May 2, 2017

Getting on with a Routine

The last week of sun and temperatures in the 80's has been a nice change to say the least. Especially following a relentless winter season that produced over 44 inches of rain and many stormy days that had us far from routine. As of last weekend the irrigation system was up and running for the first time since October 2016 and our first big member event was held. The Turf Department is officially ready to get on with 2017!

In this post I'd like to share with you our regular routine for maintenance that will take us through the golf season here at Claremont.

Daily Maintenance Routines

Greens - The following is our plan on greens for the season. This routine should result in healthy, smooth and firm greens throughout each week with minimal fluctuation in green speeds. Our target speed for greens is 10 to 10.5 feet for daily play.

  • Mowed at .125 inches; 4 to 5 times per week based on growth
  • Rolled 6 to 7 times per week
  • Verticut and topdressed with sand every 2 weeks
  • Spiking or venting aeration (minimal disturbance) every 4 to 6 weeks
  • Checked for moisture daily and hand watered as needed
  • Night time irrigation of 20 to 40 min. every 5 to 10 days as needed 
Tees, Fairways and Approaches - These areas are maintained in a similar fashion with the goal of providing a healthy, dense and firm surface for golf. Tees will be irrigated to a level that will minimize hand watering while fairways and approaches will be irrigated with just enough water to ensure growth and recovery from golfer traffic. Approaches and fairways will be hand watered as needed to ensure a firm surface. 
  • Mowed at .475 inches; 3 to 4 times per week
  • Solid tine aeration every 4 weeks
  • Treatments of wetting agents and acids to insure good water penetration and mitigate salt build up
  • Topdressed with sand every spring and fall - 40 tons per acre is the goal this season

Roughs - Areas of rough are maintained to higher degree closer to the field of play. Green surrounds and roughs adjacent to fairways are fertilized and inter-seeded to promote a consistent stand of turf. The further away from the center of fairways you find yourself, the more natural and "rough" the playing conditions will be. We will irrigate the rough as needed allowing areas adjacent to natural grasses to brown out and blend into the natural environment.

  • Mowed at 2.25 inches; 2 to 3 times per week
  • Aerated with a solid tine 2 to 3 times per year
  • Walking rotary mowers used around greens on areas difficult to mow with ride-on equipment
Bunkers (Hazards) - The bunkers here at Claremont are beautiful and penal all at once. While we spend many, many hours of maintenance each week in these hazards, expecting consistency here is unrealistic. Our practices however will remain consistent throughout the season and will result in very playable and aesthetically pleasing hazards. 
  • Bunker detail performed each Monday to include: edging / trimming short grass, pulling weeds, removing debris, checking sand depth and adjusting
  • Bunkers floors raked daily - Tuesday to Sunday
  • Bunker faces smooth raked once per week 
  • Bunkers deep raked via mechanical rake and hand rake 2 times per month
  • Fescue eyebrows "chopped" each spring and fall 
Natural Grass / Hillsides / Creek Banks - These areas will be maintained in a similar fashion throughout the season - minimally. We do not fertilize or irrigate these areas. We will mow and/or trim these areas at a height of 4" coming out of spring until growth has all but stopped. This will allow seed heads to emerge and will provide a wonderful contrast from maintained turf to the wispy, golden and natural grasslands found across California in the summer. Certain areas deemed "in-play" will receive an extra mow or two in early summer just so we don't loose to many golf balls.

We are looking forward to a fantastic golf season here in the Oakland Hills! As you may know, we're in the middle of a fairly significant project that has and will continue to take up much of my time and energy until complete. Please know we will continue our focus of improving the member and guest experience on the golf course while we wait with great anticipation of the finished product. What a great way to end your day on the course it will be! 
Thanks and we'll see you on the Course!

Josh Clevenger, Golf Course Superintendent

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