Friday, 6 January 2017

A New Year!

2017 is here and we are now excitedly looking forward to what a new year will bring us here at the golf course. Winter work has been progressing nicely and things are on track to be all ready for when the warm spring weather decides to arrive this year.

Most of our maintenance, cultural and fertility/chemical planning and calendars have been completed to allow us to be as organized as possible and prevent having to always think on the go. Equipment servicing has been completed and the few repairs that needed to be completed are almost done.
Mowers after reel maintenance was completed

We have received a lot of snow so far this winter which has been great since we have had a relatively cold winter. The snow has really helped to insulate all the turf and help to try and keep everything as healthy as possible heading into the spring.
Nice snow cover on 12 just before Christmas
Lots of snow around the clubhouse

I will be attending the Golf Industry Show again this February to help keep us up to date with all of the new trends and topics within the turfgrass management industry. Safety programs and the final equipment repairs will be completed as well to allow us to have everything ready. 

For 2017 I will officially be taking on the role of General Manager for the golf club along with the Golf Course Superintendent position. This will not really result in any major changes at the club as I have already been performing these duties the past few seasons but it will allow for us to establish a clear direction in where we are trying to go and clear up any confusion that existed for anyone who was looking to contact anyone with questions, concerns or decisions. It will definitely allow the business to run even smoother. 

We will have a new Pro Shop Manager for the 2017 season as our previous manager will not be returning next season. A new manager has been verbally hired and a formal announcement will be made in the next little while once everything has been finalized.

Budget work was completed in December for 2017 and the 2017 golf rates were finalized. There will be no increase in any rates for 2017 for anyone who may have been wondering about this.

As the winter progresses I will be putting a major focus on the business side of things before spring is here. I am hoping to secure all sponsorship for 2017 as there are many items up for renewal this year. There will also be a major focus put on increasing corporate memberships and tournaments as a program will be developed to get our information out to all of the potential customers we have currently been missing out on. A program will also be developed to increase our regular memberships as well as incentives to anyone who can help us bring in new members.  

I will be back with another update for everyone in February. Until then I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best in 2017!
Hole 18 just as winter was arriving

Friday, 4 November 2016

November Update

October was a busy month filled with preparing the golf course for winter. It always is one of the most important months of the year as the work we do really sets the tone for next season. 

A little bit of snow fell to start off the month and really put everyone into the fall/winter mindset. We were finally able to finish tee box aeration the second week in October once the weather smartened up. Fairway aeration began that same week and was completed over the next two weeks as it was only done as time allowed as there were other jobs that had to disrupt completion.
The completion of tee box aeration
17 fairway after aeration

Our final fungicide applications took place on greens and tee boxes the third week of October to help protect us against any winter disease and stress over this upcoming winter. 
Our final fungicide application on greens

Irrigation blowout also took place the third week of the month and took two and a half days to complete. In this process we use a large air compressor to blow compressed air through the irrigation lines beginning at the pumphouse. The air is released through all of the sprinkler heads and drains on the golf course in an attempt to remove all water from the lines to prevent freezing and damage to the system.
The compressor we used for blowout
Air pushing moisture out of the sprinkler heads

Snowfence installation began on the tee boxes following the fungicide application and took three days to install. We install this snowfence to help trap snow which will then help to insulate the turf and protect it from the cold and dry winter winds.
Snowfence installed on 8 tee box

The tarps were installed on the greens over a three day period the last week of October. We install the tarps to help protect and insulate the turf from desiccation. Desiccation of the plant occurs when the plant is exposed to the cold and dry winter winds. The winds remove the moisture that remains in the plant and once the moisture is removed from the base of the plant it is then weakened and eventually dies. 
The tarp installed on the putting green

Snowfence installation on the greens began following tarping and will be completed today (Nov. 4). We install snowfence on greens for the same reason as mentioned above with tee boxes. We will also be installing snowfence to the northwest exposed side of the bunkers the we had rebuilt this year and last. We will be doing this to trap snow in the bunkers on top of the sand. The new sand that we installed is a smaller particle size than previous and as a result it will blow out of the bunker when exposed over the winter.
Snowfence installation on 7 green

Next week I will be attending our Saskatchewan Turfgrass Associations annual fall meetings before everyone goes away into winter mode. I have also been given the opportunity to prepare a presentation for the entire group which I am thankful to have the opportunity to be doing. Following that reel maintenance will be the main focus before my Assistant is done at the end of November. We will be sharpening and performing any repair and maintenance to all of the mower reels so they are ready to cut in the 2017 season.

I will check back with you all in December to update you on what has been happening in the turf care department and the plans for the winter as well as any exciting news involving the golf club in general.   
Our valley holes on a beautiful October day

Monday, 3 October 2016

September/October Update

We are only a few days away from the Pro Shop closing for the season and its hard to believe that another golf season has come and gone. We had another successful season as many great projects were accomplished. August and September were both very busy months for our department.

Greens aeration took place the last week in August right before all of our students went back to school. We completed the front 9 and practice holes on a Monday and the back 9 on a Thursday. We performed this process for many reasons. Some of these reasons include reducing compaction from golf and equipment traffic, reducing thatch (dead and decaying plant matter at the surface), stimulate new plant growth, increase green speed and playability, and to improve water, nutrient and air exchange and infiltration into the soil.
The aeration process

We put out fungicide applications the first and last week of September as a part of our winter protection and fall take-all patch prevention programs. The fungicide is applied to fight against or prevent conditions favorable for the disease pathogen (pest) to grow and produce. Our final winter protection fungicide applications on greens and tee boxes will be applied the week of October 17.  
Our first fungicide application

We have continued with bunker reconstruction work through August and September and now have rebuilt six greenside bunkers. Through this process we are installing all new drainage to remove standing water and then installing all new sand to the bunker. We also installed new weeping tile around two sets of tee boxes to help dry up the surrounds as you walk on to the tee box. We hope to possibly do another bunker and tee surround if weather and time allows yet this fall. 
A rebuilt bunker at 10 green

We will be completing our final cut of the year this week for fairways, tee boxes and rough and then most of our operators will be done work for the season. We hope to complete aeration to tee boxes and fairways this week if the weather cooperates.
Tee box aeration
We will be blowing out the irrigation system the week of the 17th and then snowfence will be installed on tee boxes following blowout. We will be tarping greens the last week of October and then installing snowfence on all of them. 

As you can see we have a lot of work planned for October as it should be a very busy month but it is great to be coming off another very successful year for the turf care department. We would also like to thank everyone for their continued support and business. 
Beautiful September morning on the golf course

Friday, 19 August 2016

August Update

Another summer is drawing to a close in what has been another successful busy season for us on the golf course. Mother Nature has given us a mix of pretty much everything. June through early July was very wet and mostly mild and then from the second week in July until now it has been extremely dry and very hot. Through everything that Mother Nature has given us the golf course has handled it all very well. 

July was the beginning of having all staff working full time and we have tried our best to take full advantage of this. Bunker edging was completed in the first couple of weeks in July. This process involves us cutting away a very small amount of material along all of the bunker edges to re-establish a smooth/clean edge from overgrowth that occurs during the season. By the end of July a lot of irrigation improvements were taking place because it had been so hot and dry that we were starting to see where our irrigation inefficiencies were and where things needed to be fixed to ensure appropriate coverage.
A freshly edged bunker at 18 green

The last week in July saw us begin our major project work of the year. This major project involved installing new drainage (weeping tile and drainage rock in a trench) and new sand in a few bunkers that are traditionally wet and lacking sand. As of today we have completed 4 bunkers which were located on holes 3, 12, 15 and 16. We plan to complete a few more bunkers like this throughout the course continuing into fall. 
New drainage being installed
3 bunker after drainage and sand

August really began to test all the turf and our conditions as the last amount of precipitation had occurred a long time ago and we were seeing very high temperatures. We did see the development of some dry spots which were then taken care of either through hand watering to puddle and saturate the dry area or through the use of wetting agents. The wetting agents we use alter the soil to allow for the water to be retained and held within the soil and as a result help to reduce the occurrence of dry spots.
Hand watering a dry spot

Looking forward into the next month or so we have a lot of work planned. We will be performing a full core aeration on greens next week. During this process an aerator removes cores from the greens surface and these holes are then filled with sand. We perform this process for many plant health reasons. Some of these reasons include reducing compaction from golfer traffic and maintenance equipment operation, opening up the soil to improve water and nutrient infiltration, improve air/gas movement and exchange, and to reduce and remove thatch (the build up of dead and decaying plant matter from mowing at the surface), just to name a few main reasons.

We will then be soon getting into our fall fungicide and fertility programs to help prepare the grass plants for winter. Aeration will be performed to all tee boxes sometime in September also. And as mentioned previously some bunker and drainage improvement work will continue as time allows. 

We have accomplished a lot so far this season and are very happy with where the golf course is currently at. The hope is to continue this momentum into the fall and have a very successful end to the maintenance season.   
Hole 17 in July

Monday, 13 June 2016

Where Does the Time Go?

I looked at my last post this morning and realized that it has already been a month and a half since my last post. I should not be surprised as time always seems to fly by like this, but it still manages to surprise me every time. Since my last post we have been up to quite a bit so I will update you on what some of those things have been.

May started off extremely hot and really tested all of our turf in a hurry. Dry spots did develop but with the help of our hand watering and wetting agents we took care of the heat quite easily.
Hand watering dry spots

We saw our first really good signs of take-all patch the second week of May but since we were already well into our disease preventive fertilizer and chemical programs we made it through that stress quite easily and without taking any steps back.
Early signs of take-all patch

The second half of May saw rain so as a result we tried our best to take advantage of this by really getting into our fertility program throughout all areas of the course as there has been fertilizer applied everywhere now. This is quite obvious if you have been out on the course recently because as you may have seen the combination of rain and fertilizer has resulted in us falling behind on rough mowing as the areas are getting pretty long by the time we are getting back around again to cut the areas again.
Fertilizer applied to a fairway

We had an irrigation issue that occurred over the May long weekend which resulted in 5 greens being really dried out and browning off. The following week the problem was solved and the greens were sprayed with a wetting agent/drought management product which combined with all the rain helped us get those five greens back into shape in less than a week.
Top: what a green looked like after irrigation issue
Bottom: what that green looked like two days after drought product was applied

Irrigation breaks are continuing to occur quite frequently as they always do but we are staying on top of them and ensuring that water is getting out to all of the areas that need it. 
Irrigation break on 3 fairway

We are only a couple of weeks away from having our highschool students back to work full time which will be a big help to our team and really allow us to accomplish a lot. We will then be continuing with a few bunker renovations, general bunker maintenance, irrigation repairs and drainage improvements. 

We have a lot of work planned for the summer so if all goes well there should be a lot done by the time the fall is here.  
Sunrise over 8 green

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Off to a Great Start!

The golf course has now been open for almost three weeks and we are off to a great start. The weather has been pretty good with the exception of maybe a little bit too much wind but overall I think we have been lucky. The long range forecast for May is looking more like July right now so I think we are going to be in for a great month.
A look at the forecast for the next 14 days

Our regular staff was brought back into work early in April and we have been very busy getting things done. We managed to rescue the tarp out of the pond behind 12 green early in the month which was a huge relief as I was worried this was going to be a much more difficult job. We removed tarps off of the greens on April 8 and were very pleased with what we saw. The greens had wintered perfectly allowing us to never miss a beat to start the season.
The tarp after it was pulled out of the pond
A view of 16 green after the tarp was removed

The golf course opened up on April 12 and the irrigation system was fired up April 18. Between the 12th and 18th a lot of manual tank watering was performed to keep the greens from drying out until we could get the irrigation rolling. We have had 8 irrigation breaks so far this season which is pretty good compared to normal but one was a mainline break so that may count for a couple extra. But as of today the system is fully up and running and doing a good job.
7 green being tank watered
Our mainline break in the middle of 1 fairway

We are about a week ahead of schedule program wise as we have already applied our first take-all patch prevention and fertility applications of the year on greens. We will be really getting into our programs fully this first week of May as we will begin to feed all areas of the golf course and really wake the turf up growth wise and colour everything up. 
Our first fertility app of the spring being applied on greens

We have a few irrigation improvement projects that we will be working on soon and then will continue on to a few construction projects. As mentioned earlier the long range forecast is looking pretty good so this should allow us to really get a lot done in the near future. Aesthetically, you can expect the golf course to look much different over the next week or two, that is for sure.
11 green looking excellent for only April 16

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

It's Almost Time!

Mother Nature has continued with the warm weather and as it is now we are only a week to two away from opening! The course has dried up nicely and the frost is starting to leave the ground relatively quickly.

Since my last update we have been pretty busy. Two of our tarps on our greens had rips from the November wind storm that had spread leaving exposed turf. One of those greens was manually topdressed with sand to protect the turf as the overnight lows were still cold enough that there was a risk of damage. 
The area that was topdressed when the tarp ripped

The turf conditions we have observed so far have been looking very good. As of right now it looks like things are healthy and that we have survived the winter pretty well. Tarps will probably come off next week so at that point we will see the full picture. 
A view under the tarp on 3 green

My assistant was back to work on March 1 and she was busy getting the course accessories refinished and ready. After that she cleaned all of our equipment inside and out and they are now shiny and ready to go!
Refinished accessories and clean equipment

The removal of snowfence has just begun and will continue this week and into the next. I will also have staff starting next week so they will be dragging out the rest of the cores left over from fall fairway aeration, helping with snow fence removal and most likely be tank watering some areas as they begin to dry out.
1 green with the snowfence removed

We are very close to another golf season and we will have things ready very soon so that everyone can be back out enjoying our beautiful golf course!
A beautiful morning last summer on 17 green