Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Clearing Brush along Hole 8

This past week we have been clearing brush along the right side of hole 8. While clearing these areas we found several specimen sweetbay magnolias that were blown over during Hurricane Katrina. These trees have managed to survive and they provide a unique addition to the character of this hole. The main purpose of this project was to create a buffer area in the tree line that will provide the golfer an opportunity to locate and recover their ball from errant shots while playing the hole.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Time for another Gypsum Application

A few weeks back we took soil samples throughout the course as part of our annual monitoring program for soil fertility on the course.  What we learned was that sodium had built up in soil over this past year and we need to make an application of gypsum (CaSO4) to the course.  According to the reports sodium had built up to a level of 15% of our soil's cation exchange capacity (cec) in certain locations on the course.  Soils with a level of 15% or higher are classified as a 'sodic' soil.  Sodic soils exhibit poor water infiltration, shrinking and swelling and an over all poor growing environment for healthy turfgrass roots. 

The remedy for our facility is the application of calcium in the form of gypsum to our course at a rate of 1,250#'s/Acre.  Calcium frees the soil from the sodium and allows it to be washed away with our seasonal winter rain.  This application will be made to the course over the next week so if you see a white chalky powder in areas around the course pay no attention and it will be gone in a few days following our irrigation or rain event.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Regrading Surface Outfalls on 5 and 11

This week we had the opportunity to regrade our surface outfalls around the greens on holes 5 and 11.  These areas slowly became a problem after the construction of our facility.  The collar of the greens complex had become higher than the edge of the green effectively acting like a dam and preventing water from surface draining off of the green.  This promoted black layer formation (build up of H2S gas) in the subsurface which lead to thinning of the turf canopy if we did not aerify regularly.  Reshaping the surface outfalls will allow water to run off of the green rather than soaking in leading to less black layer formation.

Staff working to regrade the surface outfall on the front right of 11 green.l

Back right of 11 green after completion.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Greens Encroachment Barrier System (GEBS) Installation

A few weeks back we installed a new encroachment barrier system (GEBS) around our paspalum chipping green.  The paspalum we have installed on our chipping green is a new variety know as 'Platinum' paspalum developed by Dr. Ronnie Duncan with Turf Ecosystem.  This turf was installed on our chipping green to be evaluated for it's potential as a putting surface here at The Preserve.  This variety was chosen due to it's ability to live in high sodium environments like are seen here at our course due to our sodic irrigation water source.  This turf has shown the ability to grow more aggressively than bermudagrass which is why we must install a barrier around the green to maintain a smooth consistent edge to the green.  This barrier allows our staff the ability to keep the paspalum from growing into our collars by providing a track system for our edging device.
The green is being prepped for the barrier installation.  You can see the darker green paspalum that has begun to overtake our bermudagrass collar.

Tom Wait with GEBS pulling in the barrier

Terry with GEBS guides in the barrier with assistance provided by Course Superintendent Jeremy Stevens

Once the barrier was installed we stripped up the contaminated collars and replaced it with new certified '419' bermudagrass.

Photo of a nice clean edge around our chipping green after completion of the project.

Thanks to Tom Wait with GEBS for the quality of work performed here at The Preserve Golf Club.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Time for Overseed

Next week will begin the overseeding process for our tee complexes and target greens on the course.  We will start promptly Monday morning and should have the majority of the course finished by the end of the day.  After the seeding has been completed the tee tops will have a fresh sanded appearance with irrigation being ran a couple times during the day to promote rapid germination for the next 5-7 days.  Once adequate germination occurs we will begin mowing.  The first mowing usually occurs 2 weeks after the seed hits the ground.  During this process the tees may be moderately wetter than normal but this should be only a mild distraction to the golfer.  So over the next 2 weeks please be patient with our staff and realize you will have some beautiful overseeded tees to play from till early March!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vandalism to 15 Green

Yesterday morning we came in to work to find severe damage from 4 wheelers on hole number 15.  This damage occurred on our fairway and rough but was most severe on our putting surface.

Damage to 15 green

Seeing something like this happen to your facility is very disheartening to everyone who works so hard to make our course the place that it is and to all of you that come to play our beautiful course.  We have reached out to the local law enforcement and hopefully these individuals will be caught.

In the mean time, I just want to say how proud I am of our staff in the way that they stepped up to repair the damage to our green.  Normally on Friday our schedule is to mow and go around noon.  Our crew did not hesitate or waiver from the task in front of them and they had the green back open for play by the end of the day.  I was blown away with how quickly they were able to make the repair with such high work quality.  The surface should be very puttable now with only repair seams being visible.  Working with people like this make it a pleasure for me to come in and work along side them everyday!

Below are photos documenting the damage and the staff working hard on the repair.
View from 15 fairway looking towards the green.

Damage to 15 green

Damage to 15 green

Crew making tremendous progress

Almost done!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nematodes...the Hidden Enemy?

Tropical Storm Lee blessed our area with several days of rain and cloudy weather for our Labor Day Weekend.  This storm along with ruining the holiday weekend festivities also coincided with our seasonal nematode flush that normally occurs during the fall.  The combination of poor weather and high nematode counts left us with some areas of stressed turf on our practice putting green.  Nematodes are microscopic worms that feed on plant roots much like a mosquito feeds on us.  They have a needle like feeding structure that pierces the plant root cell and then it sucks out the contents of the cell resulting in damage to the area.  When numbers are high enough the plant will be prone to other stresses including reduced water uptake, reduced plant vigor and an increase in drought and disease stress.  Nematode population levels naturally rise and fall and tend to peak in the months of April/May and August/September.

A product known as Nemacur (fenamiphos) was the staple and only real option of the golf course industry for the control of plant parasitic nematodes other than Curfew that must be slit injected into the surface.  Due to environmental concerns the EPA lowered this products use rates and eventually removed it from the market in 2007.  Since this time golf courses have been allowed to exhaust their remaining inventory as researchers scramble to find a replacement for Nemacur.  Since 2007 there have been a few bionematicides that have come to the market but none with the curative effectiveness of Nemacur.  These products merely help to reduce the amount of certain species of nematodes on a preventative program but are useless for curative treatments.

Along with our 2 permitted applications of Nemacur this year we have made 2 applications of a product known as Nortica ( bacillus firmus) to help manage high levels of root-knot nematodes.  This product may have helped to lower our root-knot nematode counts from earlier this May but it is not effective for ring nematodes.  Ring nematodes can be a problem at high levels and there are no other bionematicides currently available for control.

Our practice putting green has been the main battle ground this year with small areas of weak unresponsive turf while our putting surfaces out on the course have performed well. This fall we have increased our hand watering routine and our frequency of fungicide and fertilizer applications to help the turf survive the below ground feeding of the nematodes.  Hopefully scientists will be able to catch up and bring a new chemistry to the market in the very near future to help fill the void left by Nemacur's early departure.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fall Feed and Pre emerge

This is the time of year  in our region to apply nutrients to our turfgrass in order to prepare it for the upcoming winter months.  Turfgrass managers generally apply a good dose of Potassium to help the plant combat the upcoming cold temperatures and other stresses.  Potassium is Mother Nature's natural winterizer.  It maintains proper water pressure within plant cells while effectively lowering the freezing point within the cell.

Our fertilizer of choice for this fall is a 12-0-22.  If you remember from previous articles the first number in the analysis ratio represents the amount of nitrogen in the bag.. We applied a .5# of N/M  in a slow release form known as XCU to help provide color and moderate growth through October.  The last number represents the amount of potassium. If you can do the math you know that we applied a full pound/M over the golf course.  We chose a soluble form of KCl for 50% of our potassium and a polymer coated KCl product for the other 50% that will slowly release to the plant though out the fall.

What about that middle number?  The middle number represents the amount of phosphorous in the bag.  Phosphorous should not be applied unless soil tests indicate a deficiency.  Our soil test indicated that we only needed a .5# of phosphorous for this year and we applied this amount in another application earlier in the summer.

We will be applying a new pre emerge developed by Bayer.  The trade name for this product is Specticle and the active ingredient is indaziflam.  This product has shown superior control of annual bluegrass and many winter broadleaf weeds.  If the product performs as advertised the golf course should be weed free this upcoming spring resulting in fewer chemicals being used to control weeds during our spring transition.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Aerification Week Coming Up! August 8th - 12th

On August 8th we will begin cultivation of our putting surfaces through a process known as core aerification.  Core aerification has many benefits that are crucial  to the successful management of quality putting surfaces.  These benefits improve the playability of the golf course in the long term along with improving the soil structure to allow for a healthy turfgrass system. 

To the golfer this process benefits the playability 1 - 2 weeks following core aerification by:
  • Firming the surface
  • Smoothing the surface
  • Improves aesthetics of the surface by promoting a healthier turfgrass plant

Agronomically this process is absolutely critical for a healthy turfgrass that is maintained at low cutting heights.  Just a few of these benefits are:
  • Decreases surface compaction
  • Increases water infiltration and percolation
  • Increases Oxygen content of the soil root zone
  • Increases soil microbial activity
  • Promotes increased rooting of the turfgrass
  • Dilutes organic matter accumulation through sand incorporation
  • Allows the turfgrass manager the opportunity to incorporate crucial nutrients and amendments into the root zone
This is the busiest week of the year for our Agronomic Team and we will be taking advantage of this opportunity if the weather will cooperate by performing aerification practices over the entire course.  We will Aerway (solid tine) the fairways and roughs and core aerify and topdress our tee complexes along with the collars and approaches around the greens.  These practices have a moderate impact on the playability of course and are mainly an aesthetic inconvenience with the exception of the greens.  The greens will have small holes for the first 7-10 days after aerification but they should be rolling relatively smooth upon opening back up for play on August 13th.  With this in mind we are offering a reduced rate for the dates of August 13th - August 18th so please take advantage of this opportunity and call the Pro Shop for the latest information.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Lake Aerator System Installation

Last week we added a new lake aerator system (Air Flo II Diffused Air System) to our irrigation lake that is located  in between holes 1 and 4.  Recent water tests showed the lake had developed a stratification layer.  The amount of nutrients held in these two layers were drastically different due to the regular addition of gypsum to our lake to amend our sodic irrigation water.  The average depth of our lake is around 16 ft and I chose to sample the water from the bottom, middle and upper zones of the lake.  What we discovered is that the majority of the Calcium added to the lake stays in the upper zone.  A test sample in March showed that our water in the middle and lower zones held on average 70 ppm of Calcium after treatment while the upper zone held over 500 ppm of Calcium.  The lake aerator system we have installed functions by pumping air into the bottom of the lake through pipe connected to 3 - 4 domed diffuser systems placed at the bottom of the lake.  The air is emitted out the white domes and then rises to the surface mixing the water along the way!

Picture of one of the 3 - 4 domed diffusers installed in the irrigation lake.

Small area in the middle of the lake is the bubble rising to the surface

This system will ensure that our irrigation water maintains relatively consistent levels of nutrients though out the lake while increasing the oxygen levels also.  This system is scheduled to be installed in the lakes on holes 14 and 18 also to help manage and reduce the amount of algae that is commonly seen during the summer months.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Contamination Removal and New Sod

You may have noticed small areas of new turf installed on a few greens on the course and our practice putting green over the last couple weeks.  We are currently in the process of removing small patches of an off-type bermudagrass from our putting surfaces.  These small areas should heal in over the next few weeks and they should not be detrimental to our playing conditions. The greens that have been affected the most is hole 9 and the practice putting green with just a few spots here and there on holes 1,2,3,5,6 and 7. This off type variety was either brought in with our original sprigs during construction or they are the result of a genetic mutation that has occurred since being planted  Our putting surfaces were planted with a variety of bermudagrass known as Tifdwarf bermudagrass that originated from a 1 year old certified source which was established from the foundation stock in Tifton, GA.  This variety has been the predominant turfgrasses used over the last 30-40 years for putting greens in our region prior to the introduction of newer varieties over the past 10 years.  Historically one of the major negatives of Tifdwarf is that there was a problem finding genetically pure sources and/or this variety is susceptible to genetic mutations.  This issue has been researched and debated as to what causes this problem with out a clear definite answer. Regardless of whether it is a contamination brought in with the original sprigs during installation or just a mutation, the proper course of action is to replace the small areas with new plugs from our nursery and to continue monitoring and replacing any new areas.  These small spots started to become noticeable 3-4 years ago and the number of spots have remained relatively the same, so I am hopeful once we remove these patches the development of any new spots will be minimal.  The majority of our putting surfaces are still very genetically pure with only a few having some small patches of turfgrass with a more yellow color compared to the Tifdwarf.  This off type has not had a negative impact on our playing conditions yet so right now it is a cosmetic issue.  But if we were to leave these patches alone they would continue to expand and become worse from one year to the next.  This would eventually result in a more inconsistent playing surface forcing us to renovate our greens complexes earlier than we would prefer.

Small off type patches marked with yellow paint on the putting green.

Plugged area after contamination has been removed

This week we are also very busy improving the course.  We will be installing 22 pallets of new sod this Wednesday to strategic areas around the course.  These areas will need to remain wet over the next couple of weeks while the new sod establishes itself, so please drive with care around these areas and pay attention to our ropes and signs.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Soil Reliever and DryJect Application Update 6-15-11 (Greens are playing Great!)

We completed our cultivation practices on our putting greens this past Monday and Tuesday.  The Soil Reliever impacted our root zone to a depth of 8".  This cultivation breaks through any layers that may have formed deeper in the root zone, promotes deeper rooting and effectively loosen the soil prior to the DryJect application that is to follow.

Photo of the Soil Reliever  1/4" tines used this past Monday.
Below is a video of the Soil Reliever in action.

We then followed up with our DryJect application.

By scheduling the DryJect application immediately after the Soil Reliever we were able to inject our sand amendment deeper into our root zone.  Prior applications had been penetrating consistently to 4" and this weeks application we were consistently in the 5+ " range.

Plug sample taken from 7 green showing the depth of penetration.
And of course the best news to our customers is that after doing all this our greens are still putting great!  So come on out and take advantage of all this dry weather!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Time for our next Dryject Application on June 13th, 2011

Next week we will perform our second and last DryJect application for the year.  This time we will be amending the soil with a mixture of 80% sand, 10% zeolite and 10% gypsum.  I have increased the amount of gypsum to help combat the buildup of sodium in our soil based on recent soil tests.  Along with the increased rate of gypsum we will also needle tine aerate the greens to a depth of 8" using a Soil Reliever.  This will promote deeper rooting of our greens and also allow for greater penetration of the amendments being injected by the DryJect machine. These cultivation practices are very beneficial to our putting green complexes while also providing excellent playing surfaces immediately afterwards. I will update this article next week once the cultivation practice is completed. 

Below is a nice video produced by Mark Patterson with Dryject of Florida from earlier this spring.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chipco Choice Slit Injection

This week we are making a Chipco Choice application for the treatment of mole crickets.  Mole crickets are an extreme nuisance to golf courses in our region due their continuous burrowing through out the soil.  If left untreated this pest can cause extreme economic losses to golf facilities by having an extremely negative impact on playing conditions.

Damaged turf in 7 fairway with the dead cricket after treatment.

Close up of dead mole cricket on 7 fairway this morning.

The active ingredient in Chipco Choice is fipronil.  Fipronil is an insecticide (or medicine) that has a very low use rate.  The rate being applied is 25 pounds of product per acre.  Chipco Choice contains only .1% of fipronil.  This is the equivalent of putting out .4 ounces of fipronil over an acre or 43,560 ft2!  To put that in perspective imagine trying to spread a tablespoon of sugar evenly over a 1 acre home lawn. 

Application of Chipco Choice is made through a process called slit injection.  The machine cuts small grooves in the turf and then drops the material into the furrow.  This minimizes exposure to the sun and wind and improves product effectiveness dramatically.  You may notice small lines on the course for the next few days but this should have no impact on the playability of the course and the slicing is actually an added beneficial cultivation practice for our course.

Slit injection equipment being used at The Preserve Golf Club.

Fipronil is very stable in the soil and has activity on mole crickets for several months.  The combination of ultra low use rates and the extended activity of fipronil allows for excellent mole cricket control while significantly reducing the amount of insecticides (medicine) applied to the course.  In fact fipronil is so safe that pet owners commonly apply this medicine to the skin of their pets for flea and tick control (Frontline) and it is poured directly into the soil around our homes for termite control (Termadore)

Below is a video of the Chipco Choice treatment process being applied by a certified applicator.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Prescribed Burn South of 14 update May 20, 2011

In early March we performed a prescribed burn to the south of hole 14.  The following photos show the regrowth of plant material since this treatment.  I have also included some photos of the beautiful wild flowers that have been visible since our burn.
View from 14 green looking across to 15 during burn application on March 3, 2011.

Same view on May 20, 2011

View from 15 tee looking towards 14 green on March 3, 2011.
Same view on May 20, 2011

The following photos are from the wetland areas around 14 green and the bridge crossing at hole 15.  These photos were taken in May of 2011 after our burn in early March.

This article is a follow up from my blog in early March which can be seen by clicking here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

DryJect Treatment

This week we treated all of our putting surfaces using a state of the art machine known as a DryJect.  This machine blasts a high pressure stream of water directly into the green while incorporating our selected ammendement (zeolite, gypsum and green sand) into the green at the same time.  Below is a video of 16 green being treated this past Monday.

This machine effectively penetrates the greens to a 5-6 inch depth and incorporates approximately 50% of the material into the green that we are able to achieve with a normal core aerification.  This gives us with the ability to remain effective with our cultivation practices while still providing excellent putting conditions the following day after treatment. 

Pictured is a profile sample of 16 green after treatment.  The light green area is the ammendment that was injected into the sub surface.

This photos shows how the water and ammendment follows the path of least resistance.  You can see the light green is in a zig zag pattern from the water fracturing the soil profile.

Another Dyject application is scheduled for June 13th and this will be  followed up with our regular aerification practice during August.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Site Specific Aerifcation Treatment

This past week we began performing site specific aerification and amendment treatments to historically stressed areas on our putting surfaces. These areas are small in size and are positioned along the edges of some of our greens. The impact on playability from this process is minimal while the prescibed treatment results in improved health and performance of our putting surfaces.  These areas performed poorly in the past due to two different soil related stresses that were caused by our 'sodic' irrigation water source.  The performance of these areas has improved significantly this year since we began treating our water source last June and from the site specific aerification treatment  being performed a couple of times over the past year.  As we continue to manage our course with our improved water source, these aerifcation treatments should be needed less frequently over time.

The first areas requiring treatment are located along the higher edges of some of our greens.  These areas have struggled with drought stress symptoms in the past due to our irrigation water containing an extremely low amount of calcium.  Water must contain 20 parts per million (ppm) of calcium in order to maintain adequate infiltration rates.    The process we are using to treat these areas is to hand aerify these small areas strategically where it is needed and then back filling the hole with Lassenite.  Lassenite is a diatomaceos earth product that increases our soil's infiltration rates,  available water holding capacity and CEC while resisting the build up of Sodium in the soil. 

Diatomaceous earth (Lassenite) amendment.

Team Member Jose' Martinez filling the aerification hole with the diatomaceous earth amendment.
The second areas we are treating is the surface out falls of some of the greens.  These areas are located at the edges of the lowest points of our putting surfaces.  These area are prone to build up higher levels of Sodium that results in a fine layer of clay and organic matter located a few inches below the soil surface.  This layer clogs up the soil profile and prevents water from draining though the soil profile.  Once this happens a soil condition known as black layer can develop.  Black layer is a soil that has gone into an anaerobic state that contains a high amount of sulfur in the form of hydrogen sulfide (H2S).  When you probe these areas you can smell an aroma similar to rotten eggs.  The remedy for this condition is to aerify though the layer to allow for proper drainage and to return oxygen to the soil.  We are then back filling the hole with a 50/50 blend of sand/calcitic lime.  The lime is used in combination with the added oxygen from the aerification to convert the sulfur in the H2S form to a leachable form of CaSO4.  Once this chemical reaction occurs the high levels of sulfur will be reduced with the next rainfall or flushing event.

Area affected by 'black layer' on the front of 12 green.

Sand/calcitic lime mix being added to the aerification holes on the front of 4 green.

The zone for 'black layer' formation is at the darker and lighter colored sand interface.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cigarette Butts (The disgusting habit!)

I am sure you already know about all the negatives ( personal health, odor and second hand smoke) that result from smoking.  There is another occurrence that happens all too often that has a negative impact to our facility and our customer's experience.  This scenario takes place far too often and is disrespectful to the facility and the staff that work so hard to keep The Preserve beautiful.  We will call the golfer "Joe" for descriptive purposes but this name does not apply to anyone in particular.

Joe has played through hole 15 with his buddies and he has just hit the green on hole 16 for an opportunity at par.  Joe is feeling really good and thinks he better light up and get a quick drag on his Marlboro Light to calm his nerves.  He lights that thing up in a blaze of glory and is looking cool while he walks up to the green with that cigarette and smoke trail following behind.  He sees the ball and it has stopped 20 ft from the hole.  Joe thinks to himself that he needs to really concentrate on this putt and he may be able get a birdie!  Joe kneels down and lines everything up and takes one last big drag in order to sooth the nerves.  Then what does Joe do?  He takes that cigarette butt and flicks it smoothly onto the playing surface right off of the green for all the world to see.

Cigarette butts collected from around 16 green.
Proper golf etiquette would be for Joe to kneel over and tamp out the butt on the ground and put the remains in his pocket and then throw it into the next trash can he sees.  By doing this he keeps the hole clean for the golfers following behind and keeps me or my staff from having to pick up after him.  So next time Joe.. please keep your butts to yourself.

Fun Fact:  It can take a cigarette butt 18 months - 10 years to decompose in the environment.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Plant Material

This past week we replaced the Dwarf Gardenias that were installed in the bed located behind our driving range tee.  These plants have performed poorly since being planted during our initial construction due to various factors.  We have replaced the gardenias with three new varieties of dwarf roses.  We selected the Red and Pink Drift Roses that are generally described as a ground cover plant with a width of 2.5 -3 feet and a height of around 1.5 feet.  The third variety is called Crimson Meidiland Rose which has a width of 4 feet and a height of 2 feet.  This selection of plant material should provide red and pink color all growing season and will be an improvement over the inconsistent gardenias.

Mixture of 3 varieties of roses installed last week.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Repairing Ball Marks

View the video below to learn the proper techniques and the importance of repairing ball marks.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Irrigation Water Treatment with FGD Gypsum

Here at The Preserve Golf Club we have a 'sodic' irrigation water source with a Sodium Absorption Ratio (SAR) value of 30.  The term sodic is used to describe water sources that have a SAR of over 15.  The SAR is simply a value that is used to evaluate the potential for Sodium (Na) to build up in the soil resulting in the break down of soil structure and reducing water infiltration.

Calcium (Ca) is the counter ion to Sodium and the key to proper soil structure.  Na destroys soil structure while Ca builds soil structure.  Ca counteracts Na from the soil if it is provided in a high enough quantity and in an available form (CaSO4, CaNO3, CaCl2).  The available form of Ca that is the most economical to our location is a material referred to as FGD gypsum (CaSO4).  FGD gypsum is a by product from the newer coal burning plants in Georgia.  This synthetic form of gypsum is produced by new scrubbing systems installed in coal burning power plants to reduce the amount of Sulfur released in to the atmosphere.  The power plants scrubbing system produces a very affordable and pure source of gypsum that is used for the treatment of our water.

The process we use for our lake treatment starts with a monthly water testing program.  This program tracks the changes in our water source and provides data to ensure the water is treated only when needed.  When test results show an SAR value above 5 additional gypsum is added to our irrigation lake.  This material is delivered in 25 ton quantities.  The gypsum is distributed into the lake feed  junction box while our 800 gallons per minute well is running.  This produces a tremendous amount of mixing forces that effectively places the gypsum into solution as it feeds into our lake.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Prescribed Burn South of Hole 14

The Preserve Golf Club is surrounded by environmentally protected habitat that is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The wetlands to the south of our property along holes 14 and 15 has a pine savannah appearance with a diversity of grasses, forbs, and shrubs along with pockets of carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants and sundew.  Prior to this region being settled, fire was a frequent occurrence and many of our natural species like the 'long leaf pine' adapted internal mechanisms that depend on fire to trigger certain growth stages during their life cycle. TNC incorporates the use of prescribed burning to manage this habitat and performed a successful burn yesterday.

Fire burning along 14 green being monitored by the fire management team.

Prescribed burning has many benefits to the natural habitat and positively affects our facility. The use of fire as a management tool adds to the beauty of our surroundings by promoting a greater diversity of plant species and improves playability by reducing the growth of woody shrubs.

View from 15 tee looking back to 14 green.

TNC must perform their burns on short notice when the weather conditions are ideal for minimal impact to I-10 and every precaution is taken to try to minimize the impact of smoke to our facility.  But of course mother nature does not always cooperate so please be patient and notify our Pro Shop staff if you happen to be on the course and your golf experience is negatively impacted.

Over the next couple of months I will share before and after photos to show the results from the burns.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How bout this weather?

This week the beautiful spring weather has continued and we are still in winter!  The highs have been in the 70's with the lows in the 50's so our turf is beginning to emerge from dormancy. This is an exciting time of year when we begin to see green but the average last frost date is not until mid March so the potential of having cold temperatures is not over.  This time of year is when our bermudagrass is the most sensitive to severe temperature swings and I am hoping that mother nature will cooperate and not send us another cold blast that delays the transition.

13 green being prepped for play by our agronomic team.

We have spent this week focusing on the little details that have an impact on the overall playability and golfing experience of our customers. Prior to beginning our drainage projects this winter we leveled all irrigation heads  located around greens and in the fairways.  Most heads required leveling from the initial construction while others simply needed to be raised due to our topdressing applications and natural settling over time.    Level heads in the fairways maximizes the visibility of the yardage numbers located on the head covers for the customer while at the same time improves the efficiency of our irrigation system.  The yardage numbers on the heads are now being painted 'Safety Yellow' to maximize visibility.

 Team member Steven Rapossa adding new paint to the yardage indicators.

Now that the staff has leveled all heads around greens and in the fairways, we have begun leveling all heads located in the roughs and around our tee complexes.

Team member Jose' Martinez leveling a head located at 3 tee complex.

We have also been working to clean up and maintain the width of our playing corridors.  This is very important to ensure the visibility of the entire hole from our tee boxes and results in improved speed of play by  decreasing the rate of lost balls while increasing the golfers possibility of locating and playing errant shots.  Our goal is to maintain a 15-20 ft buffer  of lower vegetation in between our maintained turf and brush. 

Team members working along the right of hole 8.

View along 8 looking towards green.