Course Notes, 12/21/2018

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While still bringing colder temperatures, this is the first December I can remember that will receive less snow than November brought.  When we are kept indoors, the staff have been hard at work refurbishing course markers.  Our equipment manager, Steve Ott, has begun his annual thorough review of machinery, readying it for the 2019 season. Pictured below is his December project, rebuilding the clutch on our Ford tractor used to blow fairway debris during the growing season.

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Rebuilding this tractor’s clutch involves splitting the engine from the transmission (safely!) and securing both units with chain hoists.
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Leaves are wind rowed for easier mulching and removal.
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Sweeping leaves from a thick area between 4 and 5. The idea here is to promote a healthier stand of turf.

Our staff has used nicer weather to complete annual tree work and maintenance, and even catch up on leaf clean up.  One piece of equipment we have added to the mix is a leaf vacuum.  We have used this unit in the past removing aerification plugs and debris from fairways, but we have learned it can be a good tool to help clean areas where leaves are quite thick and could possibly smother the turf.

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What is going on below the grass surface on a warmer winter day.  Graphic courtesy of Dan Blanchard, assistant super at The Bay Club.

With the warmer temperatures we have had sporadically, some of you have asked if the course is open.  Course conditions are monitored daily for availability, and while it is nice to get a warm day or three in a row, once ground is frozen, it takes many days for it to thaw adequately for safe traffic and play.  To the right is a graphic detailing why.  When the warmth heats initially, the ground thaws from the top down.  If traffic is allowed while the rootzone is still partially frozen, roots can shear off and harm the plant before growing weather returns and the plant can heal itself.

 

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7 landing area on a 44 degree afternoon in December.  Not much sunshine!

While most turf areas get adequate sunshine, some areas do not this time of year due to the much lower angle of the sun. It was not uncommon to see frost in the afternoon on both 2, 5, and 14 greens last week, as well as the area on 7 pictured to the right.  Please continue to check in with the golf shop for the latest course availability.

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A piece of wood from the bee hotel.  Notice the tiny holes in the mud, evidence an egg hatched and a new bee emerged ready to live its life.

 

Lastly, a topic of conversation through the year was the bee hotel project that we installed left of 16.  I wanted to share my initial observations.  Out of the 230 holes available for habitat usage, 120 had signs of insect reproduction (holes filled and closed with resin or mud) and another 78 had what I would consider a complete usage (holes filled, with a sign that an egg hatched and burrowed out into the real world).  This was a fun experiment to compliment the club’s Audubon program, and next year we plan on installing a couple more near the rain garden and north of number 13.  I am very appreciative of the support given to me by the club to experiment and communicate to the community the great benefits that a golf course can provide to our local ecosystem.

If you have any questions, please email me at ryan@elconacc.com.  Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a happy and safe holiday season!

Ryan

 

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