Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hump Day Update

#5 Approach:

Yesterday's morning frost hindered us from wrapping up the sodding of the new approach on number 5.  However the project was buttoned up this morning.


Once the approach was completed, we began topdressing the seams that are created from sodding.  This process will continue over the next couple of weeks till the cracks start to fill in.  Once the sod begins to root we will start rolling the entire approach to help level out imperfections and seams before placing the first cut.
In the meantime, consult with Steve and the pro shop on how to play the area as it will be deemed Ground Under Repair until the sod begins to root.  Please use caution when walking across or up the slope to the green as the sod could shift and impact your footing.  With the temps that are in store, it should only take a couple of weeks for rooting and the approach will be open for play.  Thanks for your patience and cooperation.
Intermediate Installation Around Greens:
We began working on the few greens around the course that needed to be altered to incorporate our 36 inch intermediate cut around the greens.  Due to the severity of slopes around a few greens, examples being 7, 9 and 16, we had to strip sod from the collar to allow enough room for the 36 inches and to prevent scalping from the uneven playing surface.  Below are some pictures of today's progress:

Removing the area needed on #9

The finished product on #11
These various areas on the property will provide consistency to all of our green surrounds while improving the playability of the intermediates ("first cuts").  Once the sod takes root, we will begin to mow the new sections down to the same height as the other intermediates around the greens.
 XGD Drain Lines:

Have you ever asked yourself why does the drain lines on the greens that have XGD stand out so much?  Hopefully, the picture of #13 green above will help point that out.  Well, the answer is quite simple to understand.  The profile that makes up the XGD system is different than the native mix that composes the rest of the putting surface.  During the installation, sand was used to backfill the trenches of the drainage on each individual putting surface.  This sand will allow water to perk through the profile faster than the existing mix.  Water being able to perk faster would be the same as nutrients leaching through the profile, thus supporting the reason as to why these drain lines stand out on each respective green.  The result of nutrients moving through the profile faster would create an deficiency in that line across the green and the end result would be a discoloration. 
Today, in anticipation of this afternoon's expected rain, Max went to each green that includes XGD and sprinkled an organic based fertilizer to all of the drain lines, providing a little TLC to these areas and improving the aesthetics of the putting surface.  This practice will be performed periodically throughout the growing season.
The Little Things:
Horticulture and the beds play an integral role in the ambience of Longue Vue, we all know that.  Unfortunately, some of the beds can be a nuisance following a rain event.  The beds on the #3 and #10 have mulch directly beside the teeing surface and following an heavy down pour the material washes onto the tee box, with the end result being a pain to clean up along with introduce new unwanted organic matter to the tees.  Another drawback is that mowers have to turn on the mulch when mowing the tee, which can be detrimental to the piece of equipment and increases the possibility transporting the material on the tee.
Bunker Rake Placement:
In the bunker or Out of the bunker, that is the question?  There is many theories and arguments as to where golfers place the rakes when exiting the bunker. From a maintenance standpoint, I would prefer for the rakes to be left in the bunker to reduce the chance of a rake being damaged by a mower or from golf carts running over them.
From a playability standpoint, does the rake outside of the bunker aid or hurt the golfer?  Yes, the rake can aid the golfer by preventing the ball from entering the bunker, but there are repercussions because of uneven stances and awkward lies.  Below is a picture of a rake placement I noticed on #15 this morning in my travels, now imagine the stance and lie that would be created if the rake prevented your ball from reaching the bunker.
I believe that if a ball was intended to be in the bunker then it should make it there and that comes from the worst bunker player in the country, actually i'm probably giving myself credit because in all honesty it's probably the world.  Therefore, I'd like for everyone to begin making the effort to return rakes to the bunkers after use.  Thanks for your continued help as we build to the future and the next chapter at Longue Vue.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Golf Course Update

Construction on the new approach addition for number 5 began this morning with all hands on deck.  The process began by stripping the outline of the approach to obtain it's character.

After quite a bit of tweaking and driving the guys crazy with painting new lines, we began bringing in topsoil to subtle out the rise before the green.

The existing sod will be used to replenish the nursery by the #11 tee where we are using the bent/poa for the new approach along with sodding a few various stump holes through out the property.  We made good progress today and the project should be buttoned up tomorrow.  Below are some pictures of today's progress:

When are you going to mow rough?
Ahhhh, the most common question I've received over the past couple of weeks.  I apologize for any inconvenience this may causing but trust me when I say there is a method to the madness.  In fact, we plan on starting to mow perimeters of fairways and green complexes this week.  Truth be told, I've been holding off as long as possible to mow rough to take advantage of the spring flush in growth following our pro-longed winter, thus allowing the rough to grow while promoting advantageous root growth before the wear of mowing equipment sets in for the season while strengthening the plant for the upcoming stressful months.
A lot of seeding and fertility applications have been done in various areas of the golf course over the past couple of weeks as planned with all of the rain that we have received.  These areas include areas that are prone to heavy cart traffic, stumps and thin areas in the rough.  The delayed start in mowing rough has allowed us to put focus on these areas to play catch up in creating a more consistent and dense rough on the property.
Stay tuned for an update on #5 tomorrow....


Monday, April 15, 2013

Manic Monday

What a beautiful and productive day at Longue Vue.  I wanted to take a few minutes to give an update on a very busy day as the course is really starting to shape and gain some character.

Tee Lines:

Assistant Max and Dario took on the task of burning in tee lines on the entire golf course today.  We are making the transition of riding mowers to walk behind mowers for all the tees with the exception of the Driving Range tee.  This transition will provide detail to all teeing grounds.  The process began with the two crew members establishing the proper direction to the landing zone of the fairway and using a string line to mark a straight line for starting to burn in the lines.  The following picture is an example of the end result on #3 tee:

#6 Ladies Tee:

Assistant Steve and a small crew wrapped up construction of the new ladies tee on #6 tee this afternoon.  The process began last week with the stripping of sod and bringing in dirt to serve as the sub-grade of the tee.  The laser level was used to shoot the grade for the base to insure proper drainage for the teeing surface before sand was introduced to form a 6 inch sand cap growing media.  Below are a few pictures to show today's progress:


The new tee will be opened for play in June, weather permitting.  This allows time for any settling to occur, the sod to tack and the opportunity to aerifier at least once before the ladies can have at it.

#3 Approach Renovation:

You can cross another project off the checklist as the crew knocked out the approach renovation on #3 today.  The project allowed us to kill two birds with one stone as we took the opportunity to prep the area needed to incorporate our 36 inch intermediate cut around the greens, along with adding additional character to a famous par 3.

The expansion of the approach will not only create aesthetic value to hole but will aid in the golfers opportunity to run the ball through the approach on the long par 3.  Below are some pictures of the progress today.

Below is a picture of the final product, the area will roped off for a couple of weeks for the sod to establish roots.  We ask that you use caution when needed to enter the roped area to retrieve a golf ball.


What are these dots?
A lot of the members have stopped me and asked the question, "What are the dots on the greens?".  These are used as the foundation for us to create the uniformity of a 36 inch collar and intermediate cut around greens.  With the severe slopes off many of the greens at Longue Vue (example being the above mentioned #3) this was used to allow us the opportunity to access which green complexes were going to need some sod work this spring for the project. 
With that being said, you'll notice in the next couple of weeks around greens that work will completed on various greens to allow this uniformity and better playing conditions.  Holes include #7, right side of 8, #9, #13 and #16.  You'll also notice areas of discoloration, never fear.......we are utilizing the spring to scalp down these areas to achieve the desired height.
I hope that everyone enjoyed the Sunday at the Master's, yet again....a memorable tournament.  I had the privilege of my first round at Longue Vue this past Friday, to simply put it.....what a great course!  Although the wind was howling and it played long due to the inch and half of rain, I continue to be mesmerized by the layout!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Golf Course Update

I apologize for the delay in posts over the past couple of days.  Myself and the greens staff have been hard at it, while taking advantage of the weather.  I have so much to bring the membership up to speed on, it's probably best fit that i go day by day.  Happy Master's week by the way!

First and Foremost, thanks to all those that ventured out to the Golf Update event last night at the club.  Brooke and I enjoyed meeting everyone and I'm extremely grateful for the turnout along with the excitement amongst the membership.


I had our course with from Mr. Keith Happ and the USGA on Monday morning.  It was a great walk throughout the property as we discussed my visions and plans for the upcoming season.  I'm confident in our discussions that we are headed in the right direction.  He was really impressed in the successful aerification process and the amount of sand we were able to apply.  As you can tell from the picture below, greens are healing nicely with the recent spike in temperatures and as soil temperatures continue to rise.  Greens will continue to improve with the fertility application applied on Monday.

With the expected rain towards the end of the week, the staff was concentrating on seeding various areas of the golf course.  A crew was placed on the driving range to renovate the second tier from the bottom tee to improve the playing surface from the project last fall.  First, we aerified the tee, pulling cores to create holes for a seedbed.  The cores were drug with a steel drag mat to produce a topsoil for leveling of the tee surface.  Once complete, the entire tee was seeded with a rye grass blend followed by a light topdress.  The tee, with a little love from mother nature, should be open for play by mid June.
Emphasis from the remaining members of the crew were place on grading and seeding the various stump hole voids from all the tree removal this past fall.  This process included major grading and re-seeding for the majority of # 6.  The cores from aerification were used to level the stump holes throughout the property followed by seed.
We continued to work on the stump holes with seeding.  Threw a cut on fairways and rolled greens.  Max and I began the process of expanding and burning in lines with walk mowers on approaches.  I'm excited at this addition to the layout of Longue Vue as it will greatly improve the aesthetic value of the property.  Below you'll see a before and after of #15.

The process included us using string line to mark the two directions that will be used when mowing approaches.  The expanded areas will open a wide range of shot options for the members and guest as they decide to putt, chip or use a rescue club.
As we went hole to hole, we also utilized the time to start marking the new uniformity of collars and intermediates of greens.  The goal is to create a uniform 36 inch collar and green for each hole of the property.  This project will begin next week.
We applied our seedhead suppression spray to greens, outside of the pre-emergent spray in mid-may, this is our most important spray of the year.  Poa Annua that composes our greens produces seedheads during this time of the year and it is important to regulate that reproduction of the plant to provide a foundation for the upcoming season.  To simplify it, regulation of seedheads will help us manage growth throughout the season and provide a consistent putting surface.
Construction began on the new ladies tee on #6 as well, the new tee was shifted to the right side of the tee complex to provide a different angle of attack as a result of the major changes that have occurred over the couple of months with tree removal.  Below is a picture of the new layout during the initial phases of construction.

.8 inches of rain allowed me to evaluate the property for drainage.  Most of the morning was spent with repairing bunkers from the washout of the rain.  Once the course begun to dry out enough in the afternoon we rolled greens and I cut intermediate cuts for the first time.
Hopefully this brings everyone up to speed for the past week.  Baring to much rain tonight, the plan is to put the first cut on greens tomorrow, roll and prep the course for Master's weekend.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Final Aerification Update

That's a wrap on aerification, the staff finished up topdressing and brooming greens last night.  The brooming process is used to equally distribute the topdressing layer of sand across the greens while filling the holes.  All greens were broomed in two directions.  This practice will continue over the next couple days as we continue to work the sand into the canopy.  Below is a picture of the process.

Today was an exciting day for me as we put our first cut on fairways, I'm excited that the weather is breaking and we can start putting all the planning into action! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Aerification Update #3

First and Foremost, a special thank you is in order for the membership for giving us the course today to finish up all the tasks needed to complete aerification.  The theme of the winter months has carried over into this week and has really hindered our productivity.  The combination of snow, rain and frost have added up to a full day (hour wise) of lost production.  Therefore, "thank you" for your understanding and patience on a practice that will pay dividends for a successful season.  Spring is right around the corner, with the 10 day forecast, we couldn't ask for better weather to aid in a speedy recovery.

Day 3 allowed us to finish up the cleaning of plugs and initial rolling of all greens.  Then, Assistant Max and I started amending all the greens with soil building products prior to topdressing for better incorporation into the soil.  Topdressing followed, although a nuisance for the mechanic, incorporating sand into the native soil greens here at Longue Vue is paramount to the success and playability of our putting surfaces.  Below are some pictures of the process:

                                                    Assistant Steve applying the sand
Utilizing our new material handler to load up the topdresser 

The finished product
The use of our new material handler was a life saver with topdressing for this aerfication.  With half the manpower needed and a lengthy frost delay, we were able complete 9 greens.  The same output produced in the past on a full day without frost.  Today, we will broom greens in a couple of different directions to move the sand into the holes. 
On a side note, today during frost we are firing up the irrigation system, a true sign that spring is here! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Aerification Update #2

Day 2 was hindered by a lengthy frost delay preventing us from getting started till 11am.  However, the crew worked hard till dark as we were able to finish poking all the greens and only 4 greens are remaining for clean-up today once the frost lifts.  A final touch crew was created yesterday that blew greens a second time along with rolling out the imperfections created from the Aerification process with our Salsco rollers.

Amending and Topdressing will start today on greens as we are still hoping to finish all tasks by tomorrow (Thursday) night, weather permitting.  The weather forecast is shaping up for a speedy recovery and we could not have asked for better timing to conduct this process.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Aerification Update

Old man winter continues to hold a strong grip on the season even into the first of April.  Day one of aerification was plagued by cold temps in the upper 30s along with on and off snow/rain showers.  The crew worked through the elements and were able to finish 7 greens yesterday.  The mid day snow fall hindered the overall production of the day because of the amount of moisture that accumulated on top of the putting surface preventing cores from being pulled properly along with creating a mess with clean-up.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Aeration


The process of aerification started on greens this morning.  We are using a 5/8 inch coring tine to remove the top 2 inches of thatch and organic matter from the putting surface while creating a hole to incorporate sand into the green profile.  This process is paramount to the success of any playing surface on a golf course while improving surface drainage, firmness and ultimately providing a healthier growing medium for roots.

Weather permitting, the goal is to have all greens poked, amended and topdressed before Friday.  The greens department appreciates the patience and cooperation of the membership with this process.  Below you'll find a video outlining the process and the agronomic benefit of Aerification.  Stay tuned over the week with additional post and twitter updates on the progress.