Monday, March 27, 2017

Tree Management

I saw the picture below from a golf course in the Pittsburgh area.  What you see are the results of an excellent tree management program.  Note how the trees are symmetric, dense, straight and all around fine specimens.  One day, this is what I envision Highlands CC to be like.  Each tree is given room to grow, where it can reach it's full potential.  Fine turf is growing under the bases of the trees.  These trees enhance the course and add to its beauty. 

Now, you get a feel for the overcrowding of trees at Highlands CC.  The trees have no where to go, so they grow in multiple directions.  The trees all look stunted because they are competing with each other for the same nutrients.  The turf under them, if existent, is thin and sparse.  There is a lot to be said for a solid tree program.     

Laying down stripes...


How these guys survived the sub zero wind chill temperatures 2 weeks ago, is beyond me!  I'm certainly glad they did.

Greening up!

You can see just how much the course is greening up in this photo.  The bent/poa in the fairways is far ahead of the Kentucky Bluegrass (KBG) in the roughs.  This time of year is what makes managing our roughs so difficult.  KBG won't start actively growing until we are hitting highs in the upper 70s.  This gives the bent/poa about a month head start to actively grow without any competition from the KBG.  This is the reason we sod 2 acres of roughs each year- to bring the dominant species back to KBG.  Ultimately it's a losing battle because within 5 years, bentgrass is the dominant species.  It's one of the perils of living in Highlands with regards to our climate.
Below, this is one of 3 cart loads of grass clippings from tees and approaches!  I'd say we are growing!  The clippings are going to be tilled into one of our beds at the Farm. 


Jerry is laying down some stripes on fairways today.  We are walk mowing tees and approaches for the first time in 2017.  It's all looking great!

Approach stripes!

Above, we are replacing lids on many of the irrigation heads on the golf course.  There are quite a few that were broken due to age and this is one of those details.
Below, we are getting the parking lot cleaned up after a winter of using it as a staging area.  With the maintenance building being confined, and not able to get trucks in and out, we use the clubhouse parking lot to hold sand, unload sod deliveries and haul debris to. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Upcoming week

Looks like it will be a good upcoming week to start growing some grass!

We have a big week ahead- we'll have the course cleaned up, and pine straw and mulch beds edged.  We have a tractor trailer load of pinestraw scheduled for Thursday delivery, which means the following week our prioritiy will be to get all the beds mulched and pinstrawed. This is a big task because it includes all of the golf course and all buildings on campus. 

Tomorrow, we are going to mow a majority of the course, including greens. Everything is looking great and provided we get a few weeks of good growing conditions, we'll be green before you know it. 


Fishing anyone??
One of our bigger challenges at Highlands CC with regards to fairway conditioning are earthworms.  Earthworms are extremely beneficial organisms in the soil and the fact that they're present, is a sign of a healthy soil.  Eliminating them is never the goal.  However, their castings (the tiny piles of soil they leave behind) reach a level that is unacceptable.  Fortunately, a company known as Ocean Organics, makes a product that causes the worms to surface, where they can be relocated.  You can see by these photos, that I spot treated a few areas on #1 and #6 fairways.  We will never do blanket applications of this product.  It is an granular organic fertilizer that contains an extract that irritates their skin, causing them to does not kill them!  The interesting thing about the product, is it needs to be "watered in" to be effective.  However, no amount of irrigation water seems to work; it must be applied when the forecast is calling for a minimum of 3/4" rain.  It's always been a mystery to me but I've learned early on, use Mother Nature as my friend!  Last night we received about 1" of rain and you can see the results!
Earthworms benefit the soil because they are constantly tunneling under the surface, which creates air pockets for root growth.  It's like having an aerator going 24/7.  They also add beneficial organic matter to the soil in the form of waste. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hazard Stakes

In an effort to reduce "clutter" around the golf course, I am eliminating a good number of hazard stakes and we are going to step up are hazard painting effort.  Currently, we mark the golf course every 14 days and will bump that up to weekly, for the most part.  I've always felt that painting a golf course is a fine detail that shouldn't be overlooked.  If paint is on the ground all the time, it eliminates the need for hazard stakes and the need for the golfer to see stake to stake.  We are keeping the start and end of the hazards marked with stakes, but a majority of those in between will disappear.