Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Maintenance Update 08/07/12

I would like to give a quick update on what we did on the course while we were closed yesterday:
  • The greens were verticut twice, mowed and topdressed again.  While they will be a little bumpy for the next couple of days, we will continue rolling daily to smooth them out and keep the speed up.  With the high temperatures and need to water nightly, the greens see a lot of growth during the day, making it difficult to maintain quick green speeds.  We will continue with weekly applications of growth regulator as well as continue the process of verticutting and topdressing to help keep them more consistent.  As the nights get longer and daytime highs start to decrease, the leaf blades will get tighter and we will be able to maintain a little quicker green speeds.
  • The approaches were aerified with 1/2" tines, cleaned off and mowed.  The turf in the approaches and green surrounds is very thick and we have not been getting a very good cut with our mower.  The plugs were allowed to dry then we used a metal drag mat to bust the soil and incorporate it into the turf canopy.  This should not inhibit play and we should be seeing a much better cut with our mower.
  • The hot weather continues to dry the course out.  We have been limited with our water, but we have been spot watering dry areas of the fairways daily.  Inevitably, with high temperatures and low humidity, areas are going to dry out and go off color.  We will continue to do our best to hold on to what we have, hopefully for only a few more weeks until relief.
Thanks for all of the positive comments and hang in there for hopefully a few more weeks!
Chuck McCaskill, CGCS

Friday, July 27, 2012

Maintenance Update 07/27/2012

It hasn't taken long to jump right in to 100 degree days.  We have been very busy maintaining and improving our golf course.  Here is a rundown on what we have and have had going on:
  • The greens were aerified and verticut this past Monday.  As is typical this time of year, there is a great deal of grass on the greens.  Leaf blades are thick and succulent and it is difficult to keep the greens at a consistent speed.  Aggressive verticutting and aerification help to thin the turf, minimize grain and, coupled with sand topdressing, help to maintain a firm surface.  Since the course is free of play next Monday, we will topdress again to help smooth the surface.  We have been mowing and rolling daily since aerification to help with speed and smoothness.  I have no doubt they will be rolling quite well for the Club Championship next weekend.
  • The course was also fertilized this past Monday.  This slow release fertilizer will feed the turf for the remaining growing season.
  • Fleetwood Services has moved in equipment and started erosion control on the creek in front of #2 green and in front of #17 green.  They will use a combination of gabion baskets (like what is on #10) as well as rip rap (placement of large stone like what is behind #8 green).  Upon completion of the erosion control, they will then work to remove the gravel bar settled in the center of the creek.  All of this material will be moved to the large depression on #18 side of the creek.  Depending on weather, they anticipate finishing by the beginning of September, or shortly thereafter.
  • We are currently in the process of re-building the green tee on #1.  We completed shaping the complex yesterday and will have sod delivered next Monday.  We will also be re-sodding the back tee on #12, re-sodding the center of #2 tee and shaping/re-sodding the back of #7 tee in the next couple of weeks.  Currently, #12 has diamond zoysia.  This type of turf creates a very tight surface, but does not hold up to overseeding and divots very well.  We will be sodding #12 and #7 with xeon zoysia which should recover a little better from divots.  I am working on plans to re-shape the tee on #2, so at this time we will just place sod in the center utilizing bermuda.
  • We are currently in the process of really pushing the growth on the tees.  It has been hot enough for all of last year's rye to burn out leaving just bermuda.  We are using a combination of foliar and granular fertilizer, along with a soil penetrant (aids in water penetration) to help push the turf.  We may very well look at giving many of the tees a break on overseeding this year and just spread rye on a select number of tees.
  • The week following the Club Championship, we will begin aerifying the approaches and green surrounds.  This will be a timely process and will likely take the entire week to complete.
  • Next Monday, I will be making an application to the green and tee complexes to control goose grass, crab grass and nut sedge.
  • I have also designed and ordered new flags for the course, which should be put into play in the next couple of weeks. 
As always, I appreciate any and all comments and/or suggestions.  Shoot me an e-mail or flag me down on the course!

Thanks and have a great August!
Chuck McCaskill, CGCS

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Maintenance Update 05/30/2012

We received some much needed rain over the last couple of days.  This past Monday night we had right at one inch and this morning a quick shower dropped about a tenth of an inch.  Unfortunately this morning's storm had some really high winds and there are a lot of dropped limbs along with an entire tree from between #10 and #16.  We will be working diligently to get the mess cleaned up along with the trimmings from Mr. Lockman's work between #1 and #18.

The course was closed yesterday to allow us to verticut and solid tine aerify the greens.  The processes went quite smooth, as we aerified, verticut four times, and lightly topdressed with sand.  The aerification process will help to relieve compaction as well as aid in allowing gas exchange in the root zone (allowing oxygen into the root zone).  Because of the topdressing, the greens were only rolled today and not mowed.  We will resume mowing on Thursday.  After aggressive verticutting, the greens may not look the best right now, but they are still rolling great and should recover very quickly.

With the recent rains, the rough has gotten very thick.  We are now using two rough units to get all of the rough mowed this week at 1.5".  The mowers are leaving quite a bit of clippings behind and we will also work to get this cleaned up.  I may need to look at raising the height a bit to 1.75".  I certainly realize the difficulty in having the rough too deep, but it may be necessary depending on the weather.

I have done some rotation to the cart path only holes.  #1 is now 90 degrees, with some traffic control left in some of the thinner rough areas.  I will be making a portion of #3 and all of #17 cart path only for the next couple of weeks.  Please remember to keep carts on the path around the teeing areas and away from the green complexes.  Holes #1, #3, #7, #8, and #17 tend to get the rough beaten down the most so I will be maintaining a rotation of keeping some of these holes cart path only at all times throughout the year.

The bunker crews added sand to the final bunker on #18 yesterday evening.  They have just the drain pipe to finish in front of that green and the process will be complete.  Before the drain pipe was replaced, we cut the sod from this area and used it to repair the right side of #10 fairway.  This area is now roped off so please keep carts outside of the ropes on this hole as well. 

I understand hitting shots out of the new bunkers can be quite difficult, given the night and day difference from what we had before.  We will continue to work on our raking practices and, over time, they should become more firm.

Thanks and have a great rest of the week!
Chuck McCaskill, CGCS

Monday, May 21, 2012

Maintenance Update 05/21/2012

Good morning! 

It has been a very busy spring for our department at the club and I apologize for not updating in some time.  Here is what we have going on at the course:
  • Greens aerification.  We last aerified the greens on April 16th with 1/2" coring tines.  It took quite a bit of sand to fill all of the holes.  As soon as we aerified, we saw a streak of very cool mornings and high temperatures below 80.  This, coupled with the aggressive aerification and the amount of sand, the grass essentially shut down for quite some time.  It took a very long time for the holes to heal over and for the surface to smooth out.  While there is still evidence of the aerification, I feel they are much smoother and are at a good pace.  We were able to get out last Wednesday afternoon between groups and apply a light sand topdressing, which aided in smoothing them out.  We are currently scheduled to aerify again next Tuesday, May 29th.  However, with the length of time it took for the last recovery, we will not be pulling a core.  Instead, we will utilize a solid "star" tine, which will help relieve compaction and aid in gas exchange at the root level.  There will be minimal disturbance on the surface.  We will also be verticutting and applying a light topdressing.
  • Bunkers.  We are nearing the completion of the bunker project.  As of this morning, crews were digging the drain lines out of the chipping green bunker and will then move to shaping the bunker on #18 (yes, the bunker will be staying on #18).  The crews will also be removing and replacing the drain pipe running from the cartpath and across the fairway.  Finally, they will be shaping and grading the drainage ditches between #8 and #9 as well as the area between #7 and #8.  These areas will be dug out, brought to proper grade, and then Portland cement will be utilized (much like the bunkers) to create a stable bottom.  In the event of flooding and silt deposit, we will have a solid base to be able to clean out any deposited mud. 
  • Tree Trimming.  Mr. Harold Lockman has been very busy trimming up tree canopies over the last several weeks.  It has been a challenge keeping everything maintained on the course along with cleaning up the limbs.  We are working to keep limbs picked up in the field of play so they aren't too much of a hinderance.  Mr. Lockman will continue focusing on the canopies along the fairways.  This should help tremendously in areas where shade lends to a thin stand of turf.
  • Cart Traffic.  As evident on holes #7 and #8, limiting cart traffic can do wonders for the quality of turf.  I will be putting more holes into a "Cart Path Only" rotation.  For example, the right side of #1 and the right side of #17 are severely compacted from cart traffic resulting in a thin stand of turf.  My plan is to make these two holes cart path only, but remove the ropes from #7 and #8 allowing carts onto these holes.  I know having the starting hole cart path only makes it difficult to maintain tee times, so I will start rotating these holes more frequently.  I also removed the ropes from #12 and #16, but please keep in mind that all par 3's should remain cart path only.  Also, as a general rule of thumb, carts should remain at least 30 yards from the greens and remain on the paths around the tees.
Thanks and I hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day!
Chuck McCaskill, CGCS

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Maintenance Update 04/19/12

Good afternoon all,

I just wanted to give a quick update on all the happenings on the golf course:
  • This past Monday, the greens were aerified.  Since the greens tend to get more compacted over the winter (especially with the rainfall we've had), I decided to pull a 1/2" diameter core by almost 4" deep.  This is a little bigger than normal and we had to apply extra sand to make sure the holes were filled completely.  With the cooler mornings and heavy dew, we are limited by what we can get done on the greens in the mornings.  The dew causes the sand to stick to the roller and mower and creates quite a mess.  We have been going out, once everything dries, and mowing in the afternoons.  While quite sandy now, the greens are still quick and smooth.  Keep in mind with sand on the surface, the greens will not break near as much!
  • The entire course was fertilized the past Monday as well.  If we catch some of the rain expected on Friday, the turf will really respond.  This application should carry us through most of July.  At that point, I will make another application to carry us through the rest of the growing season.
  • The bunker crews are still hard at it.  The bunkers on #6 and #17 have been sodded.  The bunkers on #16 and #4 have been shaped and approved by the architect.  The crew is currently in the process of adding the Portland cement to these three bunkers.  The final bunkers on #5, #12 and #13 have been marked.  The architect painted out a new fairway bunker on #13, thinking the old one would be removed.  After discussions with George, we are keeping the fairway bunker where it is. 
  • Utilizing the excess sand from the bunkers, we are constructing a new tee box to the right of the path on #17.  This will be used for the green and red tee markers.  We are also raising the green tee box on #15.  The plan is to make subtle improvements to other teeing areas as we continue to progress through the year.
  • A new landscape bed was added around the water station by the driving range tee and one of the beds behind #1 and #10 tee was substantially expanded.
  • A growth regulator and weed pre-emergent was applied to the fairways on Wednesday.  I saw great success last year utilizing the pre-emergent just in the fairways with regards to keeping them relatively free of goose and crab grass.  This year, we will be including the perimeter of the fairways as well as the green surrounds.  The growth regulator works to slow down the vertical growth of the turf and force a more horizontal growth.  It helps to "tighten up" the fairway turf, cuts down on clipping yield and suppresses bermuda grass seed heads (which wreak havoc on allergies this time of year).  This is the start of a monthly application we do throughout the growing season.
  • I am about 3 weeks in on a weekly application of an organic acid soil amendment to the tee boxes.  After using straight well water most of last year, the tees became quite compacted.  The high salt index of the well water along with elevated levels of bicarbonates tend to "tie up" the soil particles, creating a compacted environment.  The organic acid amendment, with the help of rainfall, helps to decrease the salt index and remove the bicarbonates.  The end result are tee boxes which you can finally place a tee in.
As always, I appreciate any and all comments.  I can be reached by email at aggieturfman98@gmail.com.  Also remember to check me out on Facebook at Diamond Oaks Golf Course Maintenance and on Twitter @aggieturfman98.

Thanks and have a great weekend!
Chuck McCaskill, CGCS

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Maintenance Update 03/21/12

We received 5" of rain from Monday evening through Tuesday morning.  The creek flooded holes #1, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 18.  While areas of these holes are a mess, the south side of the course is ok.  We will keep the course closed today to concentrate on clean-up and should have the course back open for play on Thursday. 

On Monday, we were able to get nearly all of the course aerified before the rain started.  I used a deep-tine aerifier to aerify holes #1, 7, 8, and 10 as well as all of the high traffic areas between the fairways and cartpath on the rest of the course.  This aerifier is able to penetrate down around 8" and has a "fracturing" effect to greatly alleviate compaction.  We used our normal fairway aerifier for the rest of the fairways.  We added close to 500 pounds to this unit and were able to aerify down to about 4".  I am anticipating the south side of the course will be dry enough this afternoon to get mowers out and clean up the tufts of grass.  Also, with the rain and the course being aerified, we will be cart path only the remainder of this week to allow time for recovery as well as allowing all of the wet areas to dry out without damage.

Also with the recent weather, we have seen some pretty substantial growth in all of the turf.  We will be raising our rough units to 1.5" to minimize the amount of clippings.  Last year, we were able to stay at this height throughout the growing season, granted we were also in a drought.  The previous year, we had to raise the height to 2.25" because of the clipping yield, which greatly affected the rate of play.  We will do what we can to maintain the roughs at 1.5", but I will continue to make the determination as we continue to head into the growing season and the amount of clippings.  It takes us approximately 5-6 full days of mowing to get around the entire course.

The bunker crews have remained busy.  The trap on #1 was completed last Friday.  We are waiting on area sod farms to have a decent supply of sod before adding sand to the other bunkers.  As of last week, sod farms were only about 10% green.  We took delivery of 6 pallets of sod last Wednesday, but I didn't think it was the quality I wanted to see.  We took sod out of the fairway on #16 to place around #1 bunker so it would be ready for the weekend.  Hopefully with the warm weather, sod farms are seeing a quick green-up and we will be able to get the bunkers on #7, 8, 6 and 17 completed next week.  After 5" of rain, no sand was washed from the face on the new bunker on #1.  The water level had risen into the bunker, with some settling of silt on the surface of the sand, but this was removed Tuesday afternoon and fresh sand was applied.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Maintenance Update 03/13/12

The bunker renovation process continued yesterday after a weekend full of always welcome rain.  The crew has finished shaping the bunkers on #1, 7 and 8.  New drain lines had to be installed in both bunkers on #8, which led to some clean-up work in and around the pipe from #8 to #7 to allow for proper drainage.  The timing to which Portland is mixed on these two holes depends on how much they dried out since the rain.  As of yesterday, the floors were still too wet to get the tillers in for mixing.  The greenside bunker on #8 had as much as 18" of sand in the bottom and up along the face, as you can see from the photo below.  Much of this lip was lowered down to the native soil line to allow for a smoother transition to the green.


With the warmer weather, I felt we were ready to verticut the greens and get out our first topdressing.  We spent the entire day yesterday on this project.  I thank you all for your patience in allowing me to close the course for the day to ensure we were able to adequately finish the project.  The vertical mower has blades that run vertical to the turf and are able to be set at variable depths.  Vertical mowing helps tremendously to remove old dead materal from the turf canopy, smooth the surface, and reduce grain.  The following describes our process:
  • We verticut in 4 different directions.
  • The material brought to the surface by the vertical mower was then blown off the green.
  • Walk mowers were used to mow the greens and also help smooth the surface.
  • Once the turf was completely dry, we mowed again with the tri-plex mower to pick up even more material.
  • We then topdressed with sand lightly and swept the sand into the surface.
  • Today, the greens will just be rolled and swept again.
  • The following photo shows Mario verticutting #8.  Notice the amount of material being brought up at the cutting units.