Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Recent Projects: September 2010

The past few weeks have been ideal for completing many of our planned renovations and improvements.  Rainfall and temperatures have been moderate except for a couple above average days.  The sun has been shining more often.  It's been a nice month!

The renovated 5 tee continues to grow in despite a brief setback due to seedling blight on a hot day.  In general, it is looking good:

5 tee - September 27, 2010

Small patches of "damping off" of seedlings
After 5 tee, the crew began work on the forward tee on the 1st hole.  Renovating this tee required the excavation of a small drainage swale to prevent water from flowing onto the tee from the hill and cartpath.  The soil was also modified and regraded.  With these modifications, this tee should not experience the same level of scald and water damage that it did this year.

Here is the tee a day before seeding:

1st tee renovation in progress
In addition to tee renovations, the crew has been busy slit-seeding fairway spots in an effort to replace our lost annual bluegrass with bentgrass.  We have already had some success with slit-seeding this year and are hoping for even better results this round due to lower soil temperatures and, hopefully, no flooding!

Walk behind slit seeder in action

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

5 Tee Renovation Progress

Last week, the maintenance crew finished moving soil and grading 5 tee.  We seeded the tee on Wednesday, September 15th, with 'Declaration' bentgrass.  The process involved moving and grading 80 tons of material. 

The grading process went smoothly.  We used a tractor, box blade, laser level, and sand trap rake to move and compact the material to the desired grade.  Here is how it looked after grading:

On Monday morning, we already noticed significant germination.  Germination in 5 days is faster than I expected, but ideal soil tempuratures and light rainfall sped up the process. 

This photo is from Tuesday morning:

So far, the new tee is progressing nicely, but it is very fragile.  Care must be taken to keep the seedlings moist and keep traffic off the tee.  While the tee still needs a lot of time and attention, this one-week-old tee is looking good considering its age!

Friday, September 10, 2010

5 Tee Renovation

Today we started work on the 5th tee.  This tee was hard hit by our wet, hot summer due to poor surface drainage and poor soil structure.  This tee has always had a hard time in summer, but this year was especially difficult.  Our goal with this renovation is to correct these underlying problems so that we have a healthy tee in the future. 

Here's our progress so far in picture:

First, we surveyed site elevations and marked out the center lines and the shape of the new tee.  As you can see, the turf is not happy in this photo.  This area was around 2 inches lower than it should be:

Using a sod cutter, a sand trap rake, and a tractor, we stripped the first inch of material from the tee:

Here is the tee with the sod stripped and groomed a bit.  The sand on top is from 7 years of topdressing and divot filling:

Unfortunately, the sand layer doesn't go very deep. It's only about an inch.  Below this layer is where the problems start, as you can see in this photo:

After about 3 inches, the material is what one consultant called "construction gumbo": clay, gravel, asphalt, rocks, rebar, etc.  So . . . we're going to build upwards by adding several inches of a soil/sand mix often used in tee construction. 

While we had the sod stripped, we took the opportunity to aerify the sub-soil.  We hope this will help meld the sand and soil layers at the base of the tee:

This soil was then groomed and worked to approximate the finished grade after our new material is added.

The last thing we did today was rough grade a drainage swale between the upper and lower tiers of the tee.  This swale will move excess water flowing down the hill away from the lower tee instead of flooding it:

Next week, the maintenance crew will be moving material to this tee and grading it.  The tee will then be seeded.  While seed takes longer to establish than sod, it will result in a longer-lasting, healthier tee.  A temporary tee area will be in use while the tee is renovated.  Our target date for opening the re-grassed tee is June 1st of next year.

Aerification 2010

The greens were aerified and topdressed Wednesday, September 8th.  Everything went smoothly and we were able to complete all 10 greens in one day.  The greens have been rolled for the past 3 days and are putting smoothly. 

Here are some pictures from Wednesday:

Holes being punched on the 2nd green
The topdresser in action
A greens brush is used to sweep the sand
We also aerated, seeded, and topdressed the tees this week

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Greens Aerification Starts September 8th

We will be aerifying greens starting Wednesday, September 8th.  The process will take until Friday the 10th to complete.  The maintenance crew will start early in the morning on the 8th and work backwards.  With this method, we will be able to complete several holes before most golfers catch up to us.  Our goal is to complete this important process while disrupting play as little as possible.

Here are some quick facts about aeration from the Golf Course Superintendent's Association:
 Aerification is a short-term disruption that has long-term benefits for golf courses.

 For grass to grow at 3/16-inch, they need to have deep, healthy roots. Good roots demand oxygen.

 Aerification is a mechanical process that creates more air space in the soil and promotes deeper rooting, thus helping the grass plants stay healthy.

 In most cases, aerification involves removing 1/2-inch cores. The spaces are then filled with sand "topdressing" that helps the soil retain air space and makes it easier for roots to grow downward.

 For more information, go to www.gcsaa.org/solutions

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