Monday, April 1, 2019

Course Conditions Report

This is not an April Fools message... it is the 137th day of this snow blanket covering the golf course!  Those of you that have been enjoying the great ski conditions this winter know all about it.  Though this winter brought us our share of snow, the temperatures remained cold for the most part, which created an insulating snowpack for the turf... in addition to those bluebird powder days.  So while it seems as if we received an extreme amount of snow this winter, the snow-water content percentages are not as high as one might think.

Given the favorable snowpack studies, but the unusual depth for this time of year (for example, we recorder 37 inches on March 1st), we waited until the third week of March to begin removing and melting snow on the golf course.  The putting greens were treated with an organic soil amendment spread on the snow surface in order to speed the snow melt.  This product and timing provides three benefits for the putting green; 1) a carbon rich soil amendment, 2) a flush of the soil profile from the melting snow, and 3) a gradual break from dormancy which will enhance the efficacy of plant growth regulator applications later in the spring.

It may still be too soon to tell, but it appears that our biggest issue from this winter will be the damage from voles, a.k.a. field mice.  We will likely see some incidence of snow mold because most plant protectants claim up to 120 days of protections.  However, because of product combinations and agronomic practices, early scouting shows no symptoms on greens and approaches.  In addition, the elk migration did the usual number last fall, and likely because of the snow, it seems they are a little slow to get off the refuge.  We anticipate the usual bunker damage and "elk duds" to clean up after the spring migration is finished.

In other news, our seasonal staff began arriving today.  It is always great to be able to catch up with past employees and meet the new staff members.  They are currently busy with employee orientation and spring cleaning projects.  In the coming days, they will be helping us employ a couple tricks to remove snow and encourage spring. 

Enjoy the skiing while you can, the golf season is not too far away!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Snow, snow, Moose Day, more snow...

It seems like it has not stopped snowing in weeks! Highways are closed, avalanche danger is high, and the current Winter Storm Warning is not set to expire until 5:00 pm today.  Even snow, it will likely continue snowing until the end of the week... or longer, so stay safe out there.

Normal snow removal operations are going well, but we are running about of places to pile it!  Grooming operations have been limited to the trail due to the quantities and consistent nature of the snowfall.  We will resume classic track grooming as soon as snow conditions allow for the proper operation of our grooming equipment.

With deep snow conditions valley wide, the area's moose have been confining themselves to residential areas and trails which allow for easier travel.  This was very apparent on Saturday when the club counted moose on the property to help the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation with their annual Moose Day.  Please be alert as it is very common to see moose on or near the trails when these snow conditions exists.  It is a critical time of year for moose and the species of large mammals in our area.  Winter fat reserves are running low and new snow has made it increasing difficult to find forage.  As always, please give the wildlife the right of way, it could make a difference this time of year in terms of winter survival!

Though deep, about 3 feet on average, snow pack conditions are favorable for the turf at this point in the winter.  Lots of "sugar snow" at the bottom of the snow pack, with little to no ice formation is a good sign. See pictures below for a representative sample.

  

And if your curious, extended column and compression tests were also performed on the golf course snow pack.  Zero failures were observed, probably because the slope was 0 degrees...  However, multiple layers were observed, so had this be done on a slope, the results would likely be much different. 

Be careful on the roads and in the backcountry, make informed decisions, and pray for spring because I'd like to play golf at some point! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Extreme Cold and Grooming Operations

For the safety of our staff and grooming equipment the winter trail grooming has been suspended for the last two days due to extreme cold.  Our property's standard states that grooming operations will be not run for the day if the air temperature does not reach 5 degrees Fahrenheit by noon of the given day.

This is a "ski at your own risk" amenity.  Therefore, if you are a hardy skier, the track will remain open during these situations. However, we remind you to take all proper cold weather precautions. 

With warmer temperatures forecasted, we hope to resume normal grooming operations tomorrow.

Stay safe!