Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Organic Matter in Greens

Every few years we take samples of the top 4" of greens #5, #10 and #14 and send them to a laboratory for analysis of their physical properties. Examples of items measured are Infiltration Rate, Air Porosity, Water Porosity, Bulk Density, Water Holding and Organic Matter. Plus particle size distribution and textural analysis. The results let us take a look at how well our cultural practices are doing which includes aerification, topdressing and verticutting. It's our goal to use as much quantitative analysis as possible to determine when and how to do what some may consider invasive practices to the putting surface. Of course the art of knowing when and how to do these practices using the quantitative date is just as important.

Overall the physical analysis of these samples is very good. But, the organic matter in the top 2 inches is higher than we would like and for the most part is increasing each year. What this mean is there is greater water holding capacity at the surface meaning less water, nutrients and air getting deeper into the rootzone. For the golfer, it equates to less firm conditions. 

Topdressing, deep verticutting and aerification are three practices used to remove this organic matter. Applying sand to the green's surface helps to disperse the organic matter. Deep verticutting, not what we do but generally with a machine called a Graden (Graden Verticutter) is extremely useful in physically removing organic matter. Core aerification where the organic matter is physically removed (as we do twice a year) is also very effective in achieving results.

While these practices may seem to negatively affect the putting surface, they are much needed for the overall health and playability of these surfaces.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Weekly Schedule for October 26-November 1, 2015

Weather and unforeseen conditions can/will change the schedule.

-Apply final fungicide application to greens, tees and fairways
-Sod tee surrounds on #7 and #8
-Sod thin areas on #11 approach
-Leaf clean-up

Please note, this will be the last weekly schedule for the season. Will continue to update the blog as we do projects and when other noteworthy items come up. The bulk of our staff will be leaving at the end of this week to return to their homes in Mexico.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall 2015 Aerification

For this year's greens aerification we had a different approach than normal. We topdressed the greens first, then aerified the greens. The reasoning to do it this way is that the greens become soft after aerification and the tires from the machine which spreads the sand causes ruts. 

We are pleased with the results and actually found that the holes are easier to fill this way with sand.

Monday was a tough day to aerify due to a long frost delay than mechanical issues with one of our aerifiers and the topdresser. The topdresser was able to be repaired in a few hours but we are still waiting on parts for the aerifier. Even so, all greens were finished on Tuesday afternoon along with tees on four holes. The goal now is to finish tees by the end of this week.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Weekly Schedule for October 19-25, 2015

Weather and unforeseen conditions can/will change the schedule.

-Green and tee aerification Monday and Tuesday. Contact golf shop on Wednesday for course availability.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

#11 Drainage Update

We have added the drainage around the green as per our plan plus the new drainage basin just in the front of the green. There is still an outlet drain line that needs to be added to remove the water that reaches the new basin. Sod will arrive Friday morning for the green to finish up. Afterwards, we will move to the front of #8 next week after aerification.

While digging the drainage along the edge of the green we discovered multiple sod layers in the upper soil profile.

The orange and red arrows point to clay, the yellow to sand. If you go from top to bottom there are multiple layers preventing roots, nutrients and water from going deeper into the soil. Our goal is to hollow core aerify greens edges and collars more often to provide channels for air, roots, water and nutrients to penetrate deeper and provide a better stand of turf.

Also, you will notice that we are bringing out the green to it's original edge in the front and on the right making the green slightly larger per it's original design.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Weekly Schedule for October 12-18, 2015

Weather and unforeseen conditions can/will change the schedule.

-Drainage work on #11 green
-Drainage work on #8 green
-Mow secondary rough
-Spot aerification of fairways

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Drainage Work at #11 Green

We have a lot of working going on currently along the edge of #11 green. For simplicity we have broken the project into three parts which I will describe using the picture below.

Part one, which is noted in the color purple has been completed except for the sodding. This was the same process as we did on #6 where we excavated the existing drain pipe, made sure if was graded correctly and added pea gravel around the pipe.

Part two is represented with the blue line in the photo. We are adding a drain in the area to both catch what's going off the green in the low spot and what's coming onto the green in the high spot. This will be connected to the nearby catch basin.

The final part is noted with the red line and orange circle. We are going to add a drain, extend the green a few feet to it's original size, grade correctly then add a drain inlet where the orange circle is. This drain inlet will go where there is currently no turf due to wet conditions.

Will be following up with detailed photos of the work.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Weekly Schedule for October 5-11, 2015

Weather and unforeseen conditions can/will change the schedule.

-We will be aerifying, seeding and adding soil amendments to select areas of fairways. Ground will be painted white and should be played as Ground Under Repair
-Drainage on #11 green edge. Follow the blog for detailed updates.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

#6 Green Drainage Work

The back left portion of #6 green is a constant issue for us mainly due to the amount of traffic it gets from players walking on and off this green. All players who ride a cart go through this area and even walkers exit there. Therefore the compaction and wear and tear is greatest at this one location.

Our solution in the past is to re-sod and try and direct traffic away from this site. Another option is to completely re-design and construct the entire green site to produce additional entrance and exit points to the green. This would be expensive and time consuming.

Knowing that wet sand compacts more than dry sand or even soil we dug this area out last week to take a look at the drainage underneath.

We found a drain in this area.

The drain had a couple of issues, there was no gravel around this perforated pipe to facilitate water movement into the pipe nor was the low point on the surface of the green above the pipe's location. There was also a minor grade issue where the percent slope was not where we would like it to be.

We removed the pipe and corrected the grade.

We replaced the pipe and added gravel above and below the pipe. After back filling with the original greens mix a laser level was used to ensure the low point on the green's surface was directly above the pipe.

While improving the drainage IS NOT going to solve our issue in this area 100%, it will help. Staying off of the new sod until the Spring will be of the utmost help. The more the new turf is allowed to root without traffic the better it will be, Finally, we will implement a program of more frequent aerification and soil amending in this area to help mitigate the stress from the foot traffic.