Thursday, December 31, 2015

Temporary Greens

After plenty of bonus days of golf to close 2015, it looks as if old man winter is right on the doorstep based on the extended forecast to start 2016.  Low temperatures will start off the month of January allowing the first real chance for the ground to freeze for an extended period of time.  To prevent any harm to the putting surfaces under these conditions, the use of temporary greens will go into effect until further notice.

Temporaries have been placed in all approaches (with exception of #10/#12 being in rough) and I ask that you refrain from walking on any putting surface until conditions become favorable.  I apologize for any short term inconvenience but hope that you understand the long term benefits of protecting our most valuable asset during the harsh winter months leading into spring.

In addition to temporaries, please keep in mind that the course along with the entire club is closed for the month of January. Those choosing to play the course are choosing to do so at their own risk and will be held accountable for any damage.  Please feel free to contact me via email in the event of such bonus days as I will be happy to accommodate and give recommendations as to when the course would be open based on frost delays or lingering snow cover.

Till then, Thanks for all your support during a successful 2015...on behalf of the entire Greens Staff we are excited for what is in store for 2016 and wish all of you a Happy New Year!


Friday, November 20, 2015

Golf Course Update

Turkey day is approaching and after another solid week of weather, the staff has put a wrap on all but one remaining Fall project.

Irrigation Blowout:

The first of the week was dedicated to the annual process of blowing out our irrigation and water fountain lines on the course.  To start, over the past weekend we opened all the drain valves on the course along with shutting the main valve at the pump station to allow the water to drain naturally.  Then with a rented air compressor and used air to force any residual water from the lines by going hole by hole and turning on each individual head.  It's a time consuming process, but mandatory to protect the integrity of our irrigation pipe and heads throughout the dreaded harsh winter months.

#10 Bottom Tee:

Last week, I went over the project of lengthening the bottom tee on #10 in conjunction with squaring the upper tee.  The final touches were completed and here are some pictures of the finished product:

Sand was brought in to form the teeing surface, tying into the existing tee grade. 

A mixture of sand and soil was then used to help make the tie-in manageable behind the tee due to the amount of material brought in for the extension.

Finished look of the new back section.

Overall, we gained 10 yards for the Black/Blue players if not more.  The real benefit is we can now utilize the back portion of the existing tee as well.  Tee placements were limited in the past due to narrow width associated with old squircle (half square/half circle) shape.

In addition to the extension, we squared off the front left portion of the tee to gain additional tee space for this short par 3.
Tee Leveling:
A couple of tees on the property have developed lows throughout the years that would hold water and hamper playability while taking your stance at when addressing a tee shot.   To end the week, we addressed the white tee on #4 and the blue tee on #14. 

First we stripped the entire tee.
Then using our sandpro, we churned the existing tee top to begin working out the imperfections.

Once churned, we added sand and hand raked while using our smart level to guarantee a level teeing surface.

Once level, soil amendments were applied for under the sod.

Finally, the sod was placed back to form the new level tee.
Firewood for Sale:

In my last two newsletter articles, I mentioned to the membership that we are planning to start selling the firewood that has accumulated over my first three seasons at a great price for the members (blog readers too!). 

All wood is seasoned hardwood that has been cut on property and can be available in multiple quantities (truck, half-cord, cord, etc.).  Delivery can also be an option.  If interested, please contact Matt Wolfe at

You will likely not see a post next week, so I wanted to also wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Here's to safe travels and full bellies!  Check back in a couple weeks for our next update as we settle into winter mode with tree removal, equipment repair/maintenance and restoring our accessories that you see on the course.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Golf Course Update

Tis the season!  With a week full on wind and rain, it's safe to say most of the leaves have finally fallen throughout the property.

A small crew was dedicated to #10 for most of the week with the rest of the staff blowing and blowing and blowing.  It also happened to be the last week for the H2B guys, as they are off tomorrow morning for home and the winter months.  Can't say enough how vital they are to the operation and a special thanks to them for another great year!
#10 Tee:
Tee Identity Project:
After two years in the making, we finally finished up the tee identity project by splitting up the tiers on #10 into three separate tees.
I probably should get better at taking before pictures, but first we marked off each section into a perfect square based off the width of our tee mowers.
Throughout the project, we looked at each individual tee to see if we could gain some additional tee space (hard to see the flag and red paint at bottom or picture, sorry) 

The project also allowed us to address any lows with in the tees by stripping and raising with sand.
The finished product of 18 holes of uniformed tee complexes!
#10 Green Tee:
A popular spot during Superintendent's Revenge and the Fall One Day Member-Guest lead to the notion of extending the forward green tee to gain some additional tee space.  The new tee space will provide an additional option during course set-up for the red tee players on a daily basis.

 Dirt was brought in to build up the front to form a new subgrade.  

Sand was then used to form a level teeing surface. 

The finished product
#10 Lower Tee:
In conjunction with squaring off the bottom tee on #10, we wanted to address the back portion.  If you remember, the teeing ground was extremely narrow and limited how far back we could take tee placements for the black tee players (thus congesting divot patterns throughout the tee).

Therefore, we stripped the slope back of the tee and started bringing in fill dirt.
The we started sculpting the new back portion gaining about ten yards of teeing surface. 

I'm standing on the very back of the tee take the photo, the plywood represents the old back edge.
We also stripped additional surface to the left of the tee in efforts of forming a "L" like the red/gold tee on #12.

This will allow us to have a perfect width when placing the blue tee markers side to side during a rotation.
I would expect to report on a finished product next week!
Since my arrival, we have used pinsheets for tournaments and special events.  I often stated that I had hoped to start using pinsheets on a daily basis.  From an agronomic standpoint, this allows us to better monitor the wear and tear of traffic on each green to improve plant health.  From a playability standpoint it provides the opportunity to regulate pin location patterns by spacing out the time between pins being in the same spot.  Thus improving the overall experience by providing parity for the membership on a day to day or weekly basis.
Using a irrigation flag and a slope reading gizmo known as "breakmaster", I would identify all the possible locations throughout a green that would have a slope less than 3% at a 3 ft and 5 ft radius.

The goal is to develop 18-20 pinsheets, I truly want know if this is feasible until I complete all 18 you know with the severity of our putting surfaces, we our limited to the amount of pinnable locations on a few holes.  Having at least 18, will allow three weeks of recovery before returning to the same pin. 

Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Golf Course Update

It has been a beautiful week for bonus days of golf to start the month of November and a very productive week for us towards rocking out Fall projects.  Here is a recap of the week:

#5 XGD Installation:

XGD was on property Monday to install drainage into our final green on the property.  This was the final phase in completing a valuable asset to the health and playability of our putting surfaces.  Below are some pictures that show the process:
To start, a laser site was used to identify the slope of the green and the layout of the drainage lines to intercept surface water.
Once marked, a sod knife was used by hand to strip the putting surface where the drain lines would go.

The sod was removed and stacked to return in it's exact location.

Then the lines were trenched and the material was removed (much of the material was used on the 16 tee construction projects).
As the process continued across the green; the pipe was placed, drainage mix (sand) was added and tamped followed by returning the sod.
#3 Collar Dam:

Throughout years of topdressing, a ridge had formed on the back walk-off portion of #3 green.  The ridge restricted surface runoff following rain events and more importantly the melting process of snow. This project was the start of addressing three areas (#3,#4 & #7) to reduce the possibility of winter injury from standing water that freezes and thaws effecting the Poa.  The area was first stripped, then we simply started removing material with shovels to create a subtle 2% slope towards the back of the green and into the intermediate.  Although winter injury on #3 & #7 has been minimal following my first two winter (geez round 3 is approaching), it was important to address #3 because of the location in relation to the entry & exit of the green and all the foot traffic.

#13 Tee Identity Project:

On Monday, we knocked out one of the two holes that remain towards returning our tee boxes to the classic squared look.  The old tee on #13 was a two tiered tee with curved edges and unusable bentgrass on slope separating the tiers.

The picture above shows the new tees prior to laying rough side.  The tiers were split into two separate tees.  They were measured to form a perfect square to provide uniformity with the rest of the property.

I've often stood in the area pictured above (highlighted) and thought of building a new tee...a little tree work down the left side and who knows, those wedges may quickly turn into 7 & 8 irons. 

#12 Green:

One blemish that plagued an otherwise stellar year on our putting surfaces was the rightside of  #12 greens.  A couple of factors lead to the thinning of a few paces off the collar.  The signs really started towards the later part of June when we were receiving all of the rain.  As many of you know, #12 has a severe surrounding slope towards the middle to back portion of the green on the rightside. 

Following quick downpours or steady large rain totals, runoff would settle and runoff along side the first 5-10 feet of the entire right side of the green.  Extended periods of rain (meaning days and days) resulted in saturated conditions that were constantly under stress of mowers, rollers and foot traffic because the right side also serves as the entry and exit to the green.  Therefore, to help alleviate these stress factors, a small project was conducted to improve soil composition moving forward.

First we aerified to pull a core at a 4inch depth on 1.5 inch spacing.
Next we used soil amendments to improve soil chemistry and water infiltration.

Finally, we topdressed to fill the holes and channels to improve porosity for root growth and drainage.
#16 Tees Project:
I updated everyone last week on the start of a in-house tee construction project on #16 to create a new White/Gold tee and renovate to lengthen/widen the forward tee.  I'm happy to report that both tees were completed and sodded on yesterday!  Here are some pictures to show the progress towards completion.
White/Gold Tee:
I completed the subgrade on Monday and we started bringing sand for the tee top Tuesday morning.

It was a tedious process, utilizing stakes to mark our grade for ensuring a level tee while tamping to compact all along.

Once the tee was to grade with a 4 inch sandcap, we began laying bentgrass for the tee surface.

The finished tee surface.

The finished product with rough sod.
The finished product from the front of the back tee.
Forward Tee:

Utilizing the soil from #5 XGD installation, I started to form the backside of the forward tee to create some much needed tee space to one of the smallest tees on the property (that just so happens to be on a par 3).

Side angle of how much we were able to push it back.

We then started to bring in sand to for the sandcap for the tee surface (First real indicator of how much additional tee space was created).
A site in combination with a level were used to ensure a level teeing ground.

View from the back.

The right of the ropes show how much additional tee space was created.
As you can see it was a busy week, the good thing is that a lot of tasks were checked off the Fall list of projects.  Next week we continue to make progress by completing the tee identity project on the upper tee of #10, breaking ground on bottom tee and forward tee of #10, fall/winter fertility on tees/greens and needle-tining/topdressing greens.  Check in next Friday for your next update on the progress made.