Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sunlight, Growth, and Patience...My Three Requests

With over 20 inches of rainfall in 2015 so far and close to 10 inches of that coming in April alone, the golf course is greening up at a slower pace than normal.  Areas which have been completely saturated over the winter months with little to no sunlight to dry them out are coated in a combined layer of algae and thatch/clippings which have floated up in all the rain.  As you can see in the picture to the right where there are breaks or cracks in the algae as it dries, there is green grass under there we just have to work to get it to the sun.

We have been fortunate this week that the algae/thatch layer has begun to dry out in sections.  In an effort to remove the material from the fairways we began vertical mowing these areas to bust up the layer and then used our turbine blowers to blow it into the roughs.  The vertical mowers, or verticutters as they are called, have blades which are positioned vertically and cut or slice into the surface, lifting and breaking up this layer.

Hopefully the sun will continue to shine and the soil temps will climb which should generate the growth in the turfgrass that we all want to see.  We will have some areas which will have to be sodded or seeded so we will have to ask for your patience as we work through these areas.  Patience is the key word here, both on the part of the golfer and for us as well, as we want to provide our guests with the best possible playing conditions just like they want to play on the best possible playing surfaces.

One practice we will be doing over the next few weeks will be to solid tine the tee boxes and the approaches.  This cultural practice will help to allow water to penetrate into the soil and will also allow for sunlight and air to reach the soil surface and the root system.  Just like aerification of the greens this is a vital process in the success of our golf course.

The tines we will be using for this process will be 3/4" solid tines which will be set to penetrate around 2.5" into the soil.  Following the venting process these areas will be mowed or rolled and should not affect your ball roll or play in any way but will pay off in dividends as the grass starts to grow.

We have also begun the process of leveling the irrigation lines around the holes which were renovated this winter.  Adding sand to the trench lines will help smooth out the area and will eliminate any disruption to your ball roll.  It will take a few topdressings to completely eliminate any evidence of the trench lines but they will be gone before you know it.

As I stated before, please be patient as we work to repair the golf course from the damage caused by the four wettest months I can remember in my career.  By the end of the summer this will all seem like a bad dream.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Punching Holes, Spreading Fertilizer,and Growing Up

It has been a wet spring so far at Harrison Bay this year but there is still work that we have to get done to get the course ready for when the sun does come out and the grass starts growing.  I have been assured that the sun will eventually come out and the rain will eventually stop.  Still keeping a look out for Noah though.  This week we performed our spring aerification to the greens which will help jump them out of their winter dormancy and provide them with the new juvenile growth they will need to get through the summer. We are very pleased with how the greens came out of the winter this year due in most part to a different chemical and fertilizer program that we used which kept the greens healthier during their winter nap.

As always I was very proud of our golf course maintenance staff for their dedicated work on Monday to get the greens completely topdressed, aerified, drug, rolled and blown off all the while dealing with a constant and aggravating light to moderate rain.  It is definitely not textbook by any means to aerify in a rain event but when you are only closed for a couple days you make sure you get it done.  We will continue to roll and add light amounts of topdressing to the greens over the remainder of this week to get the greens back in top notch form.

With the course being closed on Monday it was a perfect time to get our season long pre emerge and fertilizer spread on the course.  Based on our success over the past several years we continue to use Harrell's PolyON controlled release fertilizer on our course.  This year we chose to try a different pre emerge product from FMC called Echelon.  Changing the chemistry or product we use from time to time helps to reduce or eliminate the chance of weeds becoming resistant to the herbicides we use.  Thanks to Rusty who drives the spreader truck for Harrell's for doing a great job without any damage to the course even though it was rather wet out there.

We have also spent a good amount of time this spring watching HB7 and HB8 grow from little eaglets into the fish, turtle, and coot vacuums that they have become.  These two are really keeping Elliott busy keeping the pantry full and are really getting a personality that all our viewers love to watch.
Even HB7 at his/her young age already has an idea of where the furniture should go.  At this stage, two weeks old, they are beginning to get their pin feathers, moving out of the nest bowl to explore their new world, can focus on their parents without looking at a blur, and, of course, they are beginning to grow those hilarious "clown feet" that we all love so much.

Hopefully the rain will soon go away and we can start having several days or weeks of good growing and playing weather.  Soon the air will be filled with the sound of new eagles flying overhead and the sound of golfers enjoying the course we work so hard to provide.