Thursday, May 26, 2011

Course Conditions

Over the past few days the weather has brought us significant rain.  It has been one of the wettest springs on record and the course has thrived through it in good shape other then a few areas on the course which have not completely dried out. 
        Both the Lady's and Men's leagues have been cancelled today because of standing water on the golf course.  The course is ALWAYS OPEN to members and their guests who would like to walk the course when golf carts are not available.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Course Conditions

The rainfall and warmer temperatures have definitely added some challenges.  The grass seems to have grown inches over night during the last couple weeks.  The maintenance crew has been working hard to keep the rough mowed, and free of clumping grass (photo #4 rough).  The fairways and greens will be coming out of regulation, which means there will be more growth through the day.  Moisture and growth can decrease the distance of a tee shot that lands on the fairway.  Also as grass wants to aggressively grow on our greens, "green speed" is negatively effected.  We will be working hard at keeping the greens consistent and maintaining at our Statement of Standards.

Fairway fertilizer applications

We fertilized the fairways last Friday.  We use a service to apply our granular fairway fertilizers, which will generally be a spring and fall application.  The applicator truck shown in the photo, has wide floatation tires which prevents it from damaging turf.  The application is done in about 2 hours and is calibrated to give a consistent precise application. 

Poa seed head control

Over the past couple weeks we have been able to evaluate the effectiveness of our Poa seed head control.  The 2 main things that can effect control, are the products being used and their application rates, and most importantly the timing of application which is based on growing degree days (GDD).  This year we have had great success controlling the seed on greens approaches and fairways.  The grass has started to grow out of regulation and it is visibly apparent where seed is present.  The photo shows #14 fairway with a distinct white line of seed head, where the rest of the fairway was sprayed and has a nice green grass appearance.  You will also notice seed head in the second cut of rough on the edge of fairways where applications ended. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Annual Bluegrass Seed Head Control

The Fairways, approaches and greens have been but under regulation to minimize the amount of seed head produced by Annual Bluegrass "poa" plants.  The Tees have not been treated the last few years, with the idea that the seeds help out in divot recovery in the heavily played areas.  The short play areas at Forest Lake consist of a large quantity of poa, mixed with bent grass and some rye grass on fairways and tees.  The poa this time of year produces stalky seed heads (shown in the second rough cut above), which will create a bumpy greens surface as well as make it very tough to achieve a quality mowing cut.  Although we would love to completely control the seed production, generally 80% control is very successful.

      This year we used 2 different products to control seed heads.  Both are very effective at achieving control which is a definite plus, as well as both slow down the growth of turf.
     Our fairways were treated this year with Embark ( photo on #7 fairway above right).  The appearance to these fairways has a yellow green color with speckles of darker greens which are grass varieties such as rye grass which are not effected.  This product is also very harsh on rough grass varieties so the application stopped before the edges of the fairway where you can now notice significant seed.  The upside to this product is that it is inexpensive. 
      The greens, approaches, and 10 fairway ( shown above left ) were treated with Proxy / Primo.  The obvious upside is a greener plant, even though there is a some color loss, and it is a much safer product on the rough grass surrounding greens.  This product combination has a significant increase increase in cost.
      All of the treated turf will come out of regulation in the next couple weeks.

Course Signage

We have but signs around the course to remind players that they can do their part to "CARE FOR OUR COURSE".   These reminders include Ball Mark Repair, Divot Replacement on tees and fairways when possible, as well as Keep Carts on the Path, which includes #2 fairway and the par 3's on the golf course.

Back Yard Maintenance

We have invested a few days already, and will be spending more of our time as it available in the back yard, pool and tennis areas.  We have pruned and trimmed many of our shrubs and plants and have begun mulching these areas.  Some plant material has suffered severe die back over winter.  This material will be removed or cut back back to new growth. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

From Your Greens Committee

From Your Greens Committee
As we kick off the 2011 golf season, a brief reminder to do your part in keeping up the pride of Forest Lake.  With a little extra effort from our members and guests we can contribute to keeping our golf course looking pristine. 
Ball Mark Repair

As courteous golfers, we all know it is our responsibility to repair our ball marks on the green.  Try as we might, sometimes one hides from view.  That’s why it is common practice, and good luck, to repair yours, plus another.    Ball marks are caused when impact compresses a portion of the grass and soil on the surface of the green.  Proper repair technique uses a repair tool or tee to lever the compacted area back into the void, filling in as necessary from all around the ball mark.  Don’t pry the soil/grass upward.  Tap down with the sole of your putter to complete the process.  The brown discoloration in the photo shows what happens when you don't repair ball marks properly.  Please view the quick video on the proper technique to correct a ball mark, just click on the hyperlink below or paste it into your browser. 
  Divot Replacement/Repair

We are all too quick to reach for the sand bottle to fill our divots.  While certainly better than nothing, that sand and seed mixture takes 2 to 3 weeks to heal the scar left behind when you take a divot.  The best thing all of us can do to keep Forest Lake looking its best, is to go grab that divot and put it back.  A properly replaced divot can heal that scar in 2 to 3 days.  The sand bottle is to be used only when your divot has disintegrated.  Remember, Think Sod First! 
 The ugly scaring left behind by divots is especially noticeable on par 3 tees (see below).  We’ve invested to rebuild our tees on #8 and #10.  Let’s keep them looking beautiful.  While we’re at it, #2 fairway is another trouble spot for unsightly divot scars.  Many of them come from some of us hitting range balls back into the driving range.  Let’s all vow to stop that practice this year.  It will help to keep Forest Lake looking its best, not to mention you won’t be violating rule  #7.2!
If you’d like to see a video link on divot repair, click on this…

We know better weather is on the way.  Enjoy the season and remember to CO"CARE FOR OUR COURSE".  It will pay large dividends to us all.
Your Greens Committee

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pest Management

We will be treating the roughs on the golf course this week for weeds, crabgrass, and grubs.  Information is posted on the 1st and 10th Tees every application.  The information will inform you of the date, time, area(s) treated, chemical names, and re-entry instructions.  There is also contact information provided if there are concerns or further questions regarding pesticide use on the golf course.  All of our pesticide applications are preformed by employees that are certified applicators through the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

Arbor Day Plantings


       We have planted most of the plant material funded by Arbor Day.  The Arbor row alongside 12 Tee has been planted (before and after photos above), with a few small details (sod/mulch) to finish that area.  The First Tee Burning Bush was planted last week.  In between #9 and #11 we added 2 River Birch and a Burr Oak to that area.  Also an Austrian Pine was planted on the left side of #14.  All of the plant material will be mulched in the upcoming weeks and the new trees on the course will be marked with a black stake, so a golfer can take relief.    All of the tree and shrub planting this season was done by the golf course maintenance crew. The below photos showing the Arborvitaes, and Burr Oak being planted.

Course Conditions

It has been a tremendously wet April, with rain falling every other day.  The temperatures have also been hovering in the 50's to low 60's with very little sun to dry out the course.  It has been challenging to mow the grass and accomplish projects with wet turf and soft ground.  The photo of #6 fairway shows mower and cart traffic creating wear on the golf course.
       We have put many ropes up around the golf course to direct cart traffic to the best locations to drive without causing significant damage.  As the conditions improve the ropes will be removed and cart operating instructions will change. 
      Cart rule information is presented daily by the First Tee and Pro shop Staffs.  We thank everyone for following cart etiquette.

#10 Tee

#10 Men's Tee was opened for play for the Men's Opening Day on April 30th. #10 Ladies Tee will be renovated during this month, and sodded to Bent grass.