Course Notes, 6/24/2018

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Pictures like the scene above are quite beautiful to see in the morning, and a major reason why I enjoy what I do for a living.  These scenes also have been very sparse the last 6 weeks!  Rain, rain and more rain has hampered the Elcona property to the tune of 13.61″ over that time frame.  Unfortunately these rains hamper our ability to stay on track with our maintenance schedules for both playing surfaces and bunkers.

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Bunkers have received much repair work over that time, and we have removed over 12 5 gallon bucketfuls of rocks from these washouts.  Growth rates on all fine playing surfaces have been on the higher end as well as many of you have noticed.  The forecast looks to be drying out a bit for the upcoming 4th of July holiday however, and should allow us to get a better handle on growth and playing conditions.

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When its been dry, the staff has been focusing on detail work in bunkers and cart paths.  Rock removal and moving sand back from where rains wash it away are critical components that are necessary to perform, more so the higher frequency of rain events we have here at Elcona.  We have also placed white dots to redefine areas where the edge between collar and green have gotten away from us.

Finally, I have been taking stock of all the newborns that are taking advantage of the property as their habitat.  There are 2 pair of ducks nesting on our ponds at 3 and 14, and their new set of ducklings should be arriving very soon.

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A newborn fawn along the east end of the hiking trails. 

There are also 2 new groupings of turkeys, totaling 18 in all.  We have also see 2 fawn roaming the east side of the property and the hiking trails.

 

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The new bee hotel west of 16 fairway.

Another key part of our Audubon program the last few years has been increasing habitat for our native pollinators.  Many of the native areas will be cut down in the next 2 weeks, but some areas of wildflowers will be left to serve as habitat for honeybees, mason bees, and other pollinating insects native to Elkhart County. One new addition to our pollinator areas has been a bee hotel, tucked into the woods edge west of 16 fairway.  This bee hotel serves as an area for native bees, such as the mason bee and the leaf cutter bee, to lay eggs and wall them off for development.  It will be interesting to see how popular this hotel becomes to the native population here at Elcona in the next couple of years.

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A close up of the bee hotel.  Some of the smaller holes have been filled with mud already, a clue that a native bee has deposited an egg into the hole.  

Another plant that we will keep in areas is milkweed, which serves as the sole food source for Monarch butterflies.   Monarchs each year migrate over 3,000 miles, a journey that takes 4 generations of insects to complete and many areas of habitat to thrive.  The Monarch population has diminished by about 90% in the last 20 years, and by having areas of milkweed in our native areas that are not in play, we provide that additional habitat for continuation of their migration.  Audubon International has created a program, called Monarchs in the Rough, that commits resources to golf courses to create additional milkweed areas for the very cause that we have been doing here at Elcona for several years now.  Elcona is one of 250 golf courses nationally participating in Monarchs in the Rough, and you can read more about this program here.

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A Monarch checking out milkweed north of #2 fairway.  

As always, if you have questions, please ask me when you see me on the golf course, or email me at ryan@elconacc.com.  Have a great week and I will see you out on the golf course!

Ryan

 

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