Course Notes, 6/7/2020

IMG_1557It continues to be awesome to see so many of you enjoying your golf course and club during these unprecedented times.  When the weather is good, the golf course is packed.  The staff and I appreciate all the comments everyone has told me regarding the conditioning of the golf course.  We continue to work hard each day to provide you the best conditions that weather allows us to produce.

Each day here at Elcona I get the opportunity to interact with many of you while out working on the course.  These interactions provide me with some great feedback on the course and the chance to answer questions that you may have. Below are some of the more frequent ones I have been asked this year.  Please bear with me as this is another longer than normal blog post, but one that is hopefully informational to you.

Why is the rough so thick right now?

The combination of a regularly scheduled fertilizer application and 5.86″ of rain in the month of May has caused a flush of growth in the bluegrass, especially around greens and tees.  A growth regulator application will be applied this coming week, and normal growth and playing conditions will return soon.

Why are there so many cart tracks in close proximity of greens?

cart path no no
Please park on cart paths around greens and tees where available.

With the increase rounds and usage of the golf course, this is the perfect time to remind everyone about some simple, but often overlooked courtesies when it comes to driving golf carts.  Courtesies that should be followed all year and especially during the stressful times include: parking 30 feet away from greens and tees, not driving carts where they don’t belong (next to greens/tees and in the tall grass areas), and carefully applying the brakes so that the tires do not lock up and leave skid marks on the paths and turf. All of these should be common sense, but you would be amazed at how many times I witness all of these on a daily basis.  Please help our staff take care of your golf course by following these simple courtesies.

 

How do you repair a ballmark properly?

Unrepaired pitchmark
Poorly repaired ball mark on 4 green

The key here is to NOT LIFT the center of the mark. This pulls the turf and roots out from the surface and greatly increases the recovery time of the pitchmark. A properly repaired mark heals in 3-4 days, while a poorly repaired one (see above) may take up to 21 days to heal.

When should I replace my divot in the fairway? Sometimes they are too little to replace.

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A dandelion growing in a fairway divot.  

Whenever possible, you should always replace your divot. Most of the time, even the tiny divots will root back down and recover. At a minimum, replacing all your divots keeps the fairway looking clean and helps minimize any shot from having to be played out of a divot. If you experience an exploding divot, replace what grass you can and please step down onto the divot to minimize its size of impact.  Not replacing divots can also provide an avenue for weeds to germinate, as was the case in the picture from 6 fairway above.

 

Why aren’t any sand bottles on the carts?

Sand bottles are not supplied for the same reason as above: to help keep the course cleaner. Many times it is easier to reach for the sand bottle than walk a few yards to retrieve a divot, leaving the fairway looking littered. Adding soil could potentially  introduce weed seeds to the fairway.  Many people can also overfill the divot with sand, leaving an unsightly pile of soil, which leads to dull mower blades during the next mowing. The grounds staff periodically fills all fairway divots during the golf season.

What is the greens rolling schedule on a weekly basis?

During a normal week, greens are rolled on Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. All of these scheduled days are dictated by weather, golf schedule, and turf conditions.  Our greens maintenance program continues to focus on providing  consistent green speed each day as weather allows.  I will be blogging soon about factors that effect green speed, so stay tuned for that.

Where are all the wildlife this year?

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Newborn deer running along 12 fairway
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Ducklings on 14 pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are around!  We have observed 3 newborn fawns on property, including one that jumped out in front of me yesterday at the Practice Facility.  The turkeys are hunkered down in the woods as well as along the Nature Trails.  I observed 6 new ducklings learning how to swim on 14 pond last week as well.  Pollinators such as butterflies and native bees are also starting to increase in activity too.  One of the best parts of my job is interacting with nature on this beautiful piece of land they get to call home.

What is causing the sand mounds on certain greens?

Many of these mounds are caused by the Seed Corn Beetle.  The second picture above shows the beetle in its burrow.  They are not damaging the turf and should disappear soon.

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Ant mound, 1 green

A few greens also have small colonies of ants that are creating unsightly mounds along the green/collar interface, such as the one pictured above on 1 green.   These will be treated with an insecticide this week.

 

What is the preferred divot pattern on the practice tee?

The above picture illustrates preference wonderfully. Either one straight line of divots taken out or multiple, small divots spread out across our hitting station is preferred. The healing time is much quicker and will provide additional hitting space for the next person. Taking out huge areas like the picture above will take a much longer time to fill in and heal.  The practice tee is seeded each week, and sections are overseeded heavily after they are turned over, which averages once a month.  A staff member will be out hand watering divot seed each afternoon to further aid in a quicker divot recovery.

Why is someone hosing down a green and interrupting my round?

This individual is “syringing” or cooling down the Poa annua leaf tissue during a hot summer day. This misting typically takes one or two minutes. We do our best not to interrupt your enjoyment of the golf course, but if you see a maintenance staff member working around you, please give him or her common courtesy and make sure they see you before you hit your next shot. They and their families will appreciate it.

What are the general maintenance principles of Elcona CC?

  • To provide the finest quality playing surfaces with minimal inputs and a keen eye on environmental stewardship.
  • To prepare, preserve and maintain the golf course as the major club asset and to afford the opportunity to provide enjoyment to the club’s members and guests.
  • To protect, understand and fulfill the golf course architect’s and club membership’s vision with a goal of a fair golf challenge for all levels of player ability.
  • To plan and execute programs and procedures that maintains a superior golf experience as well as enhances and protects the environment, property, and aesthetics of the club within the standards and benchmarks set within being a Certified Audubon Golf Course Sanctuary.

Thank you for taking the time to read this longer than normal update. If you have any questions about what is going on outside, please do not hesitate to contact me at ryan@elconacc.com. Have a great week and I hope to see you out on the golf course!

Ryan Bowser Signature Picture

Ryan