Thursday, June 25, 2009

Velocity Update

You may have noticed our Velocity trial on #12 "flashing" yellow recently. The yellow flash is a good indicator that an application has recently been made and is working. We have made an application to our #11 fairway and I expect to see the flash in the next couple days. We have made the determination that "the flash" is the most noticeable and most negative aspect of this chemical, but only lasts a short time and will become less noticeable as we make more applications. Thus far in the trial we have seen very predictable results. A few days after an application we see the flash, which is followed by about two weeks of weakened Poa annua while the bentgrass remains strong. During the fourth week of the interval, we see the Poa annua begin recovery. Our trial in #11 fairway is our first "large scale" trial and will be exciting to watch. We have created a "control plot" at the 200 yard marker and will use it to check the effectiveness of the trial as compared to an untreated fairway. You will likely notice the Poa annua decline, but will hopefully still enjoy a quality fairway during the process. Please comment on this blog or email me with any questions regarding the trial. As we get more "photogenic" results I will post some pictures.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer is here!

After reviewing the 10-Day Forcast it has become obvious to me that we are in the beginning stages of our first heat wave of the summer. Nowhere in the aforementioned forcast did it call for high temperatures below 90. What does this mean for the golf course? It means several things:
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

Another rainy day...

Well, another topdressing has been rained out. It seems that we can't catch a break in the weather this year... certainly not on Mondays! With the overabundance of rain that we've had, the frequently rained out topdressing, and now impending 10 days of 90 degrees or more, I am starting to get edgy about our greens. We have scheduled a "venting" for next Monday (June 29th) to open up our greens and let them breath. The profile has remained wet for so long that conditions below the surface are almost certainly getting anaerobic. Not good for a root system! Our venting will basically be a very small tine aerification with "star tines." Star tines are just what they sound like, aerification tines in the shape of a star. This unique shape produces a relatively small hole with an abundance of surface area to allow for air exchange. The goal will be to allow our greens to breath, and not adversely effect the putting surface. Pictures of the process will be forthcoming.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Almost Complete...

Work began yesterday on the new artificial tee line at the back of our practice tee. With the excavation of the old and the pouring of the new concrete pad, we are 2/3 of the way to completion. Our new hitting surface arrived on Wednesday and will be installed on Monday. By Tuesday morning it will be playable.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Encouraging results!

As you make your way down #11 fairway you may have noticed some markings around the 150 yard marker. These markings deliniate the boundaries of our 2008 Velocity trial done in conjunction with the University of Illinois Turf Department. We have done these trials since 2004 and have slowly honed in on the best rate/application interval combination.

A little background information first... Velocity is a herbicide that is relatively new to the turf market that, among other things, claims to successfully remove Poa annua from a stand of bentgrass. This very thing has been elusive and sought after by superintendents for years and now, it seems, we may have found something. Early on in the trials it was very evident that Velocity worked. In fact it worked so well that most superintendents (including myself) wouldn't consider using it! With the older rates and application intervals, the trials showed us that the Poa annua would die out and leave a void in the turf. Seeding was usually necessary to fill the void and frequently Poa annua seed would germinate alongside the new bentgrass. The net result was a damaged fairway and a small gain on the Poa. At CCC we decided to take a "less aggressive" approach and go after the Poa annua with selective growth regulators so that we would never have any voids in the turf.

Recently, through Velocity trials similar to those conducted on our course, we have found that longer application intervals were the ticket to a slow transition to pure bentgrass. While conducting these trials, we became keenly aware that within our Poa annua patches was a good amount of bentgrass. With this new approach, we have been able to injure (not kill) the Poa annua at monthly intervals, allowing the bentgrass to make a surge. Repeating this process monthly for five months virtually eliminated the Poa annua all together. Click on the picture embedded in this blog and you will see one of the plots on #11 fairway. You will notice (if you look closely) that below the plot there is a fair amount of lime green Poa annua. Within the plot there is virtually none. The University rated this plot at 1% Poa annua. The encouraging aspect of this plot is that we never saw the Poa dying out, it just slowly went away! We will be repeating this entire trial, plus a few more protocols, on #12 fairway in 2009 and will be treating the entirety of #11 fairway. I will post pictures and thoughts as we continue through the season with this exciting research.

What the....!

What do you get when you hire an ex-sports turf manager at a country club? You get a ballfield on your practice green!
Assistant Superintendent Mick Tempel called upon his past to create a "to scale" ballpark on the west half of our putting green. "CCC Field" was used for the CICCA Ladies Golf Tournament and by all accounts was a "home run!"
On the rest of the course, we are preparing for the busiest month of the year with Ladies CICCA, Men's Member-Guest, Club Championship and the beginning of the Juniors Program. It is safe to say, my staff will be tired by the end of the month. Over the next month I will be bloggining about our new Velocity trial on #12 among other things so keep checking back for updates!