March 21, 2017

Spring is here... No Really. It's Spring now.

The first day of spring was Monday the 20th. Yesterday. After two full weeks of dry and warm weather it decided to start raining yesterday. It rained over an inch in 24 hours. Mother Nature must've known we had aeration on the calendar, yesterday. It's all good, par for the course if you will. We'll look to next Monday to begin spring aeration. But I'm not putting it on my calendar.

After a long winter season of rain, storm clean up and projects, it's time for us to get out there and perform the very important cultural practice of aeration. Over the next few weeks we will poke millions of holes on the golf course and make large applications of seed, sand and organic fertilizers. We do not perform these tasks because its fun but because the results of the next few weeks will set us up for another great year on the golf course. We are fortunate to have the support of the membership in blocking four weeks each spring for weather dependent aeration. This is so important and we thank you for this support.

Please check out the attached video from the USGA on why we aerate:

Josh Clevenger, Golf Course Superintendent

February 1, 2017

2017 New Years Resolution for the Putting Greens

Unrepaired ballmarks result in bumpy greens and poor aesthetics. Each flag is a mark left unrepaired on the 5th green 

The following is a recent article published by the USGA. I thought it would tie-in nicely with the newsletter that just came out and with our objective of improving player etiquette this year. Enjoy!

With the start of every new year comes a list of resolutions. In this case, the resolutions specifically pertain to putting greens. As you dust off your clubs for the coming season, please consider the following resolutions:
I resolve to properly fix ball marks for the benefit of putting green recovery and putting green smoothness. This simple and critical part of the game is outlined in the video, How to Repair Ball Marks (also available in Spanish).
I resolve to not only fix my ball marks, but also the ball marks left by others when I observe them on a putting green.
I resolve to place my golf bag, pull cart or golf cart in appropriate locations that allow easy access to putting greens without causing excessive turf wear. This not only minimizes damage near putting greens, it can help improve pace of play.
When using a pull cart, I resolve to never take it between a putting green and greenside bunker.
I resolve to carefully remove and replace flagsticks as to avoid damaging holes. I will also never drop a flagstick on a putting green as to avoid leaving indentations that impact ball roll for other players.
I resolve to remove my golf ball from a hole with my hand or an appropriate tool, never with the head of my putter or other golf club.
I resolve to not leave remnants from any snacks or seeds on putting greens.
I resolve to remember that cigars can leave large ash deposits that should never be on a putting green.
I resolve to understand that when putting greens have frost on them, the delicate turf can be killed by footsteps.
I resolve to be aware that even though most golf shoes have soft spikes, they can still impact putting green smoothness if I scuff the turf with my shoes. When playing with others, I will not walk on their intended line.
I resolve to always knock excess sand off my shoes when exiting a bunker and before walking onto a putting green.
Finally, I resolve to improve pace of play by being prepared to putt when it is my turn.

January 24, 2017

A Dry Forecast

It sure is nice to have clear skies this morning. Rain total for the last six days is just over 4 inches. Since January 1, we've received 11.5 inches. As you can imagine, the course is saturated and messy and winter conditions exist. The forecast however has turned to cold and DRY. Today we are out mowing greens and raking bunkers. Over the next few days we will continue to clean in-play areas with a plan to mow tees, approaches and fairways toward the end of the week. We have continued work on drainage and bunkers over the last few weeks. We began hard edging bunkers on 18 last week and work there will continue this week. Lot's more sand there for sure!

Carts will not be available today. We will evaluate course conditions on a daily basis and will allow carts on the front 9 as soon as possible. Thanks and we'll see you on the course.

January 18, 2017

A Wet Start to Winter

Mother Nature delivered a wet blow to the region dumping over 10 inches of rain since winter began just a month ago. Rain totals for the season are over 20 inches (since October 2016) and the drought has been declared over in the Bay Area. If you've been out on the golf course in the last few weeks, you may have been able to come to that conclusion yourself!

All things considered the course handled the storms well. Sure the bunkers were blown out and large amounts of debris were scattered about but, all in all, no big deal. No trees down, no major issues. Once the storms let up we were out cleaning the course and making repairs to bunkers and surprisingly, the course remained quite playable throughout.
Golf Carts have been restricted for many days this winter. We simply cannot allow carts on to the course when it's this wet. Over the holiday weekend, we went five days without rain and by the 5th day, we were able to lift cart restrictions. Pretty amazing that after all that rain it took just five days to dry out enough to safely allow golf carts. Then, it rained again...
We did get out to mow the entire course yesterday. Numerous wet areas were skipped but, for the most part, we mowed the entire course for the first time in weeks. Again, pretty amazing considering just a few years ago, the course would have been closed for weeks following a similar winter pattern. This says a lot about the commitment the Club and the Membership has made to supporting the golf course over the years. Cultural practices like aeration and sand topdressing are disruptive during the process but pay off greatly in over-all course conditions year around. A big Thank You goes out to the Membership for their support of the Turf Department! Now lets get to Tahoe. I hear the snow is amazing!!

December 17, 2016

Frost Delay Today

For the first time this season temperatures have dropped low enough to produce frost. The forecast for the next few days is similar with temps expected to reach into the low 30's. Please be patient if you are planning to tee it up this weekend and know that we will allow play to begin when we feel comfortable that there will be no damage to the course. 

The USGA video below explains some of the specifics behind the frost delay:

December 1, 2016

Fall Update

Winter doesn't officially begin until December 21 but with recent cold temps and significant rains over the last 6 weeks, things seem to be early this season. Since the beginning of October we received 6.7 inches of rain, the course has greened up nicely and playing conditions have evolved from firm and fast to soft and lush. The Turf Department hopes you enjoy and embrace the natural evolution of the golf course throughout the seasons. The course is playing quite different than is has for the last six months or so. Greens and fairways are more receptive, roughs and natural grass areas longer and more penal. This to me, is one of the many great things about the game we love. The field of play is different each day and its up to the player to adjust his or her game. Good stuff for sure. Please have a look below at some of the things we've been working on.

Bunker Projects

Each off season we focus some time toward rebuilding areas of the bunkers that have changed since the renovation. The golf course changes every day and this is especially true with bunkers as sand is displaced with each shot hit and every time we enter and exit. Sand washes out during storms, bunkers are contaminated with soil and grasses grow into the bunker. We picked the first bunker off the to-do list last week at 5 green.

The rake in the above picture provides good perspective on green to bunker transition. The below picture shows well our process and its pretty simple. Dig down through the built up bunker sand along the edge of the bunker and find the native soil. Remove the sod. Excavate sand along the edge of the bunker and into the green / collar. Replace the sod. The guys have gotten pretty good at this over the last few years and this one turned out great.

Finished product above with grades restored makes for an easy entry / exit to the bunker. We hope this will be true for golfers and golf balls alike.

Natural Grass Areas

We've begun work on transitioning more areas of maintained turf to natural grasses per our grassing plan by Architect Jim Urbina. In years past we've used a Fine Fescue blend in many of these areas with some success and failure. This season we've gone to a blend of true California Native grasses that we think will work better in our soils while providing what we are looking both aesthetically and play-ability wise. These areas will go without water and mowing in summer and we hope to only to mow them a few times each spring.

The process here begins by treating grassy and broad-leaf weeds with selective herbicides. Once these products take effect, the areas are mowed short and cleaned up with the goal of exposing the soil. The final step is the application of seed and hydro-mulch. The grasses can then naturally grow-in over winter as we get rain. Please remember to keep carts out of these areas at all times.

Golf Shop Project

Work around the golf shop has kept us on our toes to say the least. In the above picture, just between the excavator and the Ladies locker room was the irrigation mainline and communication wire that serviced the pool and front of the club. These utilities were removed in time for crews to continue grading and we intend  re-locate as soon as rough grades are complete. Managing traffic around the temp facilities during wet conditions has been a challenge requiring extra attention with wood chip pathways, ropes, stakes and directional markings and such. All things considered it's been a smooth start to construction.

The temporary 1st tee was graded and sodded a few weeks ago and is taking shape. If you look at the tee and think "It doesn't look flat" that's because it's not. None of our tees are flat, they are all graded at 2 to 3% in one direction or another for surface drainage. The goal on this tee was to level off a small area that can function as a tee but also blend into the surrounding contour. The guys did a good job here and we hope to open the tee some time in the next few weeks.

We've had lots going on this fall, all while continuing to prep the course for daily play and keep up with detail and clean up. A big thanks to the Team In the Turf Department for their work this fall.
We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Come on out and and enjoy the club during the Holiday season. Its such a special place that really comes alive this time of year! Thanks and we'll see you on the course.