Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Course Update

It has been a tremendous year to date.  This golf season has provided some of the best weather we have seen in years.   As we reach the climax of the season, realize there is many golf rounds still to be played.  The golf course has remained in very good shape to date and there has been much praise for the course conditions from members and their guests.  I would like to thank the 2012 “GREENS CREW” that has worked through tough weather, hot temperatures and an eventful golf calendar.  The crew this year has given 110% to provide quality conditions daily.


Special thanks for the Men’s Invitational participants for respecting the golf course and following cart rules during the wet conditions during their Friday and Saturday rounds.  Cart traffic damage was very minimal from their efforts.

Looking ahead, we will be focusing on recovering grass on the golf course that been thinned out or lost from the summer stresses.  Some of the processes you will see on the golf course include sodding, spiking, seeding and top dressing.  August and September provide great conditions with warm days and cool nights to promote speedy recovery.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Course Update

Last week was definitely one to remember.  Temperatures were in the 90's all week with Wednesday and Friday having recorded temperatures of 100 degrees.  The last article in this blog showed the tree damage that we incurred on Thursday morning.  We also lost power to our pump house that morning and were not able to irrigate until Sunday at midnight.  The maintenance crew worked extremely hard all day on Saturday and Sunday using our 3 spray rigs to keep moisture on the greens.  Their efforts held off major heat stress to the greens surfaces.  We have spent this week playing catch-up on irrigating the golf course and the majority of turf survived through the heat.

We did have an outbreak of Pythium on the course sporadically in low lying fairway areas, drain lines and in the roughs.  Although we try to manage this disease preventatively we did have some minor occurrences, most significant 16 fairway. Pythium blight is an infectious disease on turf that can spread rapidly under hot, humid conditions, and readily available moisture over a 2-3 day period.  We definitely met and exceeded those conditions.

Pythium kills turf rapidly and can be spread easily by equipment and moving water.  Below are a few pictures of the active disease and the grass 24 hours after the infection.  The areas that were affected and have damaged grass will be over seeded and top dressed.

#6 fairway, Pythium active spreading downhill

The Day after Pythium infection was noticed

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tree Damage

Thursday June 5th at 4:45 in the morning we had a wall of severe storms hit Forest Lake.  The course held up fairly well except for 7 trees that were affected.  Along with the trees the maintenance crew spent the day cleaning the entire property of smaller sicks and debris.   The turf on the course definitely benefited from the rain brought in by the pop-up thunderstorms.  The course is in good shape and open for play. Below are some pictures of the trees that were damaged.

Oak right side of #2

Willows beside #5 Green before cleanup

Willows beside #5 Green after cleanup

Basswood between #16 and #17
Another Basswood #16 and #17
Basswood behind #16 Green

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Course Conditions

The weather has definitely posed a challenge for the golf course in June.  We had a stretch of over 3 weeks with some of hottest sunny days with little to no rainfall.  The golf course during this stretch has experienced some definite challenges in trying to put enough water on the course without becoming overly saturated.  The greens and surrounds have stayed in very good condition.  Most of this can be attributed from the irrigation improvement project in the fall, that allows us good efficient coverage.
      During extended periods of hot dry weather we do see some inadequacies of our irrigation system though.  Our fairway irrigation was designed several years ago with a double and single row sprinkler head setup.  This allows us the ability to water some of the fairway at 100% efficient coverage while areas on the edges of fairways only receive 50% and less.  Over the past few weeks we have spent a great deal of effort trying to maintain the edges without completely saturating the fairways.  Although some of the fairway edges are showing stress, we should see rejuvenation of these areas with some rain and milder weather. The rough areas outside the fairways have minimal sprinkler coverage and you will see the maintenance staff working hard to maintain these areas with quick couplers and hoses. 

Chipping Green
We have also see a decline in turf on some tee boxes and the south-west corner of the chipping green.  These areas are challenged with excessive thatch.  Thatch is a layer of grass stems, roots, clippings, and debris that settle on the ground and either slowly decompose and/or accumulate over time.  This area becomes a compressed compacted mat that prevents water from penetrating through the profile to the roots.  During these very hot days it has been a tremendous struggle to move enough water through to the roots.  We have been working at aerifying these areas and will be out topdressing them frequency.  These areas are a primary focus to us, in isolating damage as well as improving the health.  The long term solution is to increase the frequency and amount we aerify, top-dress and verti-cut these areas.  Over the period of a few years we should be able to substantially minimize this thatch layer and we will see improvement during the peak heat stress period of the golf season.

Thatch profile of the chipping green
#6 White tee


We have been able to capture a few picture of some of the wild life birds that travel through the natural corridors of the golf course.  Some of them have chosen Forest Lake as their permanent homes so we are hopeful that players will have an opportunity to see them first hand.

Red Tail Hawk - Nests in the Pines between holes 11 and 12

Cooper's Hawk - Picture from Hole #5

Robin nest in Japanese Maple at #1 Tee early June

Swan - #2 Pond