Course Update

Mother Nature has not been kind to us over the past week and a half, which has made it difficult to provide decent playing conditions.  We've received over 4" of rain since last Wednesday, combined with temps in the mid-80's, that caused the turf to start growing at an accelerated rate.  The weather seemed to affect the putting greens the most, where semi-dormant turf changed overnight into lush, green grass that was slow and bumpy.  Our maintenance practices have changed accordingly to better manage all playing surfaces, and the cooler temps forecasted for the upcoming week will naturally reduce the growth.

Putting greens on holes 3, 10, 11, 12 and 13 still have areas that haven't fully recovered from the winter.  Until recently, the cooler, drier weather has hindered turf recovery, but the warmup is a good thing and I have seen noticeable improvement.  Our verticutting and topdressing program seems to be working and we will continue the process until the areas are filled in.

Tree Removal Update

The removal of dead and hazardous trees continues, despite the relentless winter weather.  My biggest complaint is the increasing snow depth.  Certain areas on the course are inaccessible due to snow drifts and cart paths that are iced over under a thick layer of snow.  We've managed to get around without much damage, but staff safety is always the top priority and we will never do anything to jeopardize that.  Considering the challenges we've faced, the attitude and perseverance of the staff has been awesome!  Our goal of being finished with tree removals by the end of February looks more certain every day.

The area we're currently focused on is between 10 green and 11 tees.  Most of the trees in this area are ash that have been killed by the Emerald Ash Borer and are covered with poison ivy vines, which makes removal that much harder.  Even though it's winter the sap that causes irritation will leak out of cut vines and is just as potent as it is in the summer.  Below are some pictures from this area, along with a few others you may not have seen.

Having the right tools allows us to chip an entire tree
Left of 10 green (before).  Notice all the brush and vines

Clearing underway on 10 looking towards 11 green

A cherry tree with obvious structural damage removed for safety reasons
A maple tree also removed for safety reasons

Dying or dead upper branches indicate a problem

Course Amenities

When it's too cold to safely work outside the staff has been busy designing and fabricating new course amenities for the upcoming season.  New posts will replace the flag sticks on the driving range target greens and will be more visible from the tees.  We are also trying a new design with the tee markers, while keeping the diamond as an integral feature.  Five sets of tees per hole requires 180 individual markers, which took 70 total man hours to cut, sand, stain, paint and install screws.

New tee marker design
Completed markers ready for the season
Staining driving range posts

Course Update

Just a reminder that the golf course will be closed Monday and Tuesday, October 14th and 15th for greens aerification.  While the course is closed two different contractors will be on site installing a new power line to the restrooms behind 15 green, and a much-needed guard rail along the cart path from 6 green to 7 tee.  This is the best time to complete these two projects since the course is closed and there won't be any disruption to the membership.

Course Update

Including yesterday's storms, 7.25" of rain has fallen since June 26th.  That's a large amount of water for the course to handle over 15 days, but it could have been a lot worse.  Some areas around us received double that amount.  In my 20+ years of managing golf courses I have come to realize that too much water is far worse than not enough water.  On a positive note, the extended forecast calls for cooler, drier weather over the next several days, then the mercury starts to climb again as we get closer to the Men's Invitational.  The timing couldn't be any better in allowing the course to dry out and firm up for the event.
In addition to cleaning up debris from yesterday's storms, today we were able to mow and roll greens, mow primary and intermediate rough, mow collars, fix washouts and rake all bunkers, spray greens, and trim yardage markers in the fairways and tees.  It's been several days since the last mowing, but tomorrow's plan is to mow fairways, approaches and tees, and we will be spraying fairways.