Thursday, June 18, 2015

Course update

It's been a busy last 4 weeks on the golf course trying to maintain playing conditions with warmer weather, and consistent rains.  Overall the course is in good shape, but has been held back from it's full potential, because of the abundance of moisture. There are definitely times through the hot dry summer we hope for a rain event but enough is enough!  Below are a few pictures from this past Sunday's storm, which closed down the golf course.  The challenges that we face as a greens crew can become complicated and I hope to highlight a few that may not be apparent when the rain stops and the sun comes out, and golf resumes.
View of  13 fairway from the maintenance building as we hide for cover.  The challenges will arise on Monday, Tuesday  trying to mow wet roughs, fairways and put the course back together to produce a quality golf course.
16 fairway a predominately low lying area, after the rain.  This area takes time to alleviate most of the standing water, but we are still left with some birdbaths filled with water.  This  fairway will play wet for the following days.  Ropes are used frequently to keep cart traffic off of this area

This is a picture from early May of 16 fairway.  The pattern of winter kill damage is the same areas that are holding water from these storms.  We have seen this pattern in most of the areas that suffered from the winter across the course.  Improving drainage in most instances will correct these situations promoting better turf health.  Areas that remain wet, have thinning turf and recovery can be very difficult
#14 Green with a pocket of water slowly dissipating away.  The green does not have enough pitch in this area for surface water to runoff.  Mowing and rolling greens during wet soft conditions can cause scalp injury and compaction injury.
This is a picture from March 2015 of the same bird bath on 14 green.  This shows how the winter melt water accumulated in this spot killing most the POA in this particular spot.
The sand traps only had minor washouts from Sunday's rain.  But during each heavy rain event soil washes in from the edges, and mixes into the desired sand at the bottoms of the trap.  This causes the bunker sand to drain poorly and to hold onto moisture.  We have noticed a decline in drainage of many of our bunkers on the golf course.  20 plus years of rains have contributed to their condition  today.   Significant efforts are made by the greens staff to try to keep these bunkers playable and consistent across the golf course.

The rains did bring us a few visitors.  Here is 1 of the large Snapping turtles spotted beside 2 green.
In the midst of mowing and prepping the course for play, their are many projects going on around the course.
Arborvitae planting along side #18 ladies Tee.  This project will be finished early next week
Resetting the waterfall boulders at #2 green.  Over time the boulders had settled, sealing off water from entering into the pumping station that controls the waterfall feature as well our pond level control pump.
We are making our way around the course, pruning and elevating tree canopies.  Mulch has also been added around trees that have been planted over the last few years to prevent damage to the bases from mowing and line trimmers
This was a nice find while pruning!  Hornets like to build their nests under a dense canopy, where an unsuspecting person might not identify right away.

The MSU research team has also been conducting a research project on "Summer Patch"  on #13 fairway. More to come!