Course Notes, 4/11/2021

The old adage “April showers bring May flowers” will hopefully ring true this year, as we have received almost 3″ of rain in the first 10 days of the month. A couple days near 80 also help turf’s emergence from dormancy too! The color change in the turf from dormant brown to spectacular green has been amazing to see in the last few days. The flowering trees that dot the Elcona landscape also are beginning to pop with vibrant color, so this coming week may be a great time to snap a few pictures if you wish. As more of you come out to enjoy your golf course this month, below is an update on what our staff has been working on as well as a couple of friendly reminders.

We have began more regular mowing of greens, tees, and fairways as the warmer weather has increased the color and growth of the turf. With the forecast cooling off to more normal temperatures this week, we will continue to mow turf as needed. The long range forecast has me thinking our regular “in season mowing” schedule will begin later this month.

Greens and fairways were aerified this week using solid tines to relieve compaction and increase fresh air to the rootzone of the turf. Additional sand topdressing will be applied tomorrow to greens to further smooth them out. Tomorrow we will be aerifying tees, and later this month bringing our deep tine aerifier out to select areas to further aid in drainage and the health of those areas.

As I mentioned above, we have had a few heavy rain events this month, and many of you have asked how our new bunkers performed. One word comes to mind: SPECTACULAR! In the above photo montage, I took a screenshot of the radar on 3/31, when we received almost 2″ of rain in 3 1/2 hours. As all of you remember, a rain event like this would leave the bunkers totally ruined and take on average 44 man hours to completely repair. The next morning, we had only 6 bunkers that needed minor repairs (pushing sand back up onto the edge) and 2 bunkers that needed pumped out due to flash flooding overtaking the drain pit. These bunkers were pumped out via the drainage system installed below ground. All bunkers were ready for play in the normal time it takes us to rake them during a sunny day, and the “repairs” needed took a single person 1 hour and 9 minutes. Those extra labor hours were used to prepare other areas of the course and perform much needed debris clean up. On behalf of my staff, a sincere thank you to your investment in the golf course.

We have also begun detail work around the golf course as more staff return to help us achieve that. Our semi-load of bark mulch arrived late last week, and will be installed in the beds throughout the next couple of weeks. You will also see painted dots and lines out on the course to help our staff define mowing lines for this year. Our sprinklers will be edged and work will continue expanding the practice tee to the north and east. Above are pictures from our efforts to clean up the pond edges along 3 and 14, by thinning out the cattails that have overgrown in these areas. We are leaving small pods of these for wildlife habitat. Mechanical removal of these was a better option compared to chemical control, and will be much more manageable through the summer to keep an aesthetically pleasing look to these water features. By the looks of all the balls we removed, thinning these areas out will help anyone find a ball they hit here too!

5 Green from above. The right side and back will be roped off to help turf recover from cart traffic wear.

You will also begin to see more ropes and stakes out on the course to help control cart traffic wear, as the playability of the green surround rough has been a topic of discussion the last few years. The pictures above show one such example near 5 green. Much of the cart traffic around this green is right and behind the green, and any of you that have been long of the green know that the lies there are quite penal. Roping these areas off for a few weeks will help the turf recover and increase its playability. A great rule of thumb is keeping your cart 30 feet away from greens at all times, and to please heed to any roping, stakes, or signs that are out on the course. Another great rule of thumb is to please keep your carts on the paths where applicable.

Finally, another friendly reminder to repair your pitchmarks and rake any bunkers that you are in. We are early in the season, and I have already seen the above pictures on the golf course. The Golf/Greens Committee, Tom, and I ask out of respect for your fellow member that plays the course after you, please take care of your golf course by performing the simple art of golf etiquette. Anyone would hate for their lie or ball roll to be impacted by images like the above. Repairing 2 pitchmarks and raking footprints out of a bunker takes seconds but will be much appreciated to those who share the course with you. Thank you!

If you have any questions, please email me at ryan@elconacc.com. Have a great week and I’ll see you out on the golf course!

Ryan