem as effective selective products just don't exist at the present time but we have been successful in mitigating and pushing the problem back

Knot Grass in the process of selective control.


Example of slight discoloration of the desirable grass while using selective products to control knotgrass in #9 FW

A few years back we attempted the non-selective approach of controlling Knot Grass in #9FW. After the knotgrass was dead along with all surrounding desirable grass we seeded and topdressed. 

The following year we still had Knot Grass reemerging in the areas we had seeded. Needless to say the non selective approach of eradication was scrapped.

Nutsedge (cyperus rotundus L)

Nutsedge bunker finger #9
Nutsedge is another perennial weed we have to deal with here at Granite Bay. The good news for this weed is we have been able to keep it in check with a different selective product then we use for Dallas Grass and Knot Grass. This particular product is very effective for the selective control of Nutsedge therefore the infestation has never gotten  out of hand.

Yellow Nutsedge patch in the approach of #16


Weed control and prevention will always be something we will deal with in one way or another here at Granite Bay and most of the heavy lifting will occur in the summer months when the perennial weeds are actively growing. Until a effective selective product is available for control and eradication of Dallas Grass and Knot Grass we will have to rely on old school chemistry for control which currently does not  completely eradicate the weeds but keeps them pushed back. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Golf Course Maintenance Weekly 7/13/16

A few weeks ago we did some drainage work near the cart path on #8. This was a drainage project that was along time coming as some of the issues were related to the addition of the cart path in the area which was installed in 2005 - 2006. The area was well known to everyone, about 200 yards out on #8 adjacent to the cart path caused by mostly irrigation water that runs down the path and runs onto the flat section of rough and literally has no place to go. We finally made the time to fix the problem as it made it very difficult to manage the irrigation heads in the area and keep the turf dry and alive at the same time. Below are some pictures that chronicled the project from start to finish for those who are interested. 

We started by stripping the sod along the cart path about 100' along the slight swale that we felt was channeling irrigation water into the bog area.

Sod had to be stripped all the way down to the subsurface drainage system from the cart path left of the fairway to  the drainage inlet right center.

After removing sod down to the drainage inlet and along the cart path, we removed a herringbone pattern of sod to insure proper drainage in the flat boggy area. After removing the sod we trenched and removed the soil to make way for perforated pipe and gravel. 

Perforated pipe and gravel were used in the large excavated trench along the cart path and the herringbone drainage pattern in the rough and fairway. After the fairway started to fall off indicated by where the herringbone pattern ended, we switched to solid pipe and used soil to backfill the trench,

After pipe and gravel or soil in the non -perforated section are in place the crew started to re-install the sod. We roped the area off  for a  a couple of weeks and topdressed with sand and rolled so we wouldn't scalp the area with the fairway mowers when we mowed.

Finished product after a couple of weeks and after the first mowing this week.

Herringbone pattern in the fairway section is hardly noticeable a couple weeks out from the actual drainage installation. This project cleaned up up a long standing problem that went  beyond the wet area as we now can manage irrigation in the entire area without making the area wet or as importantly dry creating  marginal turf.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Golf Course Maintenance Weekly 7/5/16

Countdown to the fall equinox will be some 70  days and counting this week. So far we have had a couple of heat waves this summer season with a ten day long heat spell prior and during the 4th of July week. Thankfully afterwards we have been experiencing some nice unseasonably cooler weather in the low 90's and upper 80's. The golf course has been holding up well. It's  wetter in the early mornings then in the afternoons and  evenings because of a higher demand for irrigation in the summer months and we can't start irrigating the course until 9:00 PM as members are still playing prior to that time. Additionally it takes 7 to 8 hours to water the 100 acres of cool season turf that encompasses the club.

There are three things that I attribute to our success so far this summer season.

1. No Drought Conservation Mandate

Without a doubt, the conservation mandates of  20% in 2014 and 36% in 2015 left a mark on the course requiring turf recovery that went into the winter's of the proceeding years. Additionally as the drought continued our fall renovation practices at that time were still tempered with the same conservation mandates. In short we simply didn't have the irrigation water to irrigate new seed properly as the drought cycle continued through the spring and fall renovation seasons until 2016. This year we have a 10% voluntary conservation mandate from our use in 2013.

2. Expanded Single Head Coverage to Our Irrigation System

We embarked on a capitol project of replacing 20 year old irrigation controllers on the course in 2015 but the funding didn't materialize until the spring of that year which was too late for us to complete the total install while maintaining the golf course. We installed a few controllers in the early spring that year but the majority of them we installed this past winter. Therefore we are really experiencing the benefit's of single head sprinkler operation this year to a much greater extent then last irrigation season. Single head coverage gives us the ability to adjust the run time of individual sprinkler heads up or down depending on an area being wet or dry. Most importantly I've noticed when sprinkler heads come on at night, the coverage is better around the course because flow is more evenly distributed.

3. Additional Resources

We have been operating golf course maintenance this season with additional resources such as sand, seed, fertilizer and plant protection products. Success in golf course maintenance  is not always about budgets and money but the additional resources allocated correctly have sure made a difference. There is still allot of summer left but our position going into the summer combined with getting through the first 20% of it in decent shape as far as cool season turf losses are concerned  is encouraging.

Summer Caution

However there is still allot of summer left and the course has historically suffered setbacks in one form or another  every summer since being planted and we feel its important to manage expectations during this most critical time. We will not be perfect for the next 80 days. The ebb and flow of hard and soft and green and brown can and will be experienced day to day. Greens wont always  be as fast as they are at other times of the year however should be true and alive. You might experience some cart restrictions in the afternoons on days that temperatures are forecasted to be extreme. However if our "big picture" goals of having substantially less recovery to do in the fall materialize, the golf course will be much better  in the long run.

Tee Leveling and Turf Replacement #7 Tee

This week we plan on stripping, leveling and replacing the sod on the granite and club levels of the #7 tee. The club level is humped and the granite level is worn out because of its size. While we are stripping, leveling and replacing the sod we will move the club tee markers down the cobble level for two weeks and the granite tee markers on the tournament level. Hybrid Bermuda sod loves the heat therefore should be ready to use in a couple of weeks. Afterwards we will have to strip, level and re-sod the tournament level as well. 

Granite and Club levels of #7 Tee. Too small and growing in the shade. A bad combination  for all of the iron play this par three tee receives therefore it requires annual sod replacement.

Prepping Granite and Club levels this week.

Newely leveled and sodded Club level of our #7 Tee. Two to three weeks we should be back on it