Welcome to my blog! My intention is to give you a more detailed, "behind the scenes" look at what the maintenance department does to take care of The Farms Country Club's private, 18-hole championship golf course. Enjoy!

Divot Day 2013!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Maintenance Staff Performing Winter Duties!

The maintenance staff is busy cleaning, repairing, sharpening and servicing the equipment inventory. We do all of our own preventative maintenance and repairs to over seventy pieces of equipment during the winter months. Winter maintenance not only increases the equipment life but reduces “down-time” during the playing season.

In addition to equipment maintenance, course supplies such as benches, water cooler houses, ball-washers, tee markers and the like, are repaired, cleaned and painted.

Besides the time at the maintenance facility, we also do tree pruning and removals and handle all the club's snow removal duties.
Never a dull moment.
No, we do not have the winter off.

Sidewinder on lift being serviced

Ed Smeriglio installing all new hydraulic hoses he fabricated "in-house" 

Chris Berry disassembling all green and tee reels

Chris Sabino putting a fresh coat of paint on cooler boxes and other supplies

Carl Milano  Using Cedar shakes to put new roofs on water cooler boxes

New roof completed on this one

Tee markers sanded and fresh epoxy clear coat applied

Dead Maple tree removed on left side of hole #9

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Final Winter Preparations... USGA Northeast Update

Below is the latest Northeast regional update from the USGA Green Section about winter course preparations. It is informative and sheds light on our preparations for the normal impending turf stresses we encounter during the winter months.
We applied our last application of sand to the greens this past week, finalizing our protective blanket which insulates the crowns (heart of the plant) on putting green turf. The insulation the sand provides has served us well in years past. We apply an average of 3 tons of sand per green, obviously relative to green size. The sand is not dragged into the surface because the abrasion would compromise turf health. Another plus to the sand application is that when spring arrives and new growth starts, we just perform a light dragging and the greens are firmer and smooth when opened. Soft spring greens would not allow us the opportunity to use the heavy, sand-laden equipment for fear of root damage and the depressions it would cause.
Notice in the article the removal of sod and re-grading on fronts of greens which allows for better surface drainage. We have done this on a few greens over the past few seasons with great success.
One more point... Tree issues. We continue to improve turf by reducing tree competition in primary turf areas by pruning, very selective removals and hopefully some root pruning this year (to be explained in subsequent blog entry). We love trees too! We exhaust every option before a tree is removed.


By Adam Moeller, agronomist, Northeast Region
December 2, 2014

Golfers and superintendents are hoping to avoid a repeat of the severe winter injury that was widespread across the region last year.
Last minute winter preparations are underway at many golf courses throughout the Northeast Region. Severe winter injury occurred at many courses last year and everyone hopes a re-occurrence can be avoided. The Green Section Record articles “The Greatest Challenge and Winter Damage” are excellent references to learn about winter injury mechanisms and best management practices for prevention of winter injury.
Courses have scaled back mowing operations dramatically to save on labor and improve turf health as winter draws closer. Raising the putting green mowing height is a key factor in reducing winter injury potential. Many superintendents have raised their putting green mowing height to 0.150 inches or more (variable based on mower type and setup) to help reduce winter injury damage potential. Although the putting conditions may be altered, this program is in the best interest of the turf for next year.
Temporary greens have been installed in approaches at facilities that remain open throughout the winter. Golfers may not enjoy temporary greens, but they protect the turf on the putting greens so their use is encouraged. Any turf damage associated with playing on slow or non-growing putting greens is cumulative, and it may not be easy or fast to repair next season.
Winter injury is more severe on shaded turf; so many courses have removed trees that cast shade on putting greens. Trees may be important to some golfers, but when they create shade on putting greens they can cause severe turf decline. Donald Ross, famed golf course architect of Pinehurst and many other golf courses around the world said it best. “As beautiful as trees are, and as fond as you and I are of them, we must not allow our sentiments to crowd out the real intent of a golf course, that of providing fair playing conditions. If it in any way interferes with a properly played stroke, I think the tree is an unfair hazard and should not be allowed to stand.”

The elimination of collar dams or areas where surface drainage is blocked is another late season program being executed at many courses. If melting snow or ice cannot flow off the putting green, crown hydration injury potential is increased significantly. Correcting surface drainage problems could be an easy fix with a sod cutter and a digital level. In some cases however, a major facelift may be necessary to re-contour the putting green so water can drain off rapidly.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winter Weather Arrives Early!

We have all been following the nightly national news about the arctic blast(s) that are overcoming the country. Low temperature records are falling daily and the country-wide, record snowfall events.
We, in the southern sections of Connecticut, have been spared some of the outrageous variations from the norm but are still experiencing unusually low temperatures forcing our hand to have temporary greens this weekend.
Our program to prepare greens for winter has been completed except for the heavy sand topdressing we apply when the greens are finally "Put To Bed".
I am hoping to have several small "weather" windows of opportunity to apply the near 60 tons of sand that finalize our winter protection of greens. Our goal is to give you the greens as long as possible!
Deep-Tine aerification has been completed and plant protectants applied. The last step is to time our topdressing. Heavily topdressing the greens with sand has enormous benefit because it creates a blanket protecting the Crown (heart) of the turfgrass plant. It also provides us the benefit of smooth greens immediately when we open the greens in the spring. A time of year when high soil moisture would prevent us from traversing the greens with heavy, sand laden equipment.

Think about these things affecting fall sand application:

  1. Stockpiled sand cannot be frozen or it impossible to spread
    • Near 60 tons of sand will be applied
      • We have covered our sand supply in an effort to reduce moisture content and reduce freezing. The tarp also holds some heat in.
  2. Greens cannot be frozen when we make sand applications because we damage delicate green turf with heavy equipment traffic. Hence the fact you are not even allowed to walk on them when frozen.
    • Weather dictates our ability to make the sand applications
      • Obviously below freezing "night-time" temperatures cause ground freezing. It takes time for ground to thaw even when daytime highs reach into the 40's. We are hoping to get the opportunity of a 3 hour window to apply sand between 12 noon and 3pm in the coming week(s). That 3 hour window allows us to apply sand to a few greens.
      • Sunset today is 4:32pm and the soil will not thaw. The low angle of the sun at this time of year dictates how much thawing can take place during a day. A good example is #5 green. While it receives early sunlight, the temperatures are still below freezing. When the temperature rises above freezing it is more than 50% covered in shade so most of it does not thaw. This green is just one example.
We will constantly monitor the weather and long range forecast so we can walk that fine line of keeping the greens open without sacrificing turf health. Our goal is always to give our members the finest playing conditions, for the longest period of time, without sacrificing our ability to provide you premium conditions during the true prime part of the golfing season. We will not sacrifice the turf health to accommodate the few at the expense of the majority.
I hope this sheds some light on the end of season maintenance that is critical to next seasons success.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

25 Ballmarks Today

25 ball marks today that were ill-repaired or not repaired at all.
I was pleased to see that most were just repaired incorrectly. 
That means we are trying to get it right!
25 Ballmarkrs on #8 Today
550 Ball marks on #8 Friday
I will continue to enable and increase your ability to use proper course etiquette. After all... It's part of the game 
Thank You!