Course Notes, 6/28/2020

IMG_1507.jpgWhile there may be differing opinions of the year 2020 out there, the fact that it is half over already bring to mind a busy, but exciting time for the club and our staff.  I always look forward to preparing the course for the Walter Wells Men’s Invitational, and with a larger amount of teams participating this year, it should be an excellent event and fun for all.  Our young staff continues to learn and get a bit better each day. I am quite proud of their efforts and very happy to work alongside such a great group of people.

IMG_1557The golf course has been quite firm and fast given the very dry June we have had (1.12” rain all month so far).  We continue to adjust maintenance and irrigation practices on greens to keep speeds as consistent as possible and surfaces receptive to well-struck  shots.  Given the forecast the next 2 weeks, we may have to make some changes there.  More on that in a minute.

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Cart path edging with our bunker rake
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The final look.  Turf had overgrown on the path by 2″!

Some Invitational preparations have already begun.  Our annual mowing down of the native areas has started, except around areas of milkweed and other wildflowers that we are saving for our pollinator friends.  I will blog on our efforts there later in July.  We also have been edging cart paths with a new tool.  Over the winter we machined an edging device using a cultivation disc that fits on our bunker rake that allows the process to be faster and more efficient.  I want to thank Rob Steger at Saginaw CC in Michigan for the inspiration of our build.  We will continue to edge these through the month.

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14 Tee’s new butterfly garden

The butterfly garden on 14 tee is finally complete and it looks spectacular.  A special than you to Greg Stump for his beautiful vision and work on this awesome addition of color and habitat on the course.  I hope you enjoy it as well as it matures over time.

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Brownish rough around 12 fairway

A few of you have asked me about the brownish ring around the fairways.  This is a negative result of a growth regulator application made in early June to slow down growth in the rough around fairways and greens and improve the playability out of it.  The hot, dry month we have had turned some of the leaf tissue brown, and the growth regulator has inhibited the recovery efforts of the plant.  Upon closer inspection, there is much green leaf tissue below and as the regulator wears off, the turf will recover just fine.

IMG_1425The rains of the past week have been much welcomed after receiving only 0.2″ of rainfall the first 22 days of June.  Given the next 14 days of forecasted heat and humidity however, we may have to play defense on our putting surfaces to maintain their health and vigor through the rest of the season.  I wrote a blog article last year that you can click on here for more information on defensive maintenance practices we use to defend the turf as best as we can through tough stretches of weather.  As I wrote, it’s not necessarily what we do when the heat and humidity arrives, but more about what we don’t do.  Any changes in maintenance are intended to be temporary and that the ultimate goal is to provide you with a golf course that you can be proud of through the summer season, and the rest of the year.

While I have not raised mowing heights yet, dragging the dew off of fairways and keeping irrigation to a minimum have been our main weapons so far to help fight turf stress. Our staff has been and will continue to be out syringing greens on hot summer afternoons, and a video of the process can be viewed here.  Plant protectants are helping us as well, although they have been performing well without increasing rates. The humidity forecasted can and will lead to some decreased green speed, with the added moisture in the humid air being taken up by the plant, creating larger leaf blade surfaces.

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Cross section of the Better Billy Bunker system.

Finally, I wanted to provide an update on the Golf Course Improvement Plan.  The design committee of Tom Thome, Tom Zimmerman, and myself have been meeting fairly regularly discussing final logistics of the project, as well as procuring top soil and the other amendments needed for the project.  One of the most critical components is the gravel necessary to construct the drainage and liner of the Better Billy Bunker system that we are having installed.  Above is a picture of a BBB cross section model I saw at the Golf Industry Show that illustrates the liner system well.  Around the drainage pipe there is a layer of pea gravel, which is 3/8″ thick stone.  Another layer of pea gravel is placed on the entire floor of the bunker, which is the layer that receives the Better Billy polymer.  The BBB polymer is heated and applied using a pressurized spray wand.  After curing, it is inspected for any additional work before sand is added.  While not totally representing what our project will look like, there are a few YouTube videos on the BBB installation process, my favorite is hereHere is an informational video from Better Billy Bunker as well on the history of the product and the process.

I will be sharing a few holes on what our project will look like with you each blog article I write from now through Labor Day.  Today holes 1-3 are below, with the legend of what each line or color represents in the beginning picture.  As a reminder, all of these bunkers will have maintainable grass slopes that will be easier to get in and out of for both the member and our machinery, and the sand area will be flat bottomed with minimal flashing up any slope.  The entire project design is also on the club website for those who are interested.

2020 GCIP LegendGCIP Hole 1GCIP Hole 2GCIP Hole 3As always, if you have any questions about the golf course or the upcoming Golf Course Improvement Project, please do not hesitate to reach out at ryan@elconacc.com or when you see me out on the course.  Have a great, safe 4th of July holiday and I hope to see you out on the golf course!

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Ryan