Course Notes, 11/28/2018

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Good morning from a snow covered Elcona.  Just as we had very little time to transition from winter to summer, it seems like we received little time to transition back to winter.  November was much below normal temperature wise, and quite snowy.  Unlike last year, November has unfortunately presented next to no opportunity for you to enjoy your golf course.  A good sign though is the return of a healthy herd of deer and turkeys that utilize the property as habitat.  Many of you have asked where they disappeared this year, and I can attest that they are around and have been frequently observing our staff’s work on the course.

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Deer near the clubhouse, picture courtesy of Jennifer Evans
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Turkeys enjoying an acorn feast along 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with all of 2018, this early beginning to winter has presented new challenges to course winterization efforts, but these are almost completed as of this writing and have gone fairly smoothly.  Final mowings, blow out of the irrigation system, applications of plant protectants, and a heavy blanket of topdressing sand have been applied to best protect the fine cut turf from the conditions that these next 4 months bring to Northern Indiana.  I have written about the benefits of each of these here, and below are some pictures of this year’s efforts.  In our industry, we liken this final heavy sand application to putting a blanket on the greens and “tucking them in for the winter”. Bob Vavrek of the USGA wrote a great article further explaining this application that you can access here. I want to thank my staff for their tireless efforts preparing the course so that we could fit these activities in between weather events.

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Close up of the sand blanket on 15 green
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Application of plant protectants to 16 green
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Fresh blanket of sand on 15 green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The renovation of 17 tee has also been a focus of our time in the last few weeks, and as you can see from the pictures, turned out great. The blue and black tees are now one tee complex, and the tee is now 6 feet wider than the old tee. In the spring, we will finish the grade work around the rough in this complex to complete the project.

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17 Blue/Black Tee, October 2018
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17 Blue/Black Tee, November 2018

 

 

 

 

 

We now are beginning a transition of duties during the winter season.  Evaluations of our agronomic plans and staff plans are on going to better our operation for 2019.  Equipment maintenance, such as deep cleaning and blade sharpening is in full tow.  We have also began our winter tree work on the course.  The focus this month was on the storm damaged trees from last May.  Other areas of tree work focus involved the border with US 20 and CR 21, and transforming the aesthetics along the native area on 15.  We also have planted a few trees strategically on the golf course per the Master Tree Program and recommendations from the Golf/Greens Committee.  This work will continue throughout the winter, weather permitting.

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Machinery cleaning is essential for a good start to the next season. 
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New trees between 13 green and 14 tee

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also have added a new tool, called the Root Hog, to our winter work.  Best described as a hand held stump grinder, this tool has been implemented to shave down roots in various areas that will smooth transitions for our mowers and golf cart traffic.  We will continue to utilize this tool throughout the year to improve areas on the golf course.

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Close Up of the Root Hog
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Roots along 9 tee ground down, with soil and seed added

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, Greg Stump and his wife Sharon have worked their magic yet again transforming the clubhouse into an awesome spectacle of Christmas spirit.  I cannot thank them enough for their efforts and hope you continue to enjoy the many hours of decorating that they put into the 2018 Holiday Season.  1125180928.jpg

If you have any questions, please contact me at ryan@elconacc.com.  I will have a final blog article in December that will take a look back at 2018.  I hope that each of you have a safe and enjoyable December.

Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

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