Friday, April 19, 2013

Rounds 4 Research in Tennessee

Several years ago the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association created a program to help raise much needed funds to help support local research, education and provide scholarships.  In three years time the Carolinas GCSA raised over $350,000.00 through an online auction of donated rounds.  The popularity of the program was so successful that last year the Environmental Institute for Golf (GCSAA's philanthropic organization) launched the program nationwide so more state chapters and turfgrass foundations could benefit from this great program.

Today the Tennessee GCSA launched it's participation in the Rounds 4 Research program in Tennessee for the first year.  Donated golf rounds be auctioned on the Rounds 4 Research site from August 1-11, 2013 and winning bidders will have one year to play their round (usually defined as a round of 4 golfers).  The great thing about this program is that it gives golfers the possibility to play courses that they may not have ready access to, but most of all a minimum of 80% of the funds raised by the auction will be returned directly to the TGCSA for use to fund research at local universities, provide environmental education, and educational scholarships.

I am very excited about this opportunity and I hope that anyone reading our blog will keep this program in mind as we get closer to the auction date and bid on the donated rounds.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Greens verticutting in "Pollenville"

 This morning we did our first verticutting of the year.  This process removes large and laid over leaf blades to make the greens smoother and faster.  I tend to like the results that we get from verticutting our greens in circles.  This has worked really good for us in the past.
 Verticutting in circles, in my opinion, hits the grass blades in different and unique angles different than what we could achieve from straight line verticutting.  This process also means that we are continuously verticutting and not making even more tire turns on the surrounds.
 After the verticutting we mow the greens with our new Jacobsen Eclipse 322 greensmowers to remove the excess grass clippings from the putting surface.

 After we mowed the greens the topdressing sand goes down.  We use our Dakota 410 Turf Tender spin topdresser to lay down a light layer of sand on the green.  This sand helps to reduce the thatch layer, smooths out the putting surface, and helps the putting surface absorb incoming shots.  We have used green dyed kiln dried sand for many years which we and our proshop likes because we can topdress at any time and unless the golfers see us out topdressing they can't tell and the usual complaints about topdressing the greens all go away.


 The lovely city that we live in, Chattanooga, Tennessee, is annually listed as one of the top three cities in the nation for allergies.  It is a great place if you are an allergy doctor but not if your profession puts you outside every day during the spring.  This is a picture of #13 green that I took the other morning after a light rain that morning washed all the pollen on the putting green surface down to the front of the green.
 Here is a lovely picture of the lake in front of #14 green.  I like to call this the "Pollen Tidal Wave".  It is amazing and disgusting to watch the plumes of pollen moving across the air and then get washed up on the shoreline.  And to think that this is what we are breathing into our lungs everyday. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring Cleaning and Cleaning Out

The growing season is off and running for this year.  The greens have come out great and the new Jacobsen Eclipse 322 greensmowers are a tremendous hit with everyone.  The quality of cut is unlike anything that I have seen in my career.  The greens are smoother than they have ever been which our golfers are definitely noticing.  We are experimenting with heights of cut and frequency of clip to provide faster greens speeds.  I think it is going to be an exciting year at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.

The grass is not the only area at the golf course which is getting a new look for this year.  After several years of loosing blue bird eggs and hatchlings to the long arms of our resident raccoons our wonderful volunteer blue bird monitors from the Friends of Harrison Bay State Park have devised a plan to thwart their evil ways.  Following a predator deterrent model in the Tennessee Conservationist magazine, they made simple but affective wire tube extenders which prohibit the raccoon from reaching into the nest.  Hopefully this will eliminate the lose of the eggs and hatchlings from now on.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Two Weeks Since Eaglet Hatching

It has been two weeks since the eaglets at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay hatched.  Watching the eaglets hatch and grow has been the highlight of my year so far and I am excited to continue to watch their growth and anticipate them fledging the nest.

Here is a great video (or at least I think it is great)  of a family dinner last week.  The eaglets are getting fed a steady diet of fish, turtle, and waterfowl about every thirty to forty minutes during the day.  Without the benefit of infrared cameras we don't know if they are getting any midnight snacks or not. 

I like this video because it shows off the huge "feet" these little eaglets have.  All the better to catch fish with later in life with.