Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Update on fairway aeration

Our fairway aeration has progressed over this past week. We completed 9 more fairways on Monday and Tuesday. Another slight technical issue delayed our efforts three more hours which probably would have allowed us to complete our job. We have 5, 8 approach side, 11 and 12 to complete. With rain happening on Tuesday and more predicted for Wednesday and Thursday, we will finally complete the last couple of fairways next week.

Sorry for the inconvenience this has created but things are cleaning up pretty quickly. Once they are mowed a second time, the playability is much better. Looks like heat is coming in a gain late next week so they should close up rather well in the next 7 days or so.

I will post some interesting pictures of the dragging, mowing and blowing off of the excess material next week when we finish the remaining holes.

The fairway picture below is #18 which was completed on Tuesday 7-28.

The picture below is Hole #1 which was aerified on 7-20. A week makes a big difference.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Japanese Beetles

Video of the damage that Japanese Beetles have been doing to our Little Leaf Linden trees. They skelotinize the leaves which turns the tree off color/brown. The tree will normally grow new leaves to replace the damaged ones. The damaged leaves will then drop to the ground.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fairway aeration

Every summer the fairways at Glen Echo are aerified. We use a Toro fairway aerifier which pulls a core approximately 4" in depth, 3" apart with 36 tines. It takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete the process per fairway. The aeration takes about 1 hour depending upon the size of the fairway. We use drag mats to break up the cores. We then use a fairway unit to mow the remaining cores and turf that has been stood up from the drag. We then finish off the process and blow some of the extra dirt and dust into the rough.

Our aeration was going well on Monday, July 20th when we had a mechanical problem and our machine was down for the week. We only were able to aerify holes 1, 2, and 13. We will begin to aerify fairways again on Monday, July 27th. We might have one or two more to complete on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Below is aeration process which I made a video to show how the unit works. I only have video for the aeration part of the work. I will make an additional post next week showing you the rest of the story.(Please excuse the narration at the beginning. I think I was a little tired from the week before. Thought I was listening to Foster Brooks for a moment for all you Dean Martin fans.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hydrojecting of greens/collars

(I originally attempted to post this on the day it occurred, Monday 7/20 but the video would not upload for some reason. Google must have a glitch in their system that did not allow some files to load properly. Well, the video will not upload so here is what we did last Monday with our greens)

During the summer months, we utilize an aeration contracting service to perform the hydroject aeration process on our greens. This service is used during the more stressful times of the season as a tool to improve air penetration to our greens and assist water to move through the profile. The last two weeks have been unseasonably cool and has helped tremendously in improving the health of our greens. It appears that summer will be coming back over this next weekend. We have another hydroject aeration tentatively planned for the middle of August.

The links below will give you an idea of how this aeration process works. There were 3 units operating on our course. They began a little after 6:00 a.m. this morning and were off property by about 10:30 a.m. We could have mowed or rolled right after the process but decided to let our greens rest today since we were closed. We chose to leave the machine in an uplifted position which gave us a slightly larger hole and deeper as well. The holes remained slightly open during the week but began to close by Thursday and Friday of this week. Rolling a few balls across the practice green and watching member's ball roll across the greens, it appears that ball roll is not affected. If the weather stays mild through the next few weeks, we will probably not do a second hydrojecting in the middle of August and will stick with our needle-tine operation using our verti-drain and tractor.

Tree Removal during the summer

One of the things I hate to do in the summer time is remove trees that did not survive the winter or died during the season. The removal of a tree takes our focus away from managing our turf. During the winter is the best time to remove trees because of limited turf work, less golfers on the course, and frozen turf which helps to reduce damage when a tree must be dropped.

Over the next few months, we will be evaluating trees that are excessively damaged or have large sections of dead or dying branches which could ultimately lead to the removal of that tree in the proper time of the year. I like to leave a snag tree for birds to roost or peck for insects but in most cases, these trees do not fit in the manicured look that is expected at our club. There are a couple of more heavily wooded areas around the driving range and our maintenance building which lend us the ability to leave a dead tree standing for our fine feathered friends to nest or devour a few insects.
Below are a couple of pictures showing the dropping of the old Oak tree at the bottom of #13 fairway/rough. We were going to try to pull the old tree back so it did not fall into the wet area but decided to go ahead and let gravity take it the way it wanted to go. It actually dropped nicely and did not create too much damaged in the wet area.
We also dropped a couple of small ash trees which died to the front right of 16 green near the crab apple trees. Skip, Tom and Jose are pictured below and they completed the work once it was on the ground.
We have a couple of large trees that have died along Lucas and Hunt Road which need removal but those trees will have to wait until winter. We might possibly need some assistance from our tree service since power lines and the cemetery fence and plots could be in direct line of fire if the trees are not topped first.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Invitational/Mid Year Work

Just a little idea what we are trying to accomplish over the past couple of weeks in preparation for "The Invitational" and the rest of the golf season.

This also includes are daily mowing and routine scheduled work.

Glen Echo Grounds Staff
Mid-year (Invitational Prep)

Tees: Mulch all tee console areas
Weed control in mulched area
Clean ball washers and replace fluid(ongoing)
Clean benches
Poly finish tee markers
Clean, paint yardage marker for scorecards
Fill divots(ongoing)
Fly mowing/weed eating banks which cannot be mowed with a power driven mower.

Fairways: Replaced sections of damaged Bermuda sod.
Applied additional fertilization to weaker turf areas
Growth regulator applied on normal growing fairways along with
spoon feeding of fertilizer.
Applied extra fertilization to green zoysia approaches with no
growth regulator to improve wear resistance.
Will be doing some spot topdressing for new sodded areas and will
improve lies near fronts of green with topdressing.
Increased water to assist in growth for weaker fairways.
Weed eating/edging sprinkler heads and valve boxes so you can
read distances and we can find shutoffs when we need them. All areas of
the golf course.

Greens: Regulated and sprayed this week for color, plant protectant from
excess rolling and mowing pressure during invitational week.
One last topdressing on 7-9 for about the next 3 weeks depending
upon weather conditions.
Plan on rolling 3 days in a row during event and will probably roll
3-4 times per week for the rest of the season.
Important to have great conditions for Invitational but more important
to have turf that is alive for the rest of the golf season. The 10 day forecast is not showing anything out of the ordinary for our tournament.
Spray intervals are shortening from 14-16 days to 7-10 days.
Attempting to scarify and improve softness of bunkers as we can.
We have some sand to add to individual bunkers.
Edging bunkers(ongoing)

Remaining work:

All beds are mulched again at mid season. Cleaned, sprayed and
heavy weeding taking place.
Weed eating around all trees, curbs, fence lines etc.
Spot spraying some weeds, nutsedge and other weeds in main play
areas. In my mind right now, green is king right now.
Attempting to get 10 lake cleaned up, sprayed twice now in last 10 days.
Will continue to spray.
Painting barber poles on ranges, extra clean up etc.
Painted scoreboard.
Replace flags, plastic hole liner insert, clean up flag poles.
Blowing, cleaning and filling where needed additional asphalt patch in
a few potholes on the golf course cart paths.
Staff will be working Wednesday evening, Thursday morning at first
light before practice round, Thursday evening after regular play and away
from shootout areas, Friday early before play and after play Friday evening
and first thing Saturday morning.(Some contract labor staff will not be
available in evenings because of 2nd jobs.
Back at it Sunday morning.
Monday July 20th, fairway, warm season green surround, tee aeration and
hydro jetting of greens. No rest for the wicked. Still a good hard 6
weeks to go before September. Echofest, Club championship,
Missouri-Mid Amateur Championship, outings and other activities
for the rest of the season.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Poa annua killing around greens

Our greens, tees, fairways, rough, asphalt, flower beds and about any other structure is not immune to this horrible turf. It is actually a really good putting surface in the north where it is the dominant species for greens but is a real pest for us. It invades our surrounds as you know and we are required to do a couple of things. Hopefully, in August-September we applied a pre-emergent in time to keep seeds from germinating. From our crop and from my admission, we were a little slow in accomplishing this task since I had other more important matters to take care of when I first arrived on the course. We plan this late summer to hit our timing properly which should reduce some of our poa annua. Also, changing over to cool season surrounds should help us as well since poa is a cool season grass along with the fescue which will be replacing some of the zoysia/bermuda areas. We can treat with growth regulators around our greens against the poa annua which will discourage it from staking too much of a claim. We cannot eliminate is completely but reduce it somewhat.

We applied Revolver with small applicator to reduce chances for damage to our bentgrass/poa collars or greens.

From the pictures below, you can see the orange poa which is dying. We have abandoned any further spraying of this product for the rest of the season because any grass or weed so to speak that is alive at this time of the year is good. Yes, green or some shade thereof is good.

Rhizoctonia Brown patch disease in fescue

Brown patch disease hit our turf type fescue during the severe heat spell the last couple of weeks. Brown patch is a disease that loves high day time temperature but really loves high night temperature with higher humidity levels. If you have a fescue lawn, your lawn probably looks like the couple of pictures I have posted at the bottom of the page.
Also, check out the article from Kansas State University for ugly pictures of diseased yards and in depth detail of the disease. This disease is also prevelant on golf courses but we reductions in fertilizer inputs on greens and our preventative fungicide programs should reduce the chances of our greens getting this disease in any widespread outbreak. knock on wood, I have not seen any yet on our greens.
This is the front of the new short blue tee box on #10. You can see the larger patches on the left. It can look a little like drought or dry turf if the patches are not real symmetric.

You can see how large these patches can be up against my camera case. We treated all of our new fescue areas plus all of our cool season surrounds to reduce the effects of this disease. It can be more than a cosmetic type disease, especially in stands of solid fescue turf. We do not treat our main rough areas for disease due to high expense and the amount of acreage our rough area covers. We only attempt to treat close areas around tees and in green complex areas which are highly visible if the turf is not completely full.

The Money Pit as some members refer!

The life blood of any golf course is water. Our irrigation lake between holes 13-15 when full, can only provide about 2 days of watering the complete golf course if it does not rain. There is water in the lake but we only have the ability to pump our lake down approximately 3' before our pump system shuts off. We are in great need to expand both the size of our lake but also the depth of the lake as well to improve our water holding capability and reduce the amount of city water we depend upon.

To recharge our lake, we must use city water. As you probably already know from filling swimming pools or from teenagers taking endless showers, water is not cheap. It is important for us to monitor our lake situation as closely as possible and turn off the outlet to the city water when ever possible. Our water bill budget is about 8-10% of our operating budget.(60k)

Many golf courses are able to use well water to recharge their lakes but we are in the unfortunate position to be in an area which has some incredibly terrible water quality which cannot be used for irrigation. There are 2-4" outlets located on the fairway side of #15 once you cross the spillway and in the right side of 9 green lake. On occasions, we have to utilize both sources to get enough water to provide for our needs. At times, some pretty serious drops in the lake will occur and it might take a couple of days to increase the water level. We understand this might not be the prettiest sight but we are being conservative in our use of this precious resource. There are times when the water will run 24 hours a day for a number of days in a row. We have been very lucky this season, the first time I think I opened the spicket was around June 26th.

The view below is from the dam on 13 fairway looking up to 15 tee box. 15 is on your left side of the picture.

Rough fertilizer application

Usually in mid-June, it is important to put a small quantity of fertilizer on our rough turf. We delayed this application a couple of weeks because of the severe heat we experienced in mid June to this past week. As many have already commented, our rough is already pretty tough, why fertilize more. Allow me to explain.
  • The fertilizer which we applied last fall has been used by the plant and there is little if any fertilizer available in the soil for the turf.
  • Summer fertilization helps to provide energy for the cool season turf so it is better able to fight off disease, heat and drought pressures. We apply about 25-30% of the yearly requirements with the summer application. About 1/2 of the amount will be released slowly to the turf over the next 8 weeks or so and the other half will be available as soon as it is irrigated into the turf.

Fertilizing the rough will also fertilize the bermuda that compromises some of our rough. Well, that is true but if we do not encourage our cool season turf to stay alive, it will be over run for sure by the bermuda. There are plenty of areas which are more shaded than others where bermuda grass is less inclined to grow. We applied this product to all first or possibly second rough passes and between tees and fairways. We also placed the product in high profile areas near the clubhouse and also under some of our heavily treed areas to encourage the turf to strengthen during the next 2-3 months of fight for available moisture from our tree population.

Russell using the Lely spreader to apply our material in the 3 shots below. The material is thrown about 17-18 feet on either side of the spreader for a total width of 35 feet.