Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Frost Delays

It is that time of year... as the first tee time gets earlier the potential for frost becomes more of an issue.  Currently, the first tee time is at 8:00 am.  Despite this, we have had two substantial frost delays in the last three days.  

On Saturday June 23rd the first tee time will move up to 7:00 am for the middle of our summer season.  This could increase the likelihood of a frost delay even though the delays may get shorter as the days get warmer.  As most of you all know, we have the potential for frost in any month of the year.  There may also be the situation where frost does not set up on your yard in town, but it can get cold enough at the golf course to get frosty so please check with this blog or the pro shop for a frost delay update. I will aim to have this blog updated one hour before the first tee time on any morning in which we are delayed. 

As always, we will work to get the golf course prepared as quickly as possible.  In addition, my apologies in advance for any inconvenience a frost delay may cause.

Thank you.

Jeff

Monday, June 4, 2018

Tuesday Evening Maintenance

Last Tuesday we vertical cut the greens during our Tuesday evening maintenance closure on the front 9.  The putting greens responded well, and they are reaching mid season form!

Tomorrow we will continue our fairway recovery efforts.  The plan is aerify the injured areas that have been the slowest to recover.  After the cores are cleaned up, we will then seed and sand topdress. 

You may find ropes, stakes, and signs directing golf carts away from these freshly seeded areas.  Thank you in advance for keeping the cart traffic in these areas to a minimum as we allow for the seed to germinate and grow.

Let us hope the warmer days and nights continue... it is June after all!

Thank you.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Winter Recovery Update...


This past week we finally saw soil temperatures in the upper inch of the root zone creep above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  In addition, dandelions are blooming and many deciduous tree species in our area are finally starting to leaf out.  Mountain bluebirds are pairing up and seeing robins flying around is becoming more common...  all this adds up to a spring that seems to be about two weeks behind schedule... if Mother Nature keeps a schedule?!

 
As you can see from the photos above many grass seedlings are starting to emerge in many of the damaged areas. Please do your best to avoid unnecessary traffic in these areas which could damage the tender young grass plants.  But if you happen to be playing a shot in one of these areas, go ahead and take a fat divot and be generous with the sand and seed mixture... that helps too!
 
The turf maintenance team will be spending this next week vertical cutting the damaged areas again in addition to applying more seed and fertilizer.  After this round of treatments, some of the worst areas may still require some extra attention.  These are predominantly were the cross country ski trail ran during the snow covered months.  We plan to spot aerify these sections when we go around with our second approach aerification of the spring.
 
Happy Mother's Day!
 


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Opening Day & What's with the fairways?

Welcome to the 2018 golf season!

Today was a picture perfect day to open for the season!  It was great to see a lot of players ready to go first thing this morning.

Unfortunately, the weather during the late-winter/early-spring this year was far from as ideal as it was today.  As many of you experienced, this winter was really a tale of two winters...  by mid-February the combination of relatively warm weather and a shallow snow pack in the valley exposed many parts of the golf course and warmed the soils underneath the snow.  At this point in time, we were thinking about the possibility of bringing the crew back early to prepare for an early April opening day.

However, winter had other ideas.  Exposed turf was soon re-covered by late season snow falls and a cold snap put us back into full winter mode by the end of February.  While this was great for the final few weeks of the ski season, this winter weather fluctuation is extremely detrimental to turf, particularly annual bluegrass or poa annua.

Normally, in our mountain environment winters remain cold enough that annual bluegrass stays dormant until spring finally decides to show itself.  But this winter, the February thaw was warm enough to allow the annual bluegrass to break its dormancy and begin the uptake of water.  When winter returned the re-freezing damaged any turf plant that came out of dormancy because the water inside the plant cell freezes and expands which ruptures the cell membrane and cell wall.  This type of turf injury is called "crown hydration." 

Crown hydration is a typical problem for golf courses in the midwest and northeast because those regions are prone to winters that can fluctuate wildly.  Crown hydration can lead to total death of turf stands in the worst case scenario.  But in this instance, while we took a severe hit, many of the meristems, or growth points, of the grass plants have survived while the surrounding leaf tissue has died.  In general, let us all hope that next winter is closer to the norm!   

With that said, the maintenance team will be employing some extra treatments and tricks this spring to speed the recovery of the fairways.  This will keep some of our large equipment out on the golf course later into the spring than is normal for us.  I appreciate your patience in advance as we will aim to work around the players the best we can.  Some of the extra maintenance practices you may see include...
  • An extra round of vertical cutting to remove more dead leaf tissue and create space in the turf for new seeds to grow.
  • An extra round of core aerification for the approach areas
  • Core aerfication for the severely damaged fairway areas
  • Addition of brushing treatments to work off the dead leaf tissue to expose the surviving tissue underneath. 
  • Addition of three early season foliar fertilizer feedings to aid in the recovery of the surviving turf plants.
  • 2x-3x our normal overseeding rates to promote turf species that are less prone to crown hydration injury.
  • Prayers, dancing, and possible ritual sacrifice for warmer soil temperatures--the biggest factor in our recovery process!
I will be updating this blog regularly on this process in addition to the normal frost delay notifications and general goings on of the turf team.

Once again, thank you for your patience as we will be hard at work to speed the recovery process as fast as mother nature will allow.  In the meantime, please enjoy the extra 10-20 yards of roll on your drives!

Best regards,

Jeff


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Early Spring Update

An ice layer formed on the putting greens over the last couple of weeks.  Ice and turf do not go well together; over prolonged periods of ice cover turfgrasses will essentially suffocate.  However, our cool-season turfgrasses are usually hardy enough to withstand a short period of ice encasement.  With that in mind, this week's weather pattern was our cue to begin working on the greens for the season. 

Today we finished removing snow from the greens.  After snow removal, we also applied a humic acid product that is black in color which helps attract more heat.  This will accelerate the melting of snow and ice in addition to helping the soil temperatures of the putting surfaces warm up faster once the snow and ice clears.  

With all this work on the putting greens, the grooming of our ski trails has been suspended for the season.  You may still access the trails, however, please be aware that the warming temperatures and our snow removal equipment have compromised many sections of trail.

I hope you all have enjoyed the winter season and are looking ahead to another great golf season.  As always, if you feel the need to be on the golf course during the shoulder season, please be respectful of the putting greens, equipment operators, and migrating wildlife.

Thank you. 



 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Winter Trail Update

As most of you have noticed, this December has been much different than last year when it comes to snowfall.  On this date last year, the snowpack on the golf course was almost two feet!  Meanwhile, it is about two inches out there now... hopefully, this storm cycle produces more!

As is our typical practice, we will wait until the average snowpack on the golf course is 8"-12", at which point we will begin "packing" the trail with a snow machine and roller compactor.

Last season, we learned many "do's & do not's" in our first year operating the Ginzugroomer and tracksetter.  Perhaps the most important is how vital it is to have a firm trail of at least 12" deep of packed snow before we begin setting a track.  This ensures that the grooming equipment will not dig through the snow and damage the turf beneath.  Therefore, we will begin the finishing grooming and tracksetting when the depth of the packed track averages 12".

You may also notice some small changes to how the trail travels through the golf course.  The goal of these changes is to produce the best possible skiing product.  In order to make this happen the trail will travel over more "fairway" acreage this year.  Because of this we may see a slightly higher incidence of "winter kill" in fairway areas next spring, but nothing that a little early spring TLC won't take care of.

I will continue posting updates as the trail takes shape this winter.  For now, pray for snow!  

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Closing Weekend & Irrigation System Winterization

This morning we arrived to a golf course with 5.25" of fresh snow on top of it!  We seemed to be right on Mother Nature's schedule for closing the golf season... Hopefully, the snow melts and we will be able to get in that last round tomorrow!

Please keep in mind that beginning October 16th the golf course will be closed to all foot traffic until the Nordic Ski Track opens.  This is to allow our winterization processes to be as effective and efficient as possible.  Furthermore, we will be treating the golf course with fungicides to prevent snow mold infestations.  The fungicides we use have various properties so to prevent any inadvertent exposures, please refrain from walking on the golf course during this period.

We are scheduled to winterize the irrigation system 18th-20th of next week.  Our goal is to work on holes #1-#8 on Wednesday the 18th, holes #12-#18 on Thursday the 19th, and holes #9-#11 on Friday the 20th. 

If your home's irrigation system is connected to the golf course irrigation system, you are welcome to use the system's air pressure to winterize your irrigation system.  Please keep in mind that the golf course is not responsible for the winterization of homeowner irrigation systems.   We will provide air pressure just as we provide water during the summer season, but are not responsible for any repairs and maintenance.  If you have any questions please contact the golf maintenance facility at (307) 733-7802.

Thank you.