Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The winter struggles

We were blessed with early snow this year in October and November.  It really helped with the moisture content in the soil profile.  Unfortunately, since then the snow has been non existent.  The snow we had on the course has either blown away, drifted and crusted up or melted in.  To combat the winter dryness, we have started water the greens.  Greens are our top priority, so we we will start watering them first until we feel comfortable with the moisture levels and then we will start watering tees. 

We used our TDS 300 to measure the water percentage in the greens soil profile to get base number.  We did this in early November.  10 and 14 greens were between 24-28%.  They are now both close to 18-22%.  With the warm weather we have been getting (mid 50's during the day; high 20's/low 30's at night) the greens are beginning to soften up. 

We have two ways to apply additional water to the course without firing up our irrigation system.  We have a 500 gallon water tank hooked up to a tractor and we use our trash pumps hooked up to portable roller bases.  We have to wait till the temperature gets warm enough in the morning to start the process.  We normally can get out onto the course after 10 am and we stop watering around 2 pm.  We stop at 2 pm because we want all the water we applied to be absorbed into the profile before the temperature drops to freezing temperatures.  Frozen water on the surface of the green can cause ice damage and possible could kill the plant.

 #18 pond. Had to chop out 5 inches of ice to find water
 #18 Green.  Looking good
 Rick tank watering #6 green

    #6 Green. Top 2 inches thawed

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Staying busy in the winter

We have been closed to golf since November 20th, a total of 42 days running with no sign of opening up.  I had a feeling we would open up after the new year but we received 8 inches of new snow on December 28th.  We have been clearing the snow off the greens to avoid any ice accumulation.  With the warmer days and cold nights, you have to keep and eye on all your turf. The sun or warmer temperatures will melt the snow on the greens causing free water.  Unfortunately, with the ground frozen, the green will not absorb the water into the profile causing it to sit on the surface.  Ice can than form at night when the temperature drop.   Ice and closely manicured turf do not mix well as the crown of the plant can been damaged.  Ice damage can occur within a few days and it will take weeks or months to recover in the spring/summer. 

As the course sits dormant, we stay busy in the shop.  We have started our yearly service to all the vehicles.  We have been researching clutches for our EZGO's.  Most of our utility carts are over 14 years old and they have been slowing down over time.  Two clutches are needed for each cart and the total for both are close to $700.00.  We we have 6 carts that need new clutches.  We will repair the worst ones first and over time we will replace the remaining ones. 

We continue to repair the "new" equipment that we received from our sister course that closed down.  Much of their equipment was in disarray.  The equipment that we will be using a lot this up coming year is on the top of the priority list.  This includes: Toro Workman, 3500 Sidewinder, 1250 Toro sprayer and the F-250 pick up with the snow plow. 

I have started to fabricate our new mixing station for our fertilizer applications.  I was able to find two  250 gallon totes from one of our sister courses in Parker and I found a used Jacuzzi pump/motor in the scrap yard.  I can now fill my sprayer with a 150 water in less that 2 minutes!  I will be going out to purchase a new 1hp motor that I will fabricate to a propeller that will agitate the product in the tank.   I prefer to melt down my greenhouse grade fertilizer for my Nitrogen and Potassium input.  I have been using 5 gallon buckets for the past few years and my back is getting a little tired of lifting them.  This process will be easier and faster for all my fertilizer applications.  In the video, I have the transfer pump working.  The agitation motor has not been installed yet.