Welcome to my blog!
It is my intention to give the readers a better understanding of what we do to maintain The Farms Country Club's 18 hole championship golf course and grounds.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

24th CSGA Mid Amateur Gets Started One Day Late

CSGA Official Readies #1 Tee For The 7:30 Tee-Time
It took two days of "dawn-to-dark" hustle for us to get the course ready for our members and the 24th CSGA Mid-Amateur tournament. Hurricane Irene certainly gave us a test. The course was open for member play yesterday but they had to deal with our chainsaws, blowers sweepers and mowers. The mid-am tournament was supposed to be played yesterday and today but Hurricane Irene made it impossible to accomplish that. Instead, the first round was played today and the finals will be played Wednesday, September 7th.

I am very proud of the maintenance staff for piecing the course back together and giving today's players an excellent venue to play.

We completed a massive amount of cleanup and mowed most in play areas. Woodlines still had heavy debris.

I'm very proud of the staff's accomplishments. The greens rolled at a smooth 10.5 feet today. A major feat, considering. They were triple cut on Tuesday and double cut and rolled today. They would have been better but they are still soft from the five inches of rain.

The best part of our storm preparation was drying the course out well in advance. It was hard as a rock. I am actually seeing wilt in some areas this afternoon!

Mid-Am players warming up on practice green

Monday, August 29, 2011

Storm Cleanup Going Well!

The course will be open tomorrow morning for member play. The CSGA Mid-Am tournament will not be played here tomorrow. It will be played Wednesday, August 31st and Wednesday, September 7th.

The front nine will open at 9am and the back nine will open at 11am. This should give the maintenance crew enough time to complete the tasks necessary for play.

Substantial debris on the course needed to be cleared before normal maintenance and course preparation could resume. Debris clearing was our only focus today.

Carving a path to access golf course

Blower and sweeper in action

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene at The Farms... 8AM

So far so good! The storm is weakening as the eye approaches The Farms CC. I made a safe perusal of the property from Parker Farms Road and the clubhouse area. I see small debris and branches down but nothing major. Heavy rain totalling five inches so far. The only trees down are around the maintenance facility and have not caused any damage to our buildings. I am not going on the course until conditions are safe! The course will definitely be closed tomorrow and I will continue to update you.

Hole #6

#4 Tee & #7 pond (which was empty yesterday)

Hole #7

Hole #3

Clubhouse Lawn

Practice Green

#18 from Parking Lot

Stream at Exit of Club Driveway

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Time to Ride Out The Storm

We are as prepared as possible on the course. It is time to ride out the storm and see what Monday brings. I will send out a course update sometime on Monday. Stay tuned and be safe at home!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

We Are Prepared For Hurricane Irene!

Our maintenance program has shifted into a new gear. We are, and have been, preparing for Hurricane Irene to make landfall sometime on Sunday, August 28th. We have a written plan in place. There are some things our members may notice over the next couple of days. We are slowly removing some of our susceptible course accessories, ponds are being lowered and course conditions are very firm. Our goal is to be very pro-active before the anticipated event. We want to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

What is the golf course maintenance staff doing to prepare?

• Bring in / secure course accessories that can be effected by high winds

• Lower water levels in ponds to reduce flooding

• Secure any loose “debris” on our 150 acres

• Clean all drains and surrounds of those drains

       o On course drains

       o All “in street” drains surrounding our property on Cheshire Road, Parker Farms Road and Gaylord Farms Road

• Prepare our gravel / dirt maintenance driveway for the heavy rain which could keep maintenance staff from accessing the maintenance facility
• Service, fuel and prepare all maintenance equipment that is needed for repairs after this significant weather event

       o Loaders / backhoes

       o Pumps

       o Dump truck

       o Maintenance vehicles

       o Chain saws

       o Blowers

       o Etc.

  • Contact tree company in advance to make sure we are the highest client priority in case of extensive damage that we cannot safely handle “in-house”.
  • Updated employee phone “tree” has already been instituted.
  •  Maintenance staff is on call.
  • We will not put our maintenance staff in harm’s way of hurricane Irene and will make their homes and families a #1 priority.
Our advance planning will ensure their success both at home and on the job.
I feel confident we have put our team in the best possible environment to survive and succeed, regardless of what Mother Nature will throw at us in the coming days. We are prepared to recover quickly.
  • Maintenance staff will be on-site Saturday to mow many areas of the course. This may inconvenience some of our members playing in the Senior Club Championship. Hopefully we can limit this by our creative planning.
  • We want to be prepared for the one foot of rain being forecasted. One foot of rain means we may not be able to mow anything for several days. Our goal is to make sure we get the course playable, at a high level, as soon as possible after this major weather event.
  • We have also prepared turf by applying Plant Growth Regulators to greens, tees and fairways. This will reduce turf growth by an estimated fifty percent.
My plan is designed to give our maintenance team its best chance at success. While players will make some slight sacrifices with some course ammenities in the coming days, playing conditions will be excellent. We will do our best to have everything back to normal as soon as possible.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Great Egret Has Been at Our Ponds Lately

A Great Egret has been Lingering around our ponds on holes 3, 4 , 5, 6 & 7 lately. Especially early in the morning. This majestic bird, which was formerly on the watch list for endagerment, is a beautiful sight. We've seen them before but not very often.

More information can be found at   http://www.enature.com/fieldguides/detail.asp?shapeID=962&curGroupID=1&lgfromWhere=&curPageNum=1

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Fifth Annual Zwick Pro-Am a Great Success!

What a tremendous day for everyone involved in this wonderful event. Our Head Golf Professional, Jim Hanlon, started the event five years ago and hasn't looked back. The event's success can be measured on so many levels. Not only do the participants have a fantastic day of golf, food and fun, but there is the feeling of "family" in the air the entire day.
Friends, family, club members, guests, CT PGA Pros and Farms CC staff all come together one day a year to remember our dear friend Leonard Zwick and raise money for this incredible charity, The Parkinson's Disease Foundation.

We love you Len!


Monday, August 8, 2011

PGA Championship Week!

Follow the PGA Championship at the Atlantic Athletic Club through superintendent, Ken Magnum's blog at the Atlantic Athletic Club.  Or located in link column on right side of my blog - labeled "Superintendent & Turf Blogs".

Ken Magnum

Links for other info:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Annual Bluegrass Weevil Damage is Localized

Annual Bluegrass Weevil Larvae
It's that time of year again! Annual Bluegrass weevils are causing slight, isolated damage to our high populations of Poa Annua (Annual Bluegrass). We expect it and are dealing with the pest accordingly. You may notice some weakened areas on collars, approaches and fairways. I do think that we have had less damage this year than in previous years.

Green and tee surfaces have been completely unaffected!

I do think our new, early season scouting method, using pitfall traps, was helpful in our timing of spring insecticide applications. Unfortunately, this persistent pest will likely be a problem every year.
On the plus side... we continue to increase creeping bentgrass populations which are unaffected. There are now many areas we do not even spray. This not only improves cost effectiveness but is environmentally responsible. Areas which still contain small percentages of Annual Bluegrass are left untreated on purpose. The insect weakened Poa Annua allows the creeping bentgrass to dominate. The more desirable plant species which takes over, improves our chances at even less damage and cost in subsequent years. The trick is to balance the damage with playability to ensure member satisfaction.

Here are a couple of links to previous blog entries I have written...



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lightning Strikes White Pine on Hole #2

The Thunderstorms that rolled through on Monday night packed quite a punch. Besides the 1.4 inches of rain, we had lightning strike a white pine tree on the far left of number two fairway, approximately two hundred yards from the green. The pictures below should give our players an indication of the damage that can be done from such a strong force of nature. This is the perfect opportunity for me to remind everyone why they are REQUIRED to leave the course when the horns sound. Safety first!!!

The following link on lightning safety is provided by the USGA ...

Monday, August 1, 2011

USGA Northeast Regional Report July 28th

USGA agronomist Adam Moeller has posted his Northeast regional report. We have been experiencing very stressful weather at our location and have employed many of Adam's recommendations. This excerpt is very telling after the slower green speeds players have noticed over the past week.

"At this point, the best way to keep grass alive is to use defensive management practices that focus entirely on minimizing environmental and mechanical stress and less on overall playability.  For most, this means slower green speeds, which are always better than dead greens." 

I have re-printed his entire update below...

Summer Heat Is Hitting Turf Hard
By Adam Moeller, agronomist, Northeast Region

July 28, 2011

Frequent syringing has been necessary to cool the turf and combat the extreme heat.  
The recent heat wave has caused turf decline across the region. Although multiple daily 100+ degree temperatures have been enough to cause turf loss, the night temperatures of high 70’s and low 80’s have been the most damaging. With these night-time temperatures, physiological decline and disease pressure have been extremely high.

The best way to keep grass alive in this heat is to do as much as possible to keep the turf cool. Syringing greens, tees, and fairways throughout the day and even into the early evening hours has been a necessity at most facilities. Oscillating fans have been a huge help in aiding plant cooling and soil drying. For those without fans, the use of rented industrial fans or portable blowers has been helpful in increasing air movement, which can make the difference in turf survival or death.

Many golfers would think rain would be a welcomed sight for golf courses that suffer from the oppressive heat. Actually, heavy rain, combined with hot weather, can cause severe turf loss in poorly draining sites. Essentially, turf roots can’t keep up with their cooling needs, and wilt develops even though the soils are moist. Frequent syringing, even if the soils are wet, is necessary to keep grass alive in this scenario. Venting aeration is beneficial in helping to dry saturated soils and minimize turf loss.

Localized dry spots also have been commonly seen, especially where automatic irrigation coverage and uniformity are poor, and hand-watering is not available due to labor constraints. Venting aeration, hand-watering, and wetting agent usage are helpful in battling localized dry spot. Turf suffering from drought stress is likely to be dormant (off-color/brown) until rainfall and cooler weather develops. Dormant turf should not be heavily trafficked, as this could cause severe turf loss. Note: Poa annua doesn’t go dormant; if it’s brown, it’s probably dead, and overseeding will be necessary.

Disease issues have been very common, with Pythium, brown patch, summer patch, and anthracnose causing turf loss on many areas of the golf course. Plant-parasitic nematodes have also been reported. If root decline has occurred more rapidly than usual, check for nematode populations.

At this point, the best way to keep grass alive is to use defensive management practices that focus entirely on minimizing environmental and mechanical stress and less on overall playability. For most, this means slower green speeds, which are always better than dead greens.