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!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Everything Happens At Once in Spring!

What is the Superintendent talking about? Everything happens at once in the Spring?

  • Get greens in shape as soon as frost gone by cleaning, rolling then mowing and getting those pins in!
  • Stop the rain and warm up those soil temperatures!
    • Every time we get the slightest bit of rain, the ground is saturated and limits our ability to use larger equipment (mowers, rollers, sprayers, blowers, sweepers, etc.) which optimize our maintenance efficiency.
  • Make our Poa Annua seed-head suppression applications.
    • Many of you may not remember what it was like when we did not do this.
      • I may skip a few small spots in fine turf areas to help remind you.
        • Obliviously very small spots with limited impact
    • Imperative we do at right timing or playing conditions and Poa Annua health will suffer!
      • 1st application on greens slated for tomorrow.
        • We will not mow the greens again until next week because we want to achieve maximum efficacy by letting product remain on leaf blade for maximum absorption. We will roll Friday in preparation for ABCD tournament on Saturday.
        • If weather permits (expecting rain Friday night), we will whip dew off greens Saturday AM for the 9:00AM Shotgun.
    • Tee and fairway applications will be completed early next week as weather allows.
  • Pre-emergent Crabgrass applications on tees and fairways will begin as soon as the first mowing is complete. Estimated timing is next week in conjunction with seed-head prevention applications.
    • There has been concern about crabgrass prevention applications being counterproductive to divot & seed mix germination program. This is untrue. Preventative crabgrass applications work by creating a barrier that juvenile crabgrass seedlings hit as they sprout. As they pass through the herbicide barrier the seedlings are killed.
    • When a divot is taken by a player, the barrier is physically removed in the "chunk" of turf.
    • We replace the divot with a soil medium that is sterile (no weed seed) and is designed to hold moisture so the expensive seed we use has the best chance of germination. 
      • All this said... remember that we do not over water tees and fairways during the season for the sake of seed germination in divots. Our primary goal is a fast firm playing surface. Replacement of divots at that time would be worse because they dry out and die and then the mower rolls it out of the hole. All that is left is a player facing a shot from an unfilled divot.
  • We are aerifying greens beginning Monday April 14th!
    • We are using the same size tines as always, one-half inch diameter
    • We will proceed as quickly as possible to accomplish the process including overseeding and topdressing.
    • How fast the greens heal is truly dependent on soil temperatures. The warmer the better! More seed will germinate and existing turf will fill in. 
Lets get this season going!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Bump in The Road!

Three inches of rain and three inches of unpredicted snow is just a bump in the road. It's going to be wet, but before the weather hit, the frost was coming out of the ground quick. I was able to extract some sample plugs from a few greens.
Samples from greens #4, #11, #13 & #18. Some already breaking dormancy. 
It's hard to tell in the picture that all of the plugs are looking good so far. Some plugs have less sand on their surface than others. A few more days of simulated Spring will tell the tale of winter survival. That said... I like what I see so far.
The crazy weather may have slowed our efforts on the course but we are busy in the shop finalizing our winter equipment overhaul and doing some overdue housekeeping.

Clear out the equipment!
Clean out the inside of facility and re-organize!
Marshall giving the bay doors a well deserved cleaning!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Has Sprung! Well... Almost

We are almost there! The weather for the next week looks promising. The key to the course opening full steam is a good thaw. In the mean time, temporary greens are available for walkers.
The course survived the winter well. Some snow mold in the untreated areas but nothing to be concerned with.
Snow mold in rough on hole #6
The greens look good except for a few suspect spots. As soon as these spots thaw, we will remove test plugs to bring inside simulating spring conditions. The growth results will determine if we need to adjust the spring maintenance plan. Again, no cause for alarm. This is a standard practice.

March has been unseasonably cold, but it has afforded our staff the ability to do some "in-house" tree maintenance. We have spent this entire week doing some pruning and debris chipping.

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Soon enough the staff will be trading in the wood chipper and rakes for a greensmower. I know I can't wait!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It Is Time To Replace Your Divots!

We are removing all the divot mix from the golf course because the colder temperatures keep seed from efficiently germinating. We ask that you now simply replace your divots.

During the primary golf season we use an outstanding divot mix composed of sand and peat moss. While this mix requires a bit of a budget commitment, its benefits far out way the cost. The mix has excellent water holding capacity which allows our desired creeping bentgrass seed the best chance of germination. Creeping bentgrass is our seed of choice because it is genetically superior to the inferior, indigenous Poa Annua. There are times of the year when you may notice that the seed does not seem to germinate as well as others. This is primarily attributable to not enough moisture in the filled divot. We cannot irrigate our fairways with the sole purpose of germinating seed in the divots. If we did this, we would be reducing playability because the fairways would be over-watered. Fast and firm is always our goal.

Other benefits of the mix are that the product is sterile and no weed seeds are introduced to our fairways and tees. It is also dry. Dry mix is imperative because we do not want the seed to germinate in the divot boxes or bottles. This would be a waste of the high quality seed we use.

Finally, our divot filling program has been our most successful tool in increasing creeping bentgrass populations, especially in fairway landing areas and high use areas on tees.

Replacement of divots in the early spring and late fall is important because we must always utilize our resources in the most efficient manner possible. In essence, getting the "biggest bang for our buck"!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Frost Delays Are Here. Be Prepared!

Frost Delays

By USGA Green Section 

I Am An Early-Morning Golfer. What Is The Justification For Frost Delays?

Frost is essentially frozen dew. Ice crystals visible on the outside of the plant can also form on the inside of grass blades. The grass plant, normally resilient to footsteps or cart traffic, becomes brittle and fragile when ice crystals form. Under the pressure of traffic, ice crystals puncture living plant tissues and rupture plant cells. Damage will not appear right away, but it will show up in footsteps and tire tracks the following days as the plant is unable to repair itself and begins to die. Frost damage can occur on any turfgrass mowed at any height, but it is amplified when the plant is mowed low, as on a putting green.
Keep in mind that a foursome typically takes several hundred footsteps on each green, so even allowing just a few groups to play when frost is present can be very damaging to the greens, as well as to the rest of the golf course. It is not completely understood when frost will cause damage, so the decision to keep traffic off the course must be made conservatively to protect the condition of the course. For this reason, golf facilities are wise to delay starting times in the morning until frost has completely melted.