April 27, 2016

What's going on out there?

Here is a quick update on what's been going on out there over the last few weeks...

Tree Roots vs. Grass Roots - It's a competition thing
We've begun work on addressing some of the turf areas impacted by tree roots and/or cart traffic. The roots from this massive Redwood tree extend deep and wide throughout the soil competing with shallow turf roots for water and nutrients. Add to this the stress of high cart traffic and the turf has no chance to survive. The root pruner was out and about on the course last week cutting surface roots that impact greens, tees, fairways and roughs. This helps us to get a leg up with our root competition and that's about it. Soon the roots will regenerate and the battle will resume right where it left off.

High traffic areas prepped for sod

When the course was built, golf carts were not even a consideration. The property is tight and traffic is condensed in many areas. These "high traffic" areas have become an eyesore to the point that we are now stripping old material and re-sodding them. Once established, a program of solid tine aeration, extra seeding and extra fertility will help to keep these areas in better shape. Sod used here is a blend of Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass that will better withstand the pressure of all the wear and tear. To some degree, I still expect this sodding process to take place annually especially at cart path entry and exit points.
Fairway Bunker on 6

This fairway bunker has been a problem for years now. Every time it rains, surface water rushes into the bunker and washes out the sand. With all the rains this season, we have a significant amount of water moving though the soils. The soils in the base of this bunker are extremely heavy clay in that when saturated it can take weeks to dry out. What has resulted is what I call the "waterbed effect" with soil saturated to the point that the bunker floor is unstable and unplayable. After moving sand around the soupy mess in the picture below made it's way up to the surface. Over the next few days we will work to repair the bottom floor of the bunker, add drainage, replace sand and restore the bunker to original specifications. Thanks to all for putting up with these much needed maintenance practices and we'll see you on the course.

April 6, 2016

A Busy Two Weeks

The Sand Man was here Monday to help us put the finishing touches on our spring aeration. Thanks to some hard work and a few long days, spring aeration was completed Monday after two long weeks. Due to equipment issues, staffing difficulties and having to push back the aeration and sanding process because of weather, we started behind the 8 ball this year. With a busy tee sheet looming this week, we made the call to put all the fairway sand out on Monday instead of the usual Monday and Wednesday. This made for a long day and heavy sand but it's done. 600 tons of sand. Done...

Greens have healed up nicely and we have resumed normal mowing and rolling procedures as of Tuesday this week. In case you were wondering, the process on greens was as follows:

  • 5/8" coring on 2" spacing
  • Soil amendment application
  • Sand applied at 18 tons per acre
  • Sand and materials blown into holes
  • 1/2"  solid tine aeration 8" deep
  • Drag and blow sand more
  • Apply bent grass seed
  • Roll twice 
  • Organic fertilizer applied
  • Water
Lots of steps involved on greens with the timing and scheduling of the process being critical to achieving the desire goals. The tees, approaches and fairways receive a similar treatment as follows:
  • Seeding of Chewings Fescue (250 lbs per acre)
  • 3/4" core aeration
  • Dragging of plugs and seed 
  • Calcium Carbonate application (1000 lbs per acre)
  • Water
  • Sand Applied (20 tons per acre)
  • Organic Fertilizer Application (500 lbs per acre)
  • More water and if the forecast holds up rain!
Over the next few weeks we will work on the many tasks that take a back seat during the aeration process. Cutting and trimming natural grass areas, solid tine aeration in roughs, edging cart paths and sprinkler heads and training new seasonal staffers are just a few of the items on the to do list. A list that never ends... Thanks to a good winter and these "preventative maintenance" practices, we are well on are way to another great golfing season at the Claremont Country Club!