Monday, December 30, 2013

Native Plant Establishment at 3 Tee

This week we have been very busy working along 3 tee box reestablishing native grasses and shrubs where trees have been removed.  These trees were negatively impacting number 2 green and were selected for removal based on recommendations from our Arborcom shade study earlier in the year.

We planted a mix of various grasses that include bluestem, broomsedge, muhly grass along with clusters wild blueberry, yaupon and groundsell shrubs. This area will provide beautiful seasonal colors throughout the year along with an abundance of food for wildlife. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

New Well Water Line and Electrical Conduit Installation

This past week we installed our new water line and electrical conduit for our new irrigation well that has been drilled behind 6 green.  The electrical was installed from our pump station and the water was connected into our junction box near 6 tee box.



Monday, November 18, 2013

We Have Found Better Water!

Following up from a previous post from a few months back titled "Looking for Better Water" to let you know we have found better water!  This is great news and it will have a significant impact on reducing expenditures used treat our water and soil to combat the detrimental impact sodium has had on our soil structure and infiltration rates.  This irrigation source comes from an aquifer located at around the 400 ft depth.  This source typically contains around 150 ppm of sodium with a Sodium Adsorption Ratio of 30.  These two factors combined with the relative purity of our water resulted in an extreme reduction in soil water infiltration rates.  To see the irrigation suitability report from a sample taken in May of 2013 click here.  The report identified as "well" is our current source while the latter tests are taken from around the course after being treated with a gypsum product. Notice the substantial improvement from the "well" test with regards to sodium, SAR and potential for reduced infiltration compared to the "lake" test.

Our new water source comes from the 80-90 ft aquifer and is classified as an ultra pure water source with very little sodium.  This water source still requires treatment with gypsum to maintain adequate calcium and salinity levels but the toxic sodium ion will no longer be a concern.  This new water source will allow us to dramatically reduce the amount of gypsum applied to the course on an annual basis.  Click here to view a copy of the irrigation suitability report for the sample taken from the shallow aquifer.

If you compare the "well" test to the new well you will notice a significant reduction of sodium in the water and also the potential for reduced water infiltration is greatly improved.

With the results of the test Lyman Well Company has begun installing our new well behind 6 green. We tried to install our newest well closer to our existing infrastructure near 6 tee box but unfortunately there was only enough water for less than 70 gpm of water.  The next location we tried was behind 6 green.  This location had a much cleaner sand at the 80 ft depth which allowed for a better performing well. We hope it will provide close to 300 gpm of water . Once this well is functional it will be allowed to run for 24 hours while monitoring the water level at our test well on hole 7.  If the new well does not draw down the water level at our test well, another 300 gpm well will be installed on hole 7.  Once these two wells are constructed our current well will be used for emergencies only.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Arborcom Shade Analysis and Recommended Tree/Brush Removal 2013

This is a busy and exciting time of year for our Agronomic Team!  We have numerous projects underway around the course.  We are in in the process of removing several trees around the course to improve sunlight quality on several of our putting green complexes.  The tree removals were based on recommendations derived from a shade study performed by Arborcom earlier this year.  This study ensures we are removing the specific trees that are robbing our turfgrass of the valuable energy sunlight provides for turfgrass to reach its full potential of health and playability.  Recent research has shown that bermudagrass greens require a minimal 32.6 moles of light per month for peak performance.

With this latest information from research and the state of the art technology provided by Arborcom we are able to make precise decisions for the selection of trees to be removed. Once the trees have been removed smaller shrubs and native grass will be added to reflect the unique native long leaf pine habitat of our area.   Below are two videos showing the shade impact in 3D animation on 5 green prior to and after removal during the month of November.

To view the complete report and recommendations provided by Arborcom click here.
To view a power point presentation on the topic of light, tree shade and the results of our study click here.
Tree Sheer on Skidsteer
Crew chipping trees and brush


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Raising the Bar... Greens Renovation 2014

I am happy to announce we will perform a complete rebuild of our putting surfaces from May 5th to September 9th 2014.  This rebuild will correct several persistent challenges that have been discussed in a previous blog post related to a low quality sand being used in the construction of our greens combined with the use of a sodic irrigation water source.  Our agronomic team has been working diligently to over come these issues the last several years but you can only be as good as your foundation.  The rebuild also provides an opportunity to convert from the older TifDwarf variety to the newer "ultradwarf " TifEagle bermudagrass.  TifEagle has a proven track record in our area of providing an exceptional high quality putting surface.  While our new greens are being constructed we will also replace the old liners and sand in our bunkers, laser level all tee complexes along with numerous other projects around the course to help us continue "raising the bar".  Our greens are in great shape presently and we plan to seed our greens with a bentgrass/poa triv mix this fall to ensure a high quality putting experience throughout the upcoming winter and spring season.


Stephen Miles, CGCS

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Short Game Practice Area Renovation and Investigation/Diagnosis of Infrastructure Issues 2013

June 24, 2013

This week we sprayed out our seashore paspalum chipping green, the surrounds and number 1 pro tee with 2 qt/acre Round Up and 24 oz/acre of fusilade II. Over the next few weeks you will notice the slow transition to a dormant brown (death) color. This is in preparation for converting our playing surfaces in this area to Tifeagle on the green and Tifgrand in the surrounds. We will be checking our old mix, gravel layer, sub base and drainage that may have been a contributing factor for poor turf quality in localized areas since construction.  This project is a test run for our upcoming greens renovation during the summer of 2014. While we are in the area we are also going to expand the number 1 pro tee to provide additional length to the hole.

Chipping Green prior to herbicide application.

7 days after application.

July 3, 2013

Surface being scrapped off of the green on July 9, 2013

July 12, 2013

Once we got down into the original mix near the gravel/sand interface we noticed the sand being very saturated.

Original greens mix showing its ability to aggregate.

 A saturated root zone mix is a sign of fines clogging the internal pore space at the sand/gravel interface.  USGA greens must be built with a clean sand that meets specifications for size, shape and other factors.  After seeing the saturation of our sand we performed a test on the sand to see if it was possibly a dirty sand (contaminated with clay).  Below is a photo of our original greens mix along side our current topdressing mix.  Notice that after 10 minutes of being allowed to settle the water in the original mix is a deep orange color but our topdressing mix is virtually clear.

Comparison of original mix vs topdressing sand.
While renovating the chipping green we are also doing our teaching green and nursery green.  Fortunately both of these greens were built with different mixes so we have been able to see and compare the performance and impact of the different mixes used during construction.

Photo of clay contamination around the pea gravel surrounding the drain tile under the chipping green

The teaching green was constructed with a sand/profile blend from another facility and the nursery was built with a straight sand mix.  You can see how much clearer the water is after 10 minutes of settling compared to our original greens mix in the middle.

July 17, 2013

photo of drainage lines being uncovered and inspected

Approximately 6 ft of original greens and smile drains had been covered with native soil and sodded during construction

Dirty gravel was delivered to the site.  Notice the bridging of the material once dry.

Closer view of dirty gravel
 If proper quality control measures are not in place low quality materials can easily go unnoticed during construction.  This dirty gravel would had contributed to clogging of the drainage pipe infrastructure.
Installation of new perforated drainage lines.

New uniform 4" gravel layer installed over the soil sub base.

Photo of improper grading during original installation of green by contractor. 

New mix being settled in with vibratory plate.

Settling in new mix with water.

Sod installed around green.
 August 14, 2013
Ready for sprigs.

Sprigs being hand spread.

1 week after planting.

2 weeks after planting.

3 weeks after planting.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Drill n Fill application

This week we performed a Drill n Fill aerification on our greens.  This machine is able to drill into the green to an 8" depth and fill the hole with new material all in one step.  The process is not perfect but the majority of the holes are filled by the sand ensuring a nice clean channel of new sand that will promote a drier/healthier putting surface.
Drill n Fill machine


Friday, July 12, 2013

Looking for better Water

Today Coast Water is drilling a test well to approximately the 260 ft depth looking for better quality irrigation water.  Our current water source comes from a depth of 400 ft and generally anything lower in our area is worse for irrigation suitability.  I am hoping we will find a water with more calcium and magnesium to help offset the sodium in our current water source

Well being drill close to 7 tee box to a depth of 260 ft.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Shade Study with Arborcom Technology

A shade study is scheduled to be performed by Arborcom Technology around several of our greens complexes.  This will be an ongoing process over the next couple of weeks.  This study will provide valuable information on the quality of light on each hole.  Bermudagrass putting greens require a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight per day on a year round basis.  As our facility ages tree management is becoming more of an issue.  This shade study will provide our facility a plan for managing trees and underbrush surrounding our putting surfaces now and in the future.

Trees marked to be included in the study near 5 green.

Scott Robinson with Arborcom Technology performing shade study work on hole 6.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

DryJect Application May 6, 2013

This week we performed our annual DryJect application along with a small tine aerification to get our putting surfaces ready for the upcoming summer season. For more information concerning the DryJect process please follow this link.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chipco Choice application 4-25-13

This week we are making our biannual treatment of Chipco Choice for mole crickets.  For more information on this topic please follow this link to one of our past blog posts

Friday, April 19, 2013

Blue Bird Nest Boxes

We recently relocated our blue bird houses out on the course. Previously we located the houses on trees with in a forested habitat.  These boxes were rarely used so we went back to research why.  We discovered that Blue Birds prefer grassy open areas for nesting sites.  We relocated our houses around a 6 weeks ago and we already have activity in all of our houses!


Nests were built are under construction in all 5 nest sites
5 eggs were in the box at hole 5 and 1 egg in the box on hole 9.

Nest from hole 5

Eggs were located in boxes located on holes 9, 2 and 17.  0 eggs were in the boxes on 1 and 15.  Our first brood of hatchlings are in the nest box on hole 5.

Hatchlings on hole 5.


Friday, April 5, 2013

New plant material (Florida Azalea 'Escatawpa') added to the left of 9 Green

We recently have removed the overgrown unsightly brush to the left of 9 green.  Over the last few weeks we have added some new native plant material that will be a welcome addition to this beautiful hole.  The plants we have selected will provide seasonal color during the spring, summer and fall seasons!  The plants that have been planted in this area are Red Maple (acer rubrum), Sweetbay Magnolia (magnolia virginia), Wax Myrtle (myrica heterophlla), Florida Flame Azalea 'Escatawpa' (rhododendron austrinum 'escatawpa') and Muhly (muhlenbergia capillaris)

The newest addition to our facility is the Florida Azalea.  This variety was actually selected from the escatawpa river basin just a few miles away.  This plant has orange/yellow blooms that resemble honeysuckle during the month of April.  The flowers are very fragrant and they will attract humming birds and butterflies!

Florida Flame Azalea 'Escatawpa'

Florida Azalea being visited by a beautiful butterfly.
 Any entomologists out there chime in on the identification of the butterfly!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Spring Preemerge Application and other Happenings around the Course

Yes it is already that time of year for our spring preemerge application.  This year we are applying a 30-0-15 fertilizer impregnated with oxadiazon.  Our fertilizer is made up of a 100% control release nitrogen and 50% control release potassium.  Oxadiazon is our preemerge of choice for the spring growing season because it does not inhibit root growth like other available products.  If you play golf early this week you may notice some small green prills on our fairways and tees but it will soon be gone as it works into the turfgrass canopy.

Fertilizer prills seen on a fwy.

Spring preemerge and fertilizer being applied.
Over the past week we have planted long leaf pine seedlings around the golf course.  Long leaf pine is the tree that dominated the gulf coast region for thousands of years prior to this area being settled.  Prior to settlement the long leaf pine forrest was over 90 million acres and was one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the northern hemisphere.  This unique and beautiful habitat has been reduced to approximately 2% of its peak acreage so anything we can do to promote our native habitat is very beneficial.  If you see a small tuft of what looks like a clump of grass in our straw areas that is the seedling of the long leaf pine waiting for warmer weather to grow!

Horticulturist Hugo Rodriguez planting new long leaf seedlings.

Long leaf seedlings in bed right of hole 1.

We are also in the process of planting some swamp azaleas (Rhododendron viscosum) in the recently cleared area behind nine green.  This variety is a deciduous shrub that will tolerate the wet soil conditions in this area and will bloom in the late spring.

Swamp azalea being installed behind 9 green.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Habitat Restoration Left of 5 Green

We are now focusing our attention on the habitat area separating holes 4 and 5.  This project will improve the aesthetics of the hole, turfgrass growing environment, wildlife habitat and most importantly playability.


Once we have add our new shrubbery and understory plant to this area we will update with before and after photos.  See you then!