Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Golf Course Update

Dear Members,

I know that it has been quite sometime between posts and I apologize for that; look for a season recap and fall project posts to start in the upcoming weeks in which I'll also touch on why such a delay in posts.  In meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to update everyone on the state of the course following the remnants of Gordon over the past few days and the game plan for the week.

Needless to say; unless you are a stranger to the region, Pittsburgh and Western Pa received record breaking rainfall over a 72 hour stretch that could even be started 12 hours earlier when the cold front came through this past Thursday dropping .75 inches of rain in a short 30 minute window.  Fast forward 4 days and the property received 6+ inches of rain, including setting the 2nd all time recorded amount of rainfall on Sunday with 3.5 inches.  So where does this leave us? How's the course?

As expected, the course is extremely saturated....we reached field capacity on Saturday morning, which the end result called for a rain shortened Jim Henry.  The continued soaking rain over the next couple of days resulted in standing water and runoff (streams) throughout the property that I personally haven't experienced in my tenure here.  The good news is that we received very little damage in the form of landslides on the property.  The Driving Range tee held up strong and even the drainage on 13 that gave so many problems during our spring rains, handled it like a champ. 


Every bunker on the course washed and majority of them still had significant water in them as of Tuesday morning. 

The tree to the left of the fairway on #13 was the only "in-play" tree damage experienced.  A few trees within the wood-lines uprooted as well.


Quite a bit of algae formed in lows and runoff points of our putting greens along with other playing surfaces.

So.....what's the gameplan?  And I say this, because our entire week will not be the normal practices that you have grown accustom to.  Because we are so saturated, any damage that could occur would be self inflicted and not to mention the stress being put on a wet, tired plant.

On Monday, we spent the majority of the day (in and out of the rain) addressing the clubhouse and surround grounds.  Today was dictated to restoring the bunkers since the rain has finally stopped.  We began working on the down tree on 13 by cutting up and hauling off by hand due to the limited ability to access with out causing damage with equipment.  The tree on #13 will be a work in progress throughout the week as conditions become more favorable.  We spiked, lightly topdressed and applied ecolite to the areas of algae that had formed.  Finally, we needle tined and topdressed a section of the putting green that has showed signs on thinning.

Moving forward over the remainder of the week, we will place our first cut on greens tomorrow (Wednesday) in three days and start to address the amount of debris down on the course.  All other playing surfaces will be monitored and cuts will follow once deemed dry enough without posing any harm.  With the forecast (including clouds and chances of additional rain), it is highly unlikely that we will mow rough with our machines this week, instead we will address key in play areas via pushmow.  If all stars align and we don't receive any additional rain, I'm hopeful we could cut a few passes around the fairways prior to the weekend if not more.

I ask for you patience during this week and ongoing weather saga that we have experienced.  Like most Superintendents in the region, everyday poses new challenges and our number 1 mindset is the long term health and product that we provide to our memberships.  As always, we will do our best to provide the product that each and everyone of you has grown accustom too!

As for Cart Status over the upcoming days, I am hopeful that we can start Cart Path Only on Wednesday around lunch with strict restrictions via signs, stakes and rope-lines.  This will likely continue for Thursday as well.  With limited sunshine and shorter days, it is going to take awhile for the property to dry out and I hope that all those using carts over the upcoming days use caution and obey these guides to help prevent any long term damage while protecting our asset. 
As always, Thank you for your cooperation and continued support!

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