August has come and (almost) gone, which means the kids are back in school in some fashion, football season is opening up, and Club Championships have been contested. I would like to congratulate all of the winners from this year’s Men’s Invitational and club championships. While 2020 will be remembered for many changes globally, the golf course here at Elcona will remember it for a large increase in rounds played and members enjoying it, a complete bunker face lift, and long spells of hot, dry weather. Before last Friday’s welcome rains, the course was in desperate need of soil moisture and reprieve from the summer temperatures. Looking at the latest long term forecast it looks like the pattern is finally flipping.
The beginning of Golf Course Improvement Project is rapidly approaching. All the pea gravel, pipe, and topsoil has arrived. Better Billy Polymer has begun to arrive, and bunker sand will begin to arrive after Labor Day. We will be storing that sand up near the cart barn, to limit contamination from grass and soil. On September 8th, Golf Creations will begin work on the Practice Facility. The bunker at the Short Game area will be renovated in its current area, while we will be moving the bunker next to the practice tee to the South end. This approved change to the plan will create a bunker that will allow you to see each target flag and will be built in similar style to the flat bottom bunkers that will be out on the course. The location of the current bunker will be filled in by our staff this fall and serve as new tee space that will be ready in mid-2021 for you to practice on.
Another dramatic change you will begin to see on the course is dead grass around bunkers and the areas where the new bunkers will go. We are killing off this grass on purpose to conserve and reuse the topsoil necessary to construct the new bunkers and their surrounds. After spraying, these areas will be roped off for a couple days to prevent tracking of the herbicide to areas that we do not want killed, and may be treated as ground under repair. Please heed the signs in these areas if you happen to hit into them.
The golf course has made it through the summer in great condition, much in part due to the great efforts of our staff, but that does not mean there is opportunity to make things even better. We are currently in prime re-seeding season, and many areas that have thinned out are being repaired after a long season. The pictures above show how we overseed thin areas on the putting greens, where the tool punches small holes into the green, and deposits seed in one motion. We then fill in the holes with sand flush to the putting surface. You should see germination from these areas within the next 14 days.
We also are testing out a 50” strip of intermediate rough around greens on holes 4, 9, 15, 17, and 18. This intermediate strip should improve playability in those areas and while they look a bit ragged with the initial scalp, they will fill in and create a nice surface throughout the fall. If you have any feedback on this, please let me know.
The butterfly garden on 14 tee continues to add beauty and habitat for our pollinator friends. Monarch caterpillars are now being observed on plants and soon will begin the metamorphosis process and become new butterflies. I am very please with how this addition to the golf course has added beauty and create conversation among everyone.
Lastly, I wanted to remind everyone that we are also starting our fall aerification schedule this month. With the golf course project going on, our goal will be to accomplish much of the greens and fairway aerification while those holes are closed. Tees will be aerified on September 8th, and green surrounds will be solid tined throughout September when the schedule and labor allows. I will provide a more defined schedule via email and the blog on specific dates for greens and fairways, as these depend on the productivity of the Golf Course Improvement Project and Mother Nature.
Have a great month and I will see you out on the golf course! If you have any questions, please email me at email@example.com, or stop me when you are out on the course. And please remember the RESPECT course initiative:
Repair your ball mark and one other.
Every divot should be replaced when possible.
Sand should be thoroughly raked each time you are in a bunker.
Please park your cart 30 feet from greens and tees to help keep the surround turf more playable.
Enter and exit bunkers from the flat back side.
Care and think about the members playing behind you.
Together this will make a HUGE difference!