Course Notes, 4/24/18

It has been quite the busy couple of weeks here at Elcona.  Mornings like the one pictured above are very pretty to stand and admire, and one of the many reasons why I love working in this 340 acre office.  These frosty mornings also cause delays in the start of your round.  I wrote an article explaining why we delay for frost, which you can read here.  

These mornings (and those late April days that the highs stay in the 30’s with snow showers) are also not the best growing conditions for turf here in Northern Indiana.  This is the reason why many areas are so thin, like fairways and green surrounds.  It is also the main reason why we have not mowed fine playing surfaces as often as the meat of our season.  Rolling greens has been a great tool for us to maintain putting surfaces while limiting traffic and wear on the turf.  With weather finally returning to a more average Indiana spring, the growth and vigor of the turfgrass will return as well and conditions will improve.

Aerification has been completed on greens, tees, fairways, and green surrounds.  in case you have never seen an aerifier in action, below is a video showing our aerifier on #9 green, and how the machine creates the holes using 1/4″ solid tines.

Soil temperatures also have finally warmed enough to make now a great time for applying our pre-emergent herbicides that prevent the development of grassy weeds, like crabgrass.  If you take care of your lawn at home, this is a great time for you to do the same.  Green surrounds will also receive their spring nutrition to promote more consistent playing conditions. 


The pool landscape project continues to move towards its completion.  We have re-aligned the paver walkway to meet up with the shift in the new concrete stairs that were poured in February.  We have also begun adding topsoil to prepare the lower areas for the plants that will be adding color along the wall stone.  One of my favorite parts of the project has started as well, installing the cap stones that sit on top of the wall.  This involves cutting many angles to make the top a seamless course.  With my love for woodworking, this part of the project is right up my alley. 

The club entrance will finally start receiving its final transformation as well this week.  On Thursday, sod will be delivered and laid over the areas where the dying spruce trees once stood.  The entrance columns will also be installed in the next couple of weeks. 

If you have any questions, please email me at ryan@elconacc.com.  Have a great week, and I will see you on the golf course!

Ryan

Advertisements

Course Notes, 4/7/18

While the calendar says Spring, Mother Nature has had other plans for us at Elcona.  Although this weather has not been very conducive for golf, the staff and I have enjoyed working on other projects around the property so that when the weather turns for the better, we can turn our focus more onto the 2018 golf season.

When conditions have allowed, we have mowed and maintained on the golf course.  All fine playing surfaces have been mowed at least one time.  They just haven’t had temperatures to grow since!  One of the ways we have maintained putting surfaces during these times of very low growth is by rolling. If you have ever wondered why we roll greens, the USGA has produced a nice short video on that very subject.  You may view it here. 

The picture on the right shows an area of desiccation injury on 18 that I am monitoring.  Desiccation is a drying out of leaf blades and occurs most often on open semi-dormant turf exposed to windy, low humidity conditions. Think of this as when we get chapped lips in the winter.  There is new green tissue coming from these plants, so I am fairly confident that the turf will grow through its injury (when warmer weather comes), but have pulled a couple of plugs to make sure my assessment is correct.  The right front of #9 has a bit of desiccation injury as well. 

The timing also came for our first seedhead suppression application.  As great as Poa annua is as a putting surface, one drawback is its annual seedhead production.  Poa annua is a winter annual, meaning it germinates in the fall, overwinters, and produces seeds in the spring for its next generation.  Think of Poa as backwards from an annual flower you would plant in your landscape.

Using a temperature based schedule, three total applications of growth regulator will be applied to suppress, not eliminate, these seedheads from impacting ball roll.  As the picture to the left shows, I left 6 areas on the course untreated, as a check plot, to assess the success of this year’s applications. These plots are located on the large Practice Green, 1, 3, 10, 13, and 16 and marked with white dots.  I utilize these areas to gauge the effectiveness of this year’s treatments and encourage you to keep an eye on them as well as you are out and about on the golf course. 

The bulk of our time has been spent on the poolside hardscaping project.  The terrain of the area has kept us on our toes thinking of the best way to store materials close while getting them down a 12 foot high embankment.  The key process to build a wall, as you can imagine, is installing and compacting a level base layer of stone utilizing a plate compactor.  Precise measurements are taken with some surveyor’s tools to ensure the wall is at the correct depth compared to other features in the area.  After the base is installed, stone is laid one at a time and leveled and plumbed. 

Please enjoy some of the pictures I have taken throughout the process.  I will continue to keep you updated on its process.  If you have any questions, please email me at ryan@elconacc.com.  I am more than willing to answer or find more information for you.  Have a great day, wish for Spring to finally arrive, and I hope to see you out on the golf course!

Ryan

Grades are marked for stone layer

5th grade math at its finest!

Greg Stump compacting stone layer
Finished base layer
The process of laying the first course

The old staircase transformed