Thursday, December 10, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Moving on to the golf course... another round of aerification has come and gone and with the cooperation of Mother Nature, we were able to complete the entire course in the two days. Every year it is our goal to finish in two days, but occasionally Mother Nature throws a curve ball and we have to finish the course on day three. This fall we had the opportunity to look at some new pieces of aerification equipment perform on our course (demos) and so far the results are just so-so. Our current aerification is either not ours or is getting very old and temperamental and will need to be replaced soon, but with what? I lined up several demonstrations with my John Deere and Toro salesmen to see what was out there. Both companies brought with them three pieces of equipment: a greens aerator, a fairway aerator, and a core pulverizer. The Toro fairway aerator actually pulls the core pulverizer (see embedded "One Pass Operation" video)and makes for a "one pass operation." While conceptually this is a great thing, logistically it becomes difficult. We had some "set up issues" with the Toro aerator causing some heaving of the turf while being aerified. While the heaving itself isn't a major problem, the fact that the pulverizer was being pulled six feet behind the aerator was. The heaved turf wasn't able to be pressed back down and frequently would get caught up in the pulverizer causing damage to the fairway. Certainly not what we want. Unfortunately the "set up issue" was not resolved and the demo fell short of expectations.
The John Deere fairway aerator (see embedded "JD 1500 Aerator" video) performed much better, but still caused some excessive heaving and subsequent damage to the fairways.
When all was said and done, the end result was better performance from our two old-and-tempermental machines than the two new demo units. Toro has already asked for a "re-do" next spring now that they have figured out the correct set up for the machine. I've got a bit of time to decide on that one.
The greens aeration went very well. We pulled 3/8" cores, harvested the cores off the greens and topdressed heavily to fill the holes. We sped throught the actual aerification process due to the two demo units we had in addition to the two older Toro aerators we borrow from HG Golf Properties. As expected the new demo units performed circles around the two older units. Toro's ProCore 648 (see embedded "ProCore 648" video) performed well as expected, finishing 5 greens to John Deere's three.
Both units pulled excellent cores and the holes were untufted and vertical. I'd give the edge to John Deere on hole quality (and subsequent recovery) but to Toro for overall productivity and versatility.
The demonstrations, as chaotic as they were, were truly beneficial for the "due diligence" that will be needed as we start thinking about equipment replacement. None of the equipment is cheap (individual units ranging from $15k to $30k) but is an essential part of a fleet of maintenance equipment.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
This year the turf even got a long weekend. After a fairly intense 10 day heat wave that took its toll on both staff and course, the 4th of July brought with it moderate, even cool weather. This "break in the cycle" allowed for the beginnings of turf recovery and stifled some of the annual burnout issues I see throughout my department. Finally, Mother Nature shows a little compassion!
I have been watching our "large scale" Velocity experiment throughout the heat wave and subsequent cool down period and I am encouraged by the early results. Last week we reached the peak of the "ugliness" with the predicted "yellow flash" followed by the decline of the Poa annua. During the heat wave, the recovery of the bent was slow, painfully slow to be accurate. With the moderating of the temperatures, we have seen the bentgrass kick into high gear and is now looking very healthy. The Poa annua, however, is still down although even it is starting to perk up. We are currently in week three of the spray interval and by all accounts we are getting predictable results. It is during week three and four of the interval that we gain the most on the Poa due to it's continued slow recovery. Bentgrass has the advantage. Once the Poa starts looking happy again (in two weeks) we will make another application of Velocity, starting the process over again. Each application will see an overall increase in the bentgrass population, which will in turn speed the recovery of the fairway. Exciting times for closet agronomists here at CCC!
As soon as I have a working camera again (it's being shipped) I will post some pictures of #11 fairway. As you play, notice the damage to the fairway and let me know what you think. After all, our experiment on #11 is being done to gauge our "threshold" or tolerance to the injury that Velocity produces. Your feedback will help us plan our future use of this product.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
1. We will be a petri dish for fungi unless we are on top of our fungicide treatments. The good news is that we are, and I don't expect any major disease occurances. We will, however, be vigilant.
2. Our maintenance staff will be starting at 5:00am instead of the regular 6:00am in order to get out of the heat sooner.
3. We will be closely monitoring water useage. When the heat and humidity are up, too much water can be very problematic. We will only irrigate when absolutely necessary and will hope to catch a break from the rains until the temperature cools a bit.
4. The staffer in charge of filling watercoolers has just been elevated in the heirarchy. Our watercoolers will be serviced daily at a minimum, more often if necessary.
As you go about your day, or round of golf, be sure to monitor your pace and drink plenty of water. A little extra vigilance will ensure that everyone has a safe and healthy day.
See you on the course!
Monday, June 22, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday afternoon's rain persisted overnight and into early Tuesday morning. When all was said and done, we had gotten around 1.5". On Tuesday morning we changed gears from aerification to bunker pumping and edging to try to salvage some play on Wednesday. Thankfully we saw no measureable rain on Tuesday and were able to get the bunkers playable by this morning, unfortunately the course remained too wet to run carts.
With the course still soaked, and more rain in the forcast, we made the decision to try and mow the high areas in the rough and to continue fairway aerification. With the solid tines on the aerators and no plugs to clean up, the soft ground actually made for some easy aerating. We are hoping the rain holds off long enough tomorrow (Thursday) to allow for some morning golf and some rushed mowing. Maybe we'll get lucky and the rain simply won't arrive!
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Enjoy the blog and never hesitate to comment on anything, or get in touch with me personally to answer any questions you may have.