This past week, our team tackled two long overdue projects. The bridge on 15 and the maintenance bridge between 15 and 17 were in need of attention. We replaced all the deck boards and the joists underneath with fresh Oak boards. This will prolong the life of the bridges for many years to come. The bridges are once again open for use.
Labor Day marks that dreaded time of year, aerification. Aerification is one of the most important practices that a crew can perform. The benefits are many such as reduced compaction, improved gas exchange, increase rooting, increased drainage, organic matter control, to name a few. Challenging years such as this one require this type of work on a consistent basis in order to survive. Fortunately, due to our commitment through the years, our greens made it through the summer well.
We are going to use the solid tines once again this year. This is good news as the recovery is much quicker than using a coring tine that actually removes turf. We have been able to transition to the solid tine, again due to our commitment to aerification.
One big difference between this year and year's past is that we are going to start the process on Wednesday. Therefore, the course will be open fro regular play on Tuesday. We will be closed on Wednesday and hope to reopen 9 holes by Thursday afternoon. If wet weather arrives, this process will be pushed back until we are able to get it done.
We thank you for your patience through this process but more importantly, the greens do too.
It has been nice to see many members using the new short game green to work on their game. Over the last week or two, there has been an abundance of ballmarks showing up on the green. Most of these ballmarks are coming from shots taken from the practice tee itself. We want to remind you that the green is NOT designed to receive shots from the practice tee. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, every shot that hits the green leaves a ballmark that will not be repaired. The frequency in which balls can hit the green from the practice tee is excessive and the damage has become apparent. Additionally, for safety reasons, we ask you to not hit shots in that direction even if no other people are on the range. There are residents that live directly behind that area.
Please help us protect our newest asset. The green will be much healthier and more enjoyable if we all abide by these suggestions. I have had several members comment to me regarding this. I am not certain that this will be read by everyone that uses the range. If you see someone doing this, please help us in reminding/educating these individuals. Your help is appreciated.
We have had a beautiful stretch of weather since getting an abundance (4") of rain last weekend. The sun has been shining and we have had low dew points resulting in drier air. These conditions feel great to us but at the same time pull moisture from the turf very quickly, As a result, there are many areas beginning to wilt.
To make the conditions more challenging, we lost our primary pump on Saturday night. The motor seized and is no longer functional. We still have our secondary pump that is capable of roughly half of the capacity of the primary. Pump failures seem to always happen during the hottest, driest times. The good news is that a new motor has been purchased and should be installed some time on Thursday.
What can you do to help the course? First, we ask you to be patient as irrigation may be running during play due to the fact that we aren't able to get it all done at night due to the limited capacity of the secondary pump. Next, if you see areas that are shiny, blue, or yellow, please avoid traffic in these areas. Lastly, as always, please limit cart traffic to cart paths where available. Cart traffic can be the most harmful thing for wilting turf.
Thanks for your patience. Let's hope for a speedy delivery.
We are aware of the bee "issue" in the bunker on #7 fairway. The intimidating site of a swarm of bees is not a great invitation to an already unfortunate break. We have investigated the area and have not found any nesting spots. In addition, we have tried to treat the area but the activity and area is too large to make an impact. After watching the bees for a while, it is apparent that they have no interest in humans. I believe they are solitary ground bees that have independent nests for multiple females. What you see in the "swarm" is all the males looking for the females to emerge so that they can mate. The males of this variety don't have a stinger of any sort. The females do but it is used to insert the eggs into a pollen source. They rarely will use their stinger to defend themselves. The activity will continue for 2-4 weeks and then the area will clear. The solutions aren't ideal for the design of the golf course. Placing mulch or sod over the area will deter this species as it likes bare ground such as a bunker. Although many of us would like to see that grassed over, that isn't a reasonable solution. We believe that the area is safe as we continue to rake the bunker with a machine that stirs the sand aggressively and we haven't had any reports of bee stings. By all means, if you don't feel safe in the bunker, please proceed to play from outside of the bunker. However, if playing in competition, there are stroke ramifications for removing it from this hazard. Thanks for your patience.
This past Monday we had the opportunity to verticut and topdress the greens. I have had several people ask me what the reasoning is for the lines cut into the greens. The primary reason is to "thin out" the canopy of the turf. As the season progresses, the soil temperatures warm up and the bentgrass begins to grow aggressively. Our bentgrass, Penncross, has a tendency to grow horizontally which makes it so the mower blades are unable to cut it. The result is a very dense leaf that can begin to affect green speed. The verticutting splits these runners giving us a cleaner cut for a period following the process. In addition to the verticutting, we apply a heavy coat of sand (topdressing) and then drag the sand into the green surface and the grooves left behind by the verticutting. This provides a smooth, true putting surface. We try to perform this complete process several times throughout the season, however, outside stress factors into the decision. Verticutting should only be performed if you are confident of the turf's health. Above is a picture following the verticutting and topdressing. We had just started brushing as this picture was taken.
Last week, in conjunction with The Lakes Association, we hired a company to come perform the annual Goose Round Up. This process gives great clarity into a "wild goose chase" as the employees try to corral the geese. This year, they were able to capture 26 geese. This in conjunction with the 21 eggs that were destroyed earlier in the season will lighten the population for the summer. Many of the geese will return to the property in the fall. There are a few birds that escaped the process and remain on the property. We continued to make strides toward a goose free golf course.