Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Summer maintenance

To keep the greens in great shape throughout the growing season, we will Verticut the playing surface and then apply a sand topdressing to smooth out the putting surface.  We apply this cultural practice to our greens every 2-3 weeks.  The vertical cutting will cut through any horizontal shoot growth of the plant which will then promote vertical growth.  We want vertical growth as this will decease the amount of playing surface the ball rolls on.  This will equal faster, smoother greens.  This is a tedious process for our staff but we are able to complete the task with 5 employees in 4 hours.  The benefit of this process will last for a few weeks.

As the tournament season slows down for the first week of July, we took advantage of the nice weather and needle tined all the greens.  The needle tine will relieve compaction, allow water and oxygen to enter the soil and for the soil to release the CO2.  We applied a sand topdressing prior to the needle tine.  We will double roll each green leaving the green in great putting shape.  Once again this is not a easy process for the maintenance staff but the benefit will last until we do it again in early October. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Some needed work on the tees

The above picture is the finished product of the new #13 tee box.  Last year we resurfaced the upper tee and it was finally time to finish up the project.  Justin, Assistant Superintendent sod cut the existing surface and we only kept a small amount of the grass from the edges.  Everything else was discarded.  He leveled the 12 inch crown that had developed over the years from the divot mix.  He was able to increase the playing surface with the existing material.  We sodded 1,400 square feet of the tee surface with a low mow Kentucky Bluegrass.  Over the next few weeks, we will keep it watered to insure that it roots in.  We will then start slowly mowing it down to the desirable height of 1/2 inch.  I forecast that we should be able to use it by mid June.
To help spread out some tee box wear, a new #7 Black tee box was built.  It was seeded with Perennial Ryegrass and we will then interseed Kentucky Bluegrass into after establishment.  I do expect for us to use it this year, but when we do, it will add an additional 30 yards to the hole.  A driver can be used but it will bring the pond into play which is at the end of the fairway. 
We had a few pieces of sod left over from the project at #13, so we decided to repair a few of the bunker edges.  With last years irrigation install to the left of #6 green, this sod will be healthy and happy in a short time. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Year brings it struggles...

A new year is upon us but the struggles continue with the warm temperatures.  We have had a few tiny snow storms since we blew out the irrigation system in mid-November.  We have installed over a mile of snow fence on the course.  The snow fence help keep the snow in its place on the ground instead of blowing off with our nightly winds.  The only draw back is that you need to have snow!

To help fight of the possible winter desiccation on our greens, tees and surrounds, we use our 500 gallon portable water tank connected to the tractor.  We also utilize the ponds we have on the course.  First we cut a hole in the ice with a chainsaw.  We then use our trash pumps that we can converted the discharge to two 3/4 inch hoses and we then connect them to roller bases.  This winter we had to up our game on how to supplement the needed moisture.  We started harvesting snow by hand and loading them into Workman's bed  and dumping them on tee boxes.  Moisture in the winter is the name of the game!

 #2 Fairway: only the snow fence snow is left on the ground
 #6 Forward Tee: tee being covered with hand harvested snow
#6 Green: no snow cover 
#1 Green: trash pump delivering water to roller base

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Is it May or March?

I really do the love the weather that we get here in Colorado.  It was warmer in February than in March and March was warmer than May.  We have received more snow in May than the total of both and February and March combined.  So far we have received one snow storm that dumped 14 inches and today's storm has already dropped over 8 inches with more to come.  We have driven the course this morning and the Evergreen trees are holding up great but the Cottonwoods had taken a beating.  We have tree damage on every deciduous tree on the course.  We had to delay our planting of the annual and perennial until the weather becomes more favorable.  So we will just keep them indoors...
I guess I know what we will be doing next week...course clean up! 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Starting off on the right foot...

With the abnormal winter we are experiencing from the lack of snow, to the record days we have set for high temperatures, February 6th became the opening day for golf for 2017.

We have received roughly 60 inches of snowfall to an yearly average of 140 inches.  These conditional have allowed us to have full access to the course.  Justin, Ralph and myself have gone through most of the interior tress on the course raising the canopy of all the evergreens and cottonwoods.  This practice will allow our guests to find their errant golf shot at littler easier and to assist their advancement of their next shot.  This is another one of our practice that we have started to help with our current pace of play program.  Remember this fall and all the native grass we cut down to 5 inches?  Another advantage to us this practice is the increased irrigation sprinkler coverage allowing for healthier grass and better playing conditions.  We have estimated that we have trimmed over 300 trees.  Still to come are cleaning out of the dead and storm damaged limbs in the heavily populated shrub oak patches. 

With the early golf season, we started to take down the snow fence around greens first.  I normally start this process on March 1st, but mother nature had different plans this year.  As you enjoy your early round of golf, you may notice red painted dots around the greens and tees.  We know that when we put this course to bed for the winter, all the power to the sprinklers were working properly.  When we pull out the t-post from the ground, we paint every hole with red paint.  After we fill  the irrigation system with water we will turn on every sprinkler head to make sure it is working properly.  If for some reason it does not work, we know we might have hit a shallow power wire with one of those posts.  We will track the wire to find the break and 9 out of 10 times, it will be on a red dot.  I implemented this procedure several years ago, after experiencing a huge electrical issue on 3 tee complex.  With age comes wisdom!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Just like clock work...

We received a snow storm on December 19th that dropped roughly 6-8 inches of fresh powder.  There was not a lot of moisture in the snow due to the low temperatures that night/morning (-8 degrees.)  The snow stayed in place all day but I knew the wind would pick up at night because the next day was suppose to be sunny and a high of 35 degrees.  Like clock work, when I drove into work I could see the blowing snow, drifts forming and the wind swept turf.  The wind blew till about 11am that morning with some gusts reaching over 26mph. 
The snow fence we had up did its job! The fence broke up the wind pattern and allowed snow drifts to form, insulating the turf.
  The fence on #1 green
The fence on #18 Black Tee.  See how the snow is gone from the left (west) side of the fence.  The wind is blowing from the west, the fence is disrupting the flow, allowing the snow to deposit on the tee surface.  If the fence was not there, the tee surface would have been wind swept.
The fence on #2 fairway.  We only had the left side up before the storm.  The entire fairway would have been wind swept if not for the fence.  We added the other 2 rows yesterday in preparation of the upcoming Christmas Day snow storm.  There is 1/4 mile of snow fence up on this hole alone! 
The tree limbs are working perfectly!  I think we need to add more limbs to the west side to catch more snow.  The snow drift length will range from 10-30 feet long.  Good lesson here on the placement of the limbs for the next time we use this method.
I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Thank you for all the support here at Arrowhead Golf Club.  I look forward to another successful year in 2017! 


Monday, December 19, 2016

Prepping the course for bed

There is a lot of work to be done when you are preparing to "putting the course to bed" for the winter.  Timing is everything! There are many steps to accomplish just the simplest of tasks.  Before any snow flies, we mark all the green, tee and and mainline valves throughout the course.  We do this because you never know if you need to fire up the irrigation system mid winter to apply some needed water.  Have you ever looked for a valve under snow?  It is like finding a needle in a hay stack.
Our first major task is applying all the fungicide and anti-desiccants to the greens, tees and fairways.  You have to make sure you get great contact to all surfaces of the plant blade, so all surfaces must be clean of debris such as leaves, sticks and pine needles.   This task can take up to several days to accomplish due to the nightly wind.
The seconds step is very labor intensive as we will install snow fence around the course.  We strategically place fence on the course to capture the blowing snow.  Due to the nightly wind, any snow we get has a great potential of blowing off the surface.  The snow fence will disrupt the wind to allow the snow to pile up and form snow drifts.  These snow drifts keeps the turf covered to help prevent the grass from drying out (winter dessication.)

This year after taking classes at our local turf show and conference, I learned another approach to snow fence.  We always do a lot of tree work in off-season, so why not use tree branches as snow fence.  We tried this approach on the #6 forward tee.  Lets see if it works.

At some point when the weather forecast looks like it will be cold for a extended time, we will prepare the irrigation system to be blown out with compressed air.  The day prior to blowout, we will drive around the course and close all the air relief valves.  The valves play an important role with the function of the system.  When we are pressurized up during the warmer months, these valves will allow air to move out of the system while keeping in the water.  During blowout, we close the valves to make sure no air leaves the system.  We also manually drain the system of water through quick couplers.  During the blowout, 3 of us will be on the course to operating the satellite boxes and one of us at the pump house making sure we do not get to high on pressure.  Air can compress more than water so we like to blow out at 1/4 to 1/2 of the working pressure (about 30-55psi.) 
No matter what we do sometimes damage and turf loss occurs.  We try to be as preventative as possible, but sometimes you never know what mother nature will give you. 
This damage from the antlers of the mule deer will be repaired in the spring.  Got to love our wildlife!