August 25, 2015

Solid Tine Aeration This Week

As we approach the fall golf season here at Claremont the need to keep things open becomes more and more important. With our current drought situation it's been so long since any real rain (almost 5 months to be exact!) that the soils tend to lock up creating a poor environment for turf and roots. This week we are performing a solid tine aeration to all fine turf surfaces. Yesterday, greens 1 to 12, 18 and the putting green were aerated and sanded lightly. Greens 13 to 17 will be completed prior to play this morning. All tees, fairways and approaches will be solid tined and/ or aerated with the Planet Air as well. We hope to have all areas completed by the end of the week.

The picture here shows the green surface following aeration and sand.

This pic shows the green following brushing, rolling and a few minutes of water.

The disruption for players is minimal from this process while the benefit to turf is great. The holes punched on greens are 9 inches deep and provide channels for good air/gas exchange and allow for water to penetrate deeper into the soil. The machine is set to "kick" while tines are in the ground in effect shattering the soil below and helping to greatly relieve compaction. The end result is a healthy environment for roots and turf.

You can expect slower green speeds over the next few days, especially if you are out early. Greens will not be mowed until Thursday or Friday dependent on how well sand is incorporated into the turf and rollers will be sent out in the afternoon once the greens have dried out from morning dew. This is done to minimize movement of sand and fertilizer around the green and alleviate the need to clean greens following the rolling process. By the weekend, greens will be back to normal and we will be off and running toward the busy September and October golf season and hopefully... RAIN!

August 7, 2015

Summer Project Season

It's been some time since my last post and needless to say we've been kinda busy. The weeks following July 4th are historically a slow time on the golf course when we perform the cultural practices of aeration and sand top dressing, as well as various course improvement projects.

Summer aeration was much less disruptive than in years past as we were able to get away with a solid tine aeration to all surfaces other than greens. Greens were cored with a 3/8" tine and sanded. They came back nicely in just 10 days or so and are now as healthy as I can remember. Fairways, tees and approaches were aerated with a solid tine and top-dressed with sand at 10 tons per acre. The course is now healed and in top shape following these events.

Projects this summer included work on the 3rd green/bunkers and the re-building of the 5th tee.

The placement of the bunkers surrounding 3 green results in many bunker shots and each time a shot is hit, sand is sprayed onto the collar and green. What do you expect for a hole named Sand Circle?Over time so much sand had been hit out of these bunkers that grades of the bunker edge, collar and even the green had significantly changed. This resulted in an abnormal transition from bunker to green that made it necessary to mow the green smaller each year so we could keep good turf in the clean up pass of the green. The slopes from the fronting bunker edge to the green became so severe that shots just carrying the bunkers would rocket over the green. When playing nice and firm, this green was very hard to hold for many players.

Work on 3 green began July 13th with the removal of sod from the collar and approximately 8 feet of sod from around the entire green. Greens sod was stored off to the side so it was able to be replaced. Our contractor and in house staff then went to work removing all of the built up bunker sand.

Front right bunker seen before sod removal.

Same bunker - work in progress. We removed close to 24 inches of sand from the edge of the bunker here and between 10 and 18 inches along all 4 bunkers.

Jim Urbina and staff checking grades from bunker to green.

Grades all set and sod going back onto the green... Nice to get the sod off plastic and back where it belongs!

The result is a significant change for this hole. The size of the green was increased by almost 600 sq feet and will play much larger than before with shaping back to original grades.

Buzz checking out work in progress at 5 tee.

The 5th tee box has been on the to-do list of the Green Committee and our Architect Jim Urbina for some time now. The tee was tired, small, 2-tiered and surrounded by old landscaping. Back in the 80's when all the tees were re-done, many were unnaturally built up so as to create the effect of looking down to the target. On the 5th hole, named Hog's Back for the spine running diagonally across the fairway from left to right, the raised tee gave the visual of looking over this feature instead of into it as intended.

Approximately 3 feet of soil was graded off the tee and surround, the rise taken out of the middle and the tee re-shaped to flow nicely from the 4th green to the tee and up to a new turf area shaped for event use. Six inches of new sand was imported and the new tee top graded. The tee top itself was lowered by 2 feet.

During the process tree roots were removed and a wood chipped tree well was established here to use as golf cart parking/turn around. New sod was installed and water turned on. Superintendent and staff were then able to take a breath...

We are really happy with the results of our summer maintenance period. 3 green and 5 tee opened for play just yesterday (August 6th) and and bunkers will be played as ground under repair until sod takes good root along the edge.

Thanks and we'll see you on the course!