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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

We Are Deep-Tining Greens

We started deep-tining the greens today. Deep-tining is an important maintenance practice which relieves compaction, improves drainage and increases oxygen levels in the root zone. We are using 1/2 inch solid tines that penetrate to a depth of six to seven inches. Once we have completed the greens they will be rolled to reduce bumpiness.

Chris aerating #1 green

Closeup of the size and spacing of holes

Monday, November 21, 2011

USGA Regional Update & What's Happening at The Farms CC

The Farm's CC continues to experience moderate temperatures for this time of year. We are going to be preparing our greens for closing over the next couple weeks. We will start with deep-tine aerification. Remember that we still had excellent putting conditions after this practice last year (see... Deep Tining Not The End of Great Greens). The second step is the application of plant protectants to greens and tees. Our last step is to apply a heavy coat of topdressing sand to the greens. When topdressing has been completed the greens will close. The timing of topdressing is dictated by the ground freezing. At this point I don't see anything in the long range forecast that indicates a ground freeze. It looks like we will be playing golf for a while!

Below is the re-print of the USGA's Northeast regional update.

Winter Preparations

By Jim Skorulski, senior agronomist, Northeast Region
November 16, 2011

It is hard to believe it is mid November with the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner. This year provided heavy snow, spring flooding, 100 plus degree temperatures, a tornado, an earthquake, a tropical storm and hurricane, and a freak winter storm has many of us wondering: what’s next?
To say the extreme weather has taken its toll on the Northeast states is an understatement. The physical, emotional and financial strains have been difficult. The landscape in many areas has changed forever, and repairs and clean-up will continue for a long time. But life goes on and so too the preparations for the inevitable winter weather that is ahead.

Late fall is a time when the grass is supposed to gradually acclimate to cold temperature. During this time we hope the plants are exposed more consistently to temperatures at or just below freezing temperatures during the day. Turf growth rates will continue to decline in the next few weeks, and there should be a gradual transition towards the purpling and khaki colors associated with winter dormancy. Maximum cold temperature acclimation is achieved in early winter when the plants are exposed to colder (below freezing) temperatures. Some areas have experienced colder temperatures already, but temperatures have not been consistently cold enough yet to make managers comfortable that the turf is ready for what lies ahead.

Winter Covers

Those who utilize cover systems to protect annual bluegrass from cold temperature injury are being challenged by the warmer-than-usual temperatures. Installing the covers too early will prevent the plants from fully acclimating to the cold; waiting too long risks headaches associated with a significant frost layer or a flash snow storm. Managers utilizing covering systems are encouraged to wait until a colder and more consistent weather pattern sets up in the region. That may not be until December in central and southern parts of the region, but courses further north are probably closing in on the time when covers need to be installed. Waiting an extra week in my opinion is worth the risk.

Temporary Greens

Now is the time to develop temporary greens that will be used for winter play. Temporary greens are never popular with most golfers, but are the best means to protect the primary greens after the turf is dormant and there is frost in the ground. Take advantage of the warmer weather to topdress and roll the temporary greens, the winter golfers will appreciate it!

Most, if not all, aeration practices have been completed by this time. Late fall topdressing also has gained popularity as a means to apply more sand to playing surfaces without disrupting play or damaging mowing equipment. The late season topdressings may also protect the plants from wind desiccation and warm the surface more quickly in spring. You are fooling yourself, however, if you try to use the late fall application to compensate for limited or no topdressing in season. Sporadic topdressing with heavier rates of sand creates distinct layers in the root zone and does not produce the homogeneous soil mix provided with more frequent and light topdressings. Avoid dragging or aggressive brushing once the turf is dormant. Finally, consider dimple seeding the greens prior to the final dressing. The extra step will not require much additional labor or cost, and can provide new bentgrass seedlings in spring.

Tree Evaluations

Late fall also is a good time to evaluate your tree plantings. The October snow storm probably culled most of your weak trees or severely damaged those with susceptible branching. Use this time to evaluate the condition of the trees and look for poor branch structure and external signs of internal decay. Trees shading playing areas or encroaching into sight lines or play corridors should also be noted so that action to remove or prune the trees can be taken in the next few weeks or over winter.

The Green Section Northeast Region thanks you for your interaction and support this season, and we hope that we have been helpful to you in this year of extremes. We wish you all a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday and let us hope that the winter ahead is a little more kind and gentle.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Front Nine Open Saturday

We will have the front nine open tomorrow, Saturday. Carts will be available. The back nine will remain closed for the weekend due to the excessive tree damage. We hope to have the back nine safe for players early next week.
Ed mowing the front nine greens late this afternoon

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When Will The Course Re-Open?

It's hard to say how long it will take for the eight inches of snow to melt. I'm guessing that 75% has melted in the four days since the storm. Once the snow has melted, the ground needs to dry enough to support maintenance and player traffic. We can't clean things up until it is dry enough. One of the things working against us is the low angle of the sun in November. Many areas of the course are in the shade all day long. The below picture of #1 fairway was taken at 1:30 PM this afternoon. Notice the amount of fairway that is in the shade for the entire day. We will do everything in our power to get the members back on the course as soon as possible.

Thank you for your patience!

#1 Fairway at 1:30 PM

Head Golf Professional, Jim Hanlon, Joins Maintenance Staff!

You have to love the guy! Jim approached me and offered his assistance. I gladly accepted. He's now one of "the guys".
Jim Dragging Brush

"No job too small"

"I can lift two of these over my head!"
We even put Sean to work!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Superior Rental Stands By Their Product!

We rented a twelve inch wood chipper from Superior rental in Southington to help us with the clean up of Storm Alfred. The chipper was working great and we were definitely putting it to the test! We had a question about the equipment and they sent out technician Randy Perzan first thing this morning. He inspected the chipper and made sure we were good to go.
We accomplished a huge amount of work today! At day's end we had a concern that we might have a problem with the piece of equipment. I called and Randy again responded immediately. He was on - site within twenty minutes. He immediately fixed what was a minor issue and we are ready for another day of clean up!
I'm not big on "testimonials" for companies but I have to say... These guys are good!

Bandit 200 Being Put To Test

Randy Perzan Making Sure We Are Set For Tomorrow!

Storm Alfred Course Update

The maintenance staff is working hard on cleaning up debris from the storm. There is much more damage from storm Alfred than from Hurricane Irene. Our only focus at this point is to cut and chip damaged trees to limit the amount of outside work that will be required by licenced tree professionals. The damage from Irene was mostly in the form of debris that was blown onto the ground. Alfred has left us with considerable damage that is dangerously high in the trees. The course is unsafe and we need to address that issue once the snow melts and the selected tree company can rectify our safety concerns. In the mean time, our staff will continue to do everything they can to reduce the amount of outside service assistance.

I will continue to keep you updated on our progress.