Thursday, May 30, 2024

Fairway Aeration & Greens Spiking

We wanted to remind the membership of our upcoming Fairway Aeration and Topdressing that is rapidly approaching in July. More on the actual process as we get closer, but the main thing for you to remember is the golf course will be closed for an entire week. 

Golf Course Fairway Aeration 
Monday July 8th through Friday July 12th
Golf Course Closed

This past Monday we verticle mowed, spiked and topdressed all putting surfaces on the course sticking to our plan to do small non invasive cultural practices to the greens for as long as possible to keep disruption for the membership and keep poa annua invasion on our greens to a minimum. Below are pictures of the process for those who haven't see them before.

Step #1 - Vertical Mow the surfaces. Circular saw like blades positioned vertically on a shaft slightly penetrate the surface and remove grain and thin the leaf volume of the green. Less leaf volume equals less friction. Less friction equals better ball roll & speed. Theoretically. 

Good image of the verticle mower blades close up.

Another good image of the surface directly after the verticle mower went over the green.

Step #2 - Cleanup - All of that  removed leaf surface leaves a mess that we clean up with a mower and blowers. Mowing after verticle mowing also clips the lifted leaf blades of the verticle mowing process.

Step #3 - Deep Tine Spiking. We like to follow the verticle mowing process with spiking. The tines above are 5/16" in diameter and we spike to a depth of 7". Holes in the surface provide avenues for water and equally or more importantly, air to penetrate deep into the putting surfaces core. Air equals deeper roots. Deeper roots equals an healthier overall putting surface that can hold up to less frequent irrigation. Less frequent irrigation equals better ball roll and speed. Theoretically.

Good image of the spiking pattern. 5" X 3" pattern with holes that are 7" deep. 

Step #4 - Sand topdressing. Sand topdressing on putting surfaces is considered a BMP by all turf managers and academics throughout the industry. The amounts and type of sand topdressing vary but in general turf managers like to use sand that is not too course or too fine. We like to lightly and frequently topdress greens at an amount of 1.0 to 1.5 cubic foot of sand topdressing per application targeting a total of 25 to 35 cubic feet of topdressing sand per 1000 square feet per year. Above illustrates a application of 1.6 cubic foot per 1000 square feet.
 Light and Frequent Topdressing dilutes the organic matter that putting surfaces make that if allowed to become excessive can lead to some real problems that is easiest remedied by core aeration which we are trying to avoid at least for a few years. 

Step #5 - Brushing in the topdressing. This image is from earlier this season when we Dry-Jected the Putting Surfaces and applied more sand then what is depicted in step #4. It is the same process where we slowly brush the greens with soft brushes attached to a Greens Groomer Brush. Brushing works the sand topdressing into the small  spiking holes, the grooves that the verticle mower left and the turf canopy and is a primary contributor to the smoothness and firmness of a putting surface. 

Step #6 - Two days out  finished product. Day one after the above chronicled process we rolled and blew off remnants of sand with back pack blowers. Day two (today 5/30/24) we mowed and rolled and blew the greens again and above is the product you are putting on today. 

Above is a closeup. A little bit of visible sand and you can see the verticle mowing lines slightly. 

Above picture was taken Tuesday 5/28/24 down one Cygnet since Friday 5/24/24. On Wednesday 5/29/24 in the morning we were down to 5 Cygnets. Michele McCormick Granite Bay's own bird expert says a 50% survival rate is pretty typical. Lets keep our fingers crossed. 

Friday, May 24, 2024

Summer is Coming

It is only 27 days until the official start of Summer marked by the Summer Solstice on Thursday June 20th. This begins the 94 day period leading to the  Fall Equinox on Sunday September 22nd where the hours of daylight equal the hours of night. The Summer season has traditionally been the hardest season on this golf course and most of our preparations and efforts throughout the year are aimed at surviving it. 

Our 2021 renovation / turf conversion addressed in part our summer issues by converting our fairways to warm season hybrid bermuda, however the golf course is still 60% cool season turf in the rough which is susceptible to these Sacramento summers. We have been adding Tall Fescue to the rough because of its superior heat tolerance to ryegrass, but it is still a cool season variety and therefore doesn't thrive when it gets hot.  As a reminder, hybrid bermuda does not do well in the shade and with our tree lined Parkland Style Golf Course and associated shade, the best options for the rough are the cool season varieties of turf. 

So summer is coming but we feel good about our preparations and the condition of the golf course going into this stressful period. First, we are not worried about 40% of the golf course, specifically the fairways as they will thrive in the summer heat. Secondly, we have a strong population of the hardier Tall Fescue that has been established over the last three years and thirdly we successfully core aerated all of the rough in the early spring and we are counting on big dividends from that process.

How you can help is minimizing cart traffic in the rough during the summer. Utilize cart paths when you can and enter golf holes through the gates then drive on the durable fairway turf until you exit the hole through the exit gates. Currently we do not have any holes designated cart path only but anticipate closing a couple holes at a time in the summer to mitigate the wear and tear of cart traffic, so respecting those closures when we do have them is also helpful. 

Thank you in advance for your help with this matter. We all want the same thing, a golf course that we can be proud of year-round. Below are some pictures of recent progress on the golf course.

Last week we finally got to fixing a nagging low spot that was left over from the 2021 renovation to the left of the new forward tee on #2. Prior to us starting to sod this area it was a lovely puddle of mud.

We decided to do a sump drain because our normal recourse of tapping into existing drainage was a much larger job then we wanted to tackle at the time. A sump drain is a big hole filled with rock. The vertical drainpipe in the picture will serve as an inspection hole where we can monitor the depth of the drainage water at any given time. Additionally, the pipe will be helpful during rainy weather as the area is still low and might need to be pumped. 

Above is the finished product. No more mud hole.

We recently purchased a large fairway drag brush that we have been using ahead of fairway mowers to remove the grain in our Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda fairways. This brushing has really tightened these fairways up. 

This week we started repairing some of the bad areas along cart paths primarily. The process is strip the area of what bad sod is left then rototill sand and compost into existing native soil conditioning the soil so it has a fighting chance of supporting new sod. 

After to soil preparation, grading and tamping, we add some fertilizer, re-sod with fresh sod from our nursery then irrigate and rope off  to cart traffic so new sod can establish. We addressed areas near #3 green, #16 green & #6 green this week.

This picture was taken Friday 5/24/24. All seven Cygnets still flourishing at about 5 weeks old. The Family move regularly from pond to pond now, and one of the parents has been spotted on multiple occasions flying around low and looking for I don't know what.

A postcard image taken by Meredith of the same Swans and Cygnets this morning, Friday 5/24/24. 

Friday, May 10, 2024

Spring Mini Update

Spring is a great time of the year that is always associated with incredible business on a golf course. Everything starts to grow at once and then we fertilize and make it grow more. If you stop mowing because of spring showers, the grass will get out of control so you just mow, mow, mow even when it is a little wet. Then only a few days after the  rain stops, you have to start irrigating, then it rains again. Then the wind blows and topples some more trees and blows countless truckloads of debris out of the ones left standing. Its nothing new, always busy and incredibly beautiful. Enjoy some spring time pictures from one of the coolest places on earth, GBGC!

Our 2023 pair of Swans are back and have already hatched seven cygnets. Babies represented above are a couple of weeks old and are hanging out at the upper pond of #3.

Turtles are all over this year. 

Including their offspring crawling across the greens

#16 in May. Course is showing and playin good as it should in May. 

We are starting refreshing process with the bunkers, adding new sand to the ones that need it first, then a little bit in all of them. Presidents rock bunker on #18 just refreshed this week. 

On Monday 5/6/24 we added supplemental irrigation to the fescue banks below the driving range teaching center and bank in front of the grass tee. These type of little additions to the golf course infrastructure are under ground and out of sight but make huge differences to the quality of turf they effect. 


Memorial Day Monday 5/27/24 - Club Open
Tuesday 5/28/24 - Club Closed
Eureka School Foundation Monday 6/3/24
Mackenzie Cup - Thursday 6/13/24 through Saturday 6/15/24
USGA Amateur Qualifier - Monday 7/1/24
GBGC Fairway Aeration & Topdressing Week - Monday 7/8/24 - Friday 7/12/24 
Club Closed for the Week