Friday, April 25, 2014

Ball Marks

Over the past few weeks, I have started off my day by heading directly to the 4th and 7th greens prior to any maintenance practices being conducted on these surfaces to monitor the recovery from the winter damage that has occurred.  It's no secret that us turf managers are sensitive individuals when it comes to turf, we consider the property that we maintain as our livelihood and some would say that they have been known to have some pep talks or motivational words of wisdom for areas of concern.  Therefore, you could understand my disappointment when I approached the 7th green this morning.
The golf balls in the above picture represent that amount of unfixed ball marks over the last few days.  Well over a hundred balls were placed in imperfections created by approach shots into the green (see picture below).  The sad thing is that the 7th green is not the only scenario on the entire course, as multiple greens are experiencing an increased amount of unrepaired ball marks this season.

It is important that everyone understands the ramifications of leaving a ball mark unattended.  From an agronomic standpoint, ball marks alter root structure along with creating scars that occur following a mowing.  The recovery process is greatly reduced when a ball mark is properly repaired.  Unattended ball marks also greatly influence the playability of putting surfaces by effecting ball roll.  I have included a short video from the USGA on the proper techniques in repairing a ball mark, please take the time to watch.
In closing, repairing a ball mark is all about respect and serves as the proper etiquette while playing the great game of golf.  Hopefully over the past year, the efforts by the Greens department have shown what our putting surfaces are capable of, but the continued success has to be a joint effort between the golfers and maintenance practices.  Please take the time to not only repair your ball marks but one or two more per green,'s the little things that will help LVC strive in the future!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Process of Aerification and Course Update


The greens department was able to find a break in the weather earlier in the week to perform our bi-annual process of aerification on the greens.  My hat is off to the staff, with limited numbers and a lengthy frost delay on Monday morning, we were able to complete all putting surfaces by 6 pm on Tuesday night.  This process serves as the foundation for not only the upcoming season but improving the soil profile for years to come.  Below are some pictures and description of the process:

The process began by pulling 5/8 inch cores on 1.5 spacing

The next step was to clean up the cores.  Blowers, shovels and level lawns were used to move the cores to the sides of each green before being removed via carts.  Cores are stock piled at the shop and used throughout the season as a fill with projects, stump holes and cart path edges.

Following clean-up, each surface is then rolled to smooth out the imperfections created by the process and the traffic with clean-up.

Next, we applied soil amendments to be incorporated into the holes prior to topdressing.  These amendments aid in the infrastructure on the soil properties along with jump starting microbial activity.

Then sand is applied, this season we were able to put close to 90 tons on our putting surfaces.  The continued incorporation of sand with Aerifications will drastically aid in the health of the greens.  Not only does sand improve the growing medium for roots, but it improves playability with firmness and aids in surface drainage following rain events. 

The finished product.
The timing of Aerification couldn't be better, on Wednesday morning the golf course received a little over 3/4 inch of rain that served as a blessing in moving the sand into the canopy.  More rain is expected tonight through Saturday morning in combination with warmer temperatures that will  expedite the healing process.  You may have noticed the email sent out by Steve yesterday concerning the use of temporary greens, we apologize for this short-term inconvenience.  With the process of aerification, greens become fragile and soft under foot.  That in combination with the 2+ inch rainfall over the next couple of days will create extremely saturated soil conditions.  To avoid imperfections and long lasting damage to the putting surfaces, we have decided to use temporary greens on a day to day basis during the healing process.  Thank you for your support!

Above is a sneak peek at the new view off 16 tee, the contractors still have a few trees to remove but hopefully you can already see the difference.