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

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