Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Golf Course Update

It has been a few busy weeks centered around the Thanksgiving here at LVC, we have received two measurable snow events with a couple of inches of rain thrown in the mix. The week prior to Thanksgiving, we put a lot of emphasis on cleaning the golf course in preparation for the winter months with leaf removal throughout the property, along with applying our yearly snow mold applications to all playing surfaces for protection from prolonged snow cover during the upcoming months.  Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week were dedicated to draining and blowing out the irrigation system and water fountains.

Here is a update on some other tasks:


Frosty mornings and snow cover have allowed us to put focus on cleaning woodlines to remove underbrush, dead trees and down debris that has accumulated over the years to improve aesthetics and airflow to certain areas of the golf course.  The pictures above and below give before and after shots of the woods between #2 tee and #3 green.  This is just the start of the little projects that will make a huge impact but will take years to complete and serve as perfect projects when the conditions are not favorable for us to be on the golf course. 

Ryegrass in Fairways:

A couple of post ago, I gave the above picture and mentioned how we have started to experiment with selective herbicides for the removal of the ryegrass that has infested many of our fairways.  The week prior to Thanksgiving we applied our second treatment to the 8th fairway which is serving as our test plot.    As you can see from the two pictures below, yellowing is occurring on the existing bentgrass in these spots and the ryegrass is no where to be found indicating that the treatments are working.  The yellowing should not be alarming as multiple factors are contributing to this discoloration and serves as the main reason we chose #8 as a test plot to monitor this upcoming season for recovery, root development and the status of complete ryegrass eradication prior to treating additional fairways.

Tee Identity Restoration Project:

Before on #8 (Back White Tee)

The warm-up this week has allowed us to continue chipping away at the project of restoring all the tee boxes to their original square design.  As of today, all of #8 is complete, with the hopes of knocking out #9 before the rain sets in on Friday.  Visually it is making a world of difference to the layout and will go a long way towards the classic design.

After on #8 (Back White Tee)
Stay tuned for our next update in the next couple of weeks....till then, Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tee Restoration Project

On Monday, we began our tee restoration project in returning all tee boxes to their original square intent.  Unfortunately, the tees on the property have lost their shape over the years due to additions and maintenance practices.  This project will allow us to create uniformity throughout the golf course while reaping the benefit of adding additional tee space in certain locations.

The process begins will laying out the perimeters of the new tee surface.  The beauty is that majority of the tee complexes where constructed to have square tees, so very little grade work will be involved throughout the project.  Once, the perimeters are set, we then decided on how far we can push the teeing surface to provide adequate (and additional) tee space while being maintenance friendly due to the severity of the slopes on our property.



With over 65 tees, this will be a time consuming project with the hopes of finishing as many holes as possible prior to the ground freezing for the winter.  Stay tuned for updates on our progress as we make a huge impact on returning Longue Vue to it's classic state!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Golf Course Update

Yesterday marked the start of the second stage of Fall Aerficiation on the golf course.  Scheduling conflicts are preventing us from pulling cores on fairways this year but we have moved forward with pulling cores on approaches and spiking fairways.  Below are some pictures and explanations on the process.


Like a month ago, we took advantage of the golf course being closed to conduct the process of slicing fairways. Slicing fairways is a great way to alleviate the negative impacts of compaction from cart and mower traffic.  Over time, compaction tightens up the soil and reduces the ability of the turf to produce long healthy roots.  This practice will allow water, nutrients and oxygen to get into the root zone more effectively.


Since taking over as golf course superintendent at Longue Vue, one of the biggest changes that I have has implemented is the expansion of the approaches or "closely mown areas" in front of the greens.  These areas vary hole by hole depending on multiple factors including yardage, playability and how the expansion could frame the hole aesthetically.  The goal is to provide an area in front of the green to improve playability from a shot making level not only for chip shots (whether to chip or putt) but to improve firmness for approach shots into the green complexes.  This conversion is going to take time as the turf has to adapt to lower heights of cut.  The process began with verti-cutting.

Verti-cutting is a cultural practice used to remove thatch.  Cutting units (that look like ninja stars) are used to create channels into the thatch layer for removal; as seen below.  Thatch is a nuisance to healthy turf on multiple fronts: achieving lower heights of cut, water infiltration, nutrient uptake and root growth are just to name a few.

The second step was using the method of grooming to clean-up the debris (thatch) created from verti-cutting along with providing the added benefit of reducing the density of the leaf canopy. Finished product is shown below:
Finally, we pulled cores at a depth of 3 inches on 2 x 2 inch spacing.
Next spring, prior to the golf season, we hope to conduct these process again.  Followed by an additional verti-cut/groom on approaches in mid-late May.
Ryegrass in Fairways:
A common question as I make my rounds around the property this past season has been, "Josh, what are these different grasses in the fairways and how do they get there?"  Well as much as I would love to bore all of you with the reasoning and explanation of the introduction of Ryegrass into our fairways, how bout I just respond with....I'm trying to find the recipe for eradication!  Unfortunately, the common product used on cool season grasses has been taken off market, so over the past couple of weeks, we have conducted various test trails (seen below) throughout the property with a variety of different products at different rates to see the tolerance on the existing bentgrass and Poa of our fairways. Trials will continue on the 8th fairway over the next couple of weeks, in hopes of finding the right recipe to treat all infested areas next fall. 


Friday, September 27, 2013

Put a stamp on Fall Aerification

Not much to report on the final two days of Aerification as emphasis was mainly placed on returning the golf course into shape for play today (Friday).

On Wednesday, we finished poking and cleaning up the remaining tees on 13-18 and begun mowing rough, push mowing and putting the first cut on Fairways following the slice that afternoon.

Thursday had much of the same theme, we mowed and cleaned.   However, we did put a roll and double broom on greens in the afternoon.  Max and I applied fertilizer to all the putting surfaces following the broom.

The guys using push brooms to work the sand into the canopy
Max and I spending some quality time to wrap up a busy week
All in All a very successful aerification.  Greens, Tees and Fairways all received some much needed attention as we continue to build healthier turf to lay the foundation for the future of Longue Vue.  Thank you for the support and cooperation to conduct these task and we look forward to providing a great golf course for the remainder of the season!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day Two Recap

Day Two was a success, it started off foggy but turned into a beautiful productive day!


We started the day by rolling all the greens prior to topdressing to work out any imperfections that were created from all the traffic due to pulling cores and deep tinning.  Another issue with pulling cores is the pulling of the drain lines on all the XGD greens (as seen here on #4); although just a few seasons old now, these lines still have developed the root mass in comparison to the rest of the putting surface and a lot of heaving occurs.

Following the roll, we began topdressing the greens.  Sand is paramount to the success of a healthy putting surface and improves playability with firmness and surface drainage.

Our new material handler improved efficiency on the day, turning a 8 man job in the past (using a dump truck and shovels) into a 2 man job allowing to get started on coring tees with the rest of the staff.

These views never get old!

After a green was completed, we used a coco drag mat to work the sand into the holes and canopy of the putting surface.

Finished product, over the next couple of days we will continue to broom in different directions with push brooms to continue working the sand around on the putting surface with the hopes of putting our first cut on greens during the first of next week.  I know this is a nuisance, especially with us opening back up for business on Friday, but it is important not to rush with mowing and harvesting the sand.  Allowing the plant to grow through the sand will go a long way on protecting our equipment and reaching the goal of improving our putting surfaces for the long term.


Once greens clean-up was complete, we began pulling cores on tees.  Tees have accumulated a lot of thatch over the years and this process will help eradicate the problem.  Similar to greens, the thatch build-up in tees in preventing water infiltration, nutrient uptake and firmness of the respected playing surface.  Do you ever feel like your walking on a sponge on some of the tees?  Well, this is largely in part to the thatch becoming puffy during the heat of the summer causing unevenness to the surface.  An aggressive program of thatch removal over the next couple of years will allow us to achieve lower height of cuts on tees/approaches to improve firmness and playability.

The following picture will better illustrate the issues that we are facing with thatch in our playing surfaces.  If you notice the red irrigation key to left of the core, the point of the key is indicating how much thatch build-up is occurring beneath the surface.  This 1/4 in to 1/2 in build-up is what is preventing root growth, nutrient uptake and water infiltration along with ultimately creating the puffiness during periods of high heat and humidity.  To the right of the plug, the two pens indicate layers that have formed from the practice of solid tinning, if you look closely, you'll see to brown lines going straight across with sand in-between and above.  This layer has been formed from pushing the thatch down into the sub surface followed by topdressing.   The process of removing cores will help elevate these layers and create a solid sand base to serve as a healthier growing environment.

We used 1/2 tines on 3 inch spacing on all the tees.  I have decided not to topdress these surfaces this time, mainly due to time, budget and equipment constraints.  Following a couple of mows, the holes will close and it will be as if we were not even there.

Today (Wednesday), we plan on finishing the topdress application on the back 9 green and placing a broom on all greens this afternoon.  We should complete 13-18 tees by lunch to allow us to start mowing rough and putting the first cut on fairways following the slice on Monday.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Highlights of Aerification Day One

It's been a chilly start to aerification today, but we are making great progress thus far on Monday.  Here are some pictures and explanations of all that we have going on:


The process on greens began with the practice of Deep-Tinning with a piece of equipment known as the Verti-Drain to create a hole 7 inches deep to oxidize the soil and create a channel to introduce sand deeper into the growing media for root stimulation.

The tines being used are 3/4 inch at 3 inch spacing.

The next step was to pull cores to remove thatch and organic material at a depth of 3-3 1/2 inches.

This is a time consuming process, as all cores are pushed to the collar for removal.

We are using 5/8 inch tines at a 2 inch spacing.


Outside of greens, we began the process of slicing (spiking) our fairways.  Slicing fairways is a great way to alleviate the negative impacts of compaction from cart and mower traffic.  Over time, compaction tightens up the soil and reduces the ability of the turf to produce long healthy roots.  This practice will allow water, nutrients and oxygen to get into the root zone more effectively.

The process creates a slit about 2 1/2 inches long to a depth of about 2 inches. 

I'm please with our pace thus far today, at nightfall.....I would expect for us to have all greens verti-drained and poked.  The clean-up process should be around 12 or 13.  The front nine should be complete on the fairway slicing as well.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we plan on starting to Topdress greens right out of the gates and finish up cleaning cores on the greens.  Once greens are complete we will go right into pulling cores on Tees.

Stay tune for updates each day on our progress.  Thanks for your continued support and cooperation towards this paramount process towards the success of our plant health!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Golf Course Respect

It is a tough pill to swallow for any Superintendent; after the time, energy and effort he or she puts into the responsibility of providing the best possible conditions on daily basis, that they make their morning rounds and experience the sights that I was misfortunate of discovering today.  I wanted to share some pictures.

Cart damage on multiple Tee and Green Complexes that have paths following 1.75 inches of rain

Unfixed ball marks on a handful of greens
Ball marks the size of craters, that if left unrepaired, they will take weeks to heal
Divots that would normally survive, not being replaced
Look at this guy!
There is his home

Putter damage on #13 green

Apparently our chipping green, which is used to practice bunker shots and chip shots, now serves as a new Driving Range tee
Additional damage to the collar
I remember like it was yesterday when I took up the game of golf at an early age (heck my Mom considered it daycare during the summer months) and after walking 36, sometimes 45 holes in one day.....I would come in just prior to Mom picking me up and the Pro at our Mom and Pop club, the late Wayne Haley would say:
"How'd it go out there Josh?" - Pro
" I hit it often, Pro....but it's coming around"- Me
He would always reply " Just remember Son, if you respect the course, she will respect you!"
I've taken that advice throughout my 28 years of playing and working with the great game of golf.
Building Longue Vue for the future doesn't just start with the planning and execution of myself, the greens staff and the Greens Committee but it carries over to the respect that everyone that sets foot on this property must have.  My goal is to provide you the best experience possible, that experience will earn respect and return, Longue Vue will be the best it can be!  A little help will go a long way.

As always, I look forward to seeing you on the course!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rainy Day Post

Rainy days allows me to catch up on a lot of things but more importantly update everyone on what's happening on the course.

Seed Project Germination:

We are 14 days out from conducting the seed project to certain areas of the rough and we are starting to see a lot of germination in groves that were created by the seeder.   The Monday following the Jim Henry (Sept. 9th).  I plan on tackling additional areas throughout the property especially high traffic and Tee to Fairway areas.

Bentgrass Grooming on the Greens:

This past Monday we began our Fall Grooming on all putting surfaces.  Grooming is needed to reduce density while improving the smoothness of the putting surface.  Why reduce density, you ask?  Well, the main factor is to address the amount of bentgrass that is incorporated into our greens and begins to create runners over the summer months (or as I would say, becomes "leggy").  An additional factor is that both the Poa and Bent becomes a touch bumpy during the summer months because of the heat and active growing throughout the day tends to make a puffiness and slows down green speeds throughout the day.  Long story short....a touch thinner aids in ball roll and green speeds.

Our main objective is for the Bentgrass, to tighten up those runners and make less "leggy".  We have a groomer attachment to a set of our reels for the Tri-plex.

Hopefully you can see the slight grooves that are created as it's removing the material

And finally we topdressed.
I plan on doing this every Monday in two directions from now till Aerfication on the 24-26 of September.